COACH: Steve Miller, 6th season LAST SEASON: 24-4; 1st in league, 8-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Huskies will miss Dana Jones and his 516 points, 358 rebounds and 97 blocked shots, but North Hollywood still has a good chance to repeat as the 3-A Division champion. Senior forward Eric Jackson (6-foot-3) and junior guard Robert Hill (6-2) return to pace the Huskies after all-league seasons. Jackson, who averaged seven rebounds a game, is the only senior in the starting lineup. Junior Doc Hazzard (5-11) will start at point guard and sophomore Marcus Sanders (6-3) will play forward. Junior center Tim O'Malley (6-7) did not start last year but is the tallest player in the conference. Also expected to fit into Miller's nine-deep game plan are senior Fernando Orozco (6-3), the junior varsity's most valuable player; Cameron Nic-Ashtar (5-10), Anson Credille (6-2), and Roelant Thompson (5-10).
OUTLOOK: Miller expects another strong showing by the Huskies, who might start slowly as their younger players progress. "I am very enthusiastic about this team," Miller said. "I think we will be excellent by the end of the year. It all depends on how well the younger players develop."
COACH: Jeff Davis, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 10-13; 3rd in West Valley League, 2-8
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Canoga Park made massive strides last season, returning to respectability in Davis' first season, and more is expected this season with three returning starters. Senior point guard Lindsey Dunbar (5-7) was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points. Senior Alvin Edington, a starter at guard, is only 5-10 but can dunk. Jason Maxwell (6-6) returns at center. Davis is excited about two sophomores who round out the starting five. Steve Woodruff (6-3) averaged 16 points and seven rebounds in summer league, and Arthur Mo Bradford (6-5) has grown five inches since last season. Senior Simeon Moss (6-0), a transfer from Manual Arts, has excellent speed and will get playing time at guard.
OUTLOOK: Davis has helped revitalize a once-moribund program and the Hunters might flourish since they have been moved from the 4-A Division Northwest Valley Conference to the 3-A Valley Pac-8. "We are excited to be in the new conference with the new teams," Davis said. "We feel we can compete with any team in the conference. We struggle, but we have flashes of brillance."
COACH: Wendell Greer Jr., 1st season
LAST SEASON: 4-15; 3rd in league, 3-7
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Greer has his work cut out for him. Although four players return, the Vikings lost their three top scorers to graduation. Seniors Elmer Singh (6-4) and Lodis Woodmore (6-3) are expected to pick up the slack. Woodmore averaged 11.6 points last season and will be joined in the backcourt by Stanley Deal (6-1), a senior transfer from Valley High in Las Vegas. Ronald Falls (6-2) will fill in at forward and Ryan Beebe (5-9) will handle the ball at point guard. Scott George (5-9) and Erik Collier (6-1) are the team's top reserves.
OUTLOOK: Greer seems undaunted by the task of rebuilding the Vikings. "We've been the doormat of the Valley for a long time, but we have the ability to play with anybody," Greer said. "We have the willingness to work hard and the commitment to winning."
COACH: Ken Lee, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 2-19; 4th in league, 1-9
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Wolves are one of the smaller teams in the conference, but Lee is hoping that his outside shooters, guards Michael Crawford (6-0) and Russell Nishimoto, a 5-6 senior, will help the team take a shot at respectability. Junior center Ernesto Dominguez (6-2) is the team's tallest player, followed by senior forward Eugene Hatch (6-1), who did not play last season. Lee is looking to Crawford to score the bulk of the points. Senior Tim Lewis (5-8), brought up to the varsity in midseason in '89-90, will set up the offense. Javiar Franco (5-7), Garrett Crawford, Mario Edwards and Cheng Chi (5-9) round out the team.
OUTLOOK: Lee seems to be girding for a long campaign. "We'll take each game as it comes," he said. "I don't promise the kids anything and the kids know that. It's a great group of kids, but it's really tough (to lose)."