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Community College Notebook / Steve Kresal : New Role at New School for Boyd : Former USC Coach Has Conference Favorite at Riverside

Riverside College started the basketball season with a new coach and high expectations.

Bob Boyd, former USC coach, took over for Dave Waxman, who took a year off but will return next season.

Boyd has three Division I-caliber players in freshmen Bobby Joyce of Santa Ana High School, Evric Gray and Leo Toliver. Gray and Joyce had signed letters of intent with Nevada Las Vegas and Toliver with UC Irvine, but they would have been academically ineligible at the 4-year schools.

Orange Empire coaches thought enough of Riverside’s potential to make it an overwhelming choice to win the conference title.

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But by the end of November, Riverside was struggling and Orange Coast, Fullerton and Golden West were off to strong starts.

A month later, Riverside was as strong as advertised. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 and are still the favorite to win the conference title among the coaches--but not so overwhelmingly now.

Fullerton, Orange Coast and Golden West have spent the nonconference schedule earning the respect that only Riverside had when the season began.

As expected, defending champion Cypress and Saddleback have struggled.

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The 12-game conference schedule starts Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with Fullerton at Rancho Santiago, Cypress at Saddleback and Golden West at Riverside. Orange Coast has a bye.

Here’s a closer look at the conference:

CYPRESS (7-9): The Chargers reached the state semifinals last season with a sophomore-dominated team. This season, the freshman-dominated team has struggled but has played better of late. Cypress finished fifth in the 16-team Rotary National Shootout in Mesa, Ariz., last week.

Cypress is led in the middle by freshman Andre Lamoureux, a 6-foot 9-inch forward who had signed to play at UCLA, but left when Walt Hazzard was replaced by Jim Harrick. Lamoureux, from Los Alamitos High School, leads the team with 13.1 points and 5.1 rebounds a game.

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Cypress’ backcourt is well-stocked but also inexperienced. Mike Varos is a sophomore starter and is joined by freshman Vince Hizon, who didn’t play much for Mater Dei High School last season. Hizon leads Cypress with 12.3-point average. Freshman Grayle Humphrey (Sonora) and sophomore Mike Reid start in swing spots.

Dirk Paul (Edison), Jay Barrington (Ukiah) and Wendall Lauderdale (Kennedy) give Cypress three more freshman guards who have shared time this season.

FULLERTON (15-3): The Hornets have the tallest starting front line in the conference. Sophomore Geoff Adams (6-6) and freshman Daryl Griffin (6-7) start at the low posts and Mike Goff, a 6-6 freshman from Magnolia, also plays up front, but can shoot from outside as well. Griffin leads the team, averaging 15 points a game, Adams is averaging 11 points and Goff 12.4.

Freshman Jessie Lynwood from Santa Ana and sophomore Kelli McKinney start in the backcourt. Fullerton is also strong off the bench, with guard Jeff Stewart and forward Lindsay Pettis, brother of Detroit outfielder Gary. Forward Mark Lyon, a teammate of Goff’s at Magnolia, is also a reserve.

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GOLDEN WEST (15-4): The Rustlers are off to their best start in 5 years and have equaled last season’s victory total. Forward Markus Muller-Stach and guard Elbert Davis, both sophomores, have helped lead the way. Muller-Stach is the top scorer with 22 points a game, Davis does most of the ballhandling with 8.3 assists a game. He also averages 14 points a game. Alex Kreps, a 6-6 forward, is scoring 14 points with 6 rebounds a game.

Steve Moser, who missed last season with a knee injury, is starting at forward. Returning sophomore Carl Champion and freshman Kevin Anderson (Fountain Valley) are also starting.

ORANGE COAST (15-3): The Pirates might be the surprise of the nonconference season and one of the main reasons is the inside play of freshman forward Alan Schlines from Foothill High School. Schlines, a 6-6 forward, is averaging 15.5 points and 8 rebounds a game.

OCC’s problem will be finding enough height up front. Scott DeStefano (6-3) and Chip Hanlon (6-5) also play up front. Sophomores Dareck Crane and LaMont Speed return in the backcourt. Crane is averaging 15 points and 5 assists and Speed is averaging 9 points. Sophomore guard Derek Johnson is averaging 12 points a game and is the team’s best threat from the 3-point range.

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RANCHO SANTIAGO (10-6): Forward Tony Smalley and guard Chris Martin, both starters as freshmen last season, return for Rancho Santiago. They will have to play well for the Dons to contend. Both are averaging 13 points a game, but neither has been as consistent as Coach Dana Pagett would like.

Rancho Santiago’s biggest problem has been at center. Corie Blount (6-8) was starting but sprained his ankle. Sophomore Mike Oden and freshman Matt Lien were effective splitting time in the Rancho Santiago tournament last week, so it looks like center by committee.

Mike Hunter, a freshman from Edison High School, also starts up front with Smalley. Gene Altamirano, a freshman from Los Amigos, is the other backcourt starter. Hunter leads the team with 6.6 rebounds a game and Altamirano is averaging 11 points.

RIVERSIDE (16-6): Waxman, who took a year off from coaching to work on his doctorate, was replaced by Boyd, who retired in 1979 after 13 seasons at USC.

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Joyce, a 6-8 forward from Santa Ana High School, is averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds a game. Joyce was the most valuable player in the Century League last season as Santa Ana won the league title. Gray is averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds a game. Corey Arnett, a 6-5 forward, and Michael Stewart, who was an all-conference guard 2 seasons ago but sat out last season with an injury, also return.

SADDLEBACK (7-9): There are plenty of new faces at Saddleback. Ernie Carr has taken over as coach for Bill Brummel, who is taking a year off to observe Bob Knight’s program at Indiana. Carr, an assistant at UCLA last season, also has coached at Dominguez High School, where he still teaches.

Carr is joined by 11 freshmen and sophomore forward Bradd Heckman, who is averaging 8.4 points a game. Heckman scored 43 points all last season but had a career-high 31 Friday against Long Beach.

Saddleback is led up front by freshman Vincent Mason, a 6-4 forward from University High School in Philadelphia. He is averaging 16.4 points a game.

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Sean Keyes, a guard from Washington High School in Los Angeles, leads the team with 17.8 points a game. Tyrone Meixsell of Dana Hills, Jeff Springfield of Mission Viejo and Wun Versher and Antone Curtis, both from Dominguez, also have played a great deal.


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