Jorge Calienes, basketball coach and athletic director at Bosco Tech High in Rosemead, had high hopes when he started the Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular.
"It was in the back of my mind to make it a big tournament," he says.
Little did he suspect that it would grow into one of the biggest summer tournaments in the nation. It is believed to be second to the 128-team L. A. Games tournament.
And still growing.
After starting as a 16-team tournament, the fifth annual New Balance Summer Hoop Spectacular that starts Tuesday will feature 40 teams. Calienes thinks that next year's tournament may have 50.
But it's not just size that makes it stand above most other summer basketball tournaments. It's also the caliber of teams and individuals.
The tournament is a Who's Who of high school basketball powers in the Southland, including state Division I champion Mater Dei, Southern Section 4-A champion Santa Monica, state Division II champion Woodbridge, San Diego Section 2-A king El Camino of Oceanside and L. A. City Section power Westchester.
Its reputation will not diminish with the addition of several top teams from outside California: Corvallis of Oregon, Chaparral of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Bear Creek of Colorado.
"It used to be mostly a Southern Section tournament, but those teams will give it more of a Western United States flavor," Calienes said.
Calienes is hoping to add national significance to the tournament in the future by adding East Coast powers such as DeMatha of Maryland and Camden of New Jersey.
"As far as the strength of the tournament goes, my goal is to make it the best in the United States," he said.
For the moment, he will settle for having many of the best teams in the West.
The top-seeded teams are Westchester, Simi Valley, Mater Dei and St. Anthony's. Westchester is led by 6-8 forward Zan Mason; Simi Valley by Southern Section 4-A player of the year Don MacLean, a 6-10 center; Mater Dei by 6-5 forward Kevin Rembert and St. Anthony's by 6-0 junior guard Darrick Martin, who averaged 31 points last season.
Other top teams include El Toro, Santa Monica, Woodbridge, Santa Ana, Serra, Muir, Bishop Amat and Diamond Bar.
In addition to Muir, Bishop Amat and Diamond Bar, the San Gabriel Valley will also be represented by Bosco Tech, Nogales, Blair, Damien, Glendora, Edgewood and Pasadena.
"I think every team that's in this tournament is very competitive and every team is capable of competing for their league title," Calienes said.
First-round games Tuesday are Ocean View vs. Kennedy (La Palma) at 11 a.m., Nogales vs. Glendale at noon, Edgewood vs. Westlake at 1 p.m., Blair vs. L. A. Banning at 2, Bosco Tech vs. Culver City at 3, Verbum Dei vs. Lynwood at 4, Damien vs. Pasadena at 5 and Glendora vs. St. Paul at 6.
Tuesday's second-round games are Diamond Bar vs. Ramona at 7, Muir vs. Long Beach Poly at 8 and Dominguez vs. Corvallis at 9.
Among second-round games Wednesday are Palisades vs. El Camino at noon, Woodbridge vs. Ventura at 1, Bishop Amat vs. Bear Creek at 3, St. Joseph (Santa Maria) vs. Pius X at 4 and Serra vs. Chaparral at 7.
The valley's top hopes figure to be Muir, Bishop Amat and Diamond Bar--three of the top teams in the valley last season.
Muir, which has won the Pacific League title two straight years and won the Southern Section 4-A title two years ago, has size on its front line with 6-8 forward Wayne Womack and 6-7 forward Daryl Scott. Womack averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds last season.
Bishop Amat, which has one of the most experienced teams in the valley and finished 17-10 last season, is headed by 6-7 forward Geoff Lear and guards Stephon Pace (6-1) and twins Clarence and Terrance Lamb (both 6-0). Lear was the team's top scorer last year with a 16-point average.
Diamond Bar, which reached the Southern Section 4-A Division semifinals, is led by 6-8 forward Brian Hendrick. The All-CIF performer, who was Times San Gabriel Valley player of the year, averaged 19.3 points and 12.2 rebounds as a junior. The Brahmas also figure to be led by forward Joey Madott (6-2) and guard Mike Schumacher (5-11).
Bosco Tech, Glendora and Damien have outstanding individual performers. Bosco Tech is headed by 6-7 forward Carlos Carrillo, who averaged 14.9 points and 10 rebounds last season; Glendora by 6-6 forward Tracy Murray, who averaged 23.1 points and 10.4 rebounds and was named Baseline League player of the year as a sophomore, and Damien by 6-6 forward Kelvin Woods, who averaged 20.5 points and 11.3 rebounds.