COACH: Kurt Keller, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 12-17; tied for 4th in league, 4-8
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior power forward Richard Dice (6-foot-2), fresh out of shoulder pads as the region's premier wide receiver, is expected to shoulder most of the scoring load. Dice, a four-year starter, last season averaged a team-high 19.8 points and 12.5 rebounds. Dice's efforts should mean a pile of assists for junior point guard Chris Bello, who averaged 6.0 last season. The pair are the only returning starters. Senior guards Mike Smith (5-10) and Brian McConnell (6-1) both averaged 20 points last season to earn co-most-valuable-player honors on the junior varsity. Junior forward Doug Tait (6-5) spent most of last season on the varsity bench nursing injuries to his hands, wrist, back and ankle. "If we can keep him healthy, he'll be one of our top scorers," Keller said. The rest of the roster is filled with "role players," Keller said. Junior forward David Winner (6-2), most valuable player of the sophomore team, is pushing hard for a starting role. Junior Mark Guziel (6-4), a good rebounder, is the probable starting center.
OUTLOOK: What the Indians lack in size they will make up for in intensity. "We're usually pretty methodical, but we may have to turn it up a little," Keller said. "We'll move the ball down the court as fast as we can." Dice is capable of dominating a game. With some help rebounding, the Indians should improve on last season's mark.
COACH: Rob Kurowski, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 7-17; tied for 6th in league, 3-9
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Eagles have 10 seniors, four returning starters and seven returnees overall. Senior Richard Fei (6-2), who averaged nine points last season, will switch from point guard to shooting guard. He is the team's best long-distance shooter. Senior center Travis Hall (6-3), who averaged seven points last season, is the team's best on the boards. Three-sport athlete Ted Corcoran (6-2) enters his fourth varsity season after averaging eight points and four rebounds as a junior. Senior forward Robert Holland (6-2), who averaged nine points in part-time duty, and senior guard Matt Ansoorian (5-10), a reserve last season and the new point guard, round out the starting five. If junior Trevor Testiuwiude (6-5, 170), who averaged a team-high 17 points last season for the junior varsity, can bulk up, the Eagles will have a formidable center. "He's on the tennis team, so he has quick feet," Kurowski said. "The only problem is his weight." Senior forward Mike Sweeney (6-3) skipped last season because of football injuries. Senior guard Dave Lesser (6-1) returns as a reserve. Junior Kirt Johnson (6-2) averaged 14.5 points for the junior varsity last season.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles might be the most experienced team in the league, if not the region. But they lack a player who can dominate. Still, Kurowski insists they will score. "We're looking to have a good year," Kurowski said. "We're going to try and press a lot and still put a lot of points up on the board."
COACH: Chris Nikchevich, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 9-16; tied for sixth in league, 3-9
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Injury and player suspensions left Crespi at the bottom of the league last season, but it is doubtful that a similar fate awaits the Celts. Crespi again will run a Loyola Marymount-style offense but could switch to a low-post offense to take advantage of its size advantage. In returning starters Randy Coleman (6-6) and Matt Carpenter (6-8), Crespi has one of the tallest front lines in the area. Coleman averaged 10 points and 13 rebounds before a knee injury sidelined him in midseason. Carpenter has recovered from a back injury he suffered early last fall and has drawn the attention of college recruiters. "He can shoot the three-pointer or post up," Nikchevich said. "He's very athletic." Charles Aghajanian (5-11) returns to run the offense at point guard, but it is off-guard Rob Leff (6-4) who could really rip the nets. "Because of the way we're set up, he will be our leading scorer and he could be the leading scorer in the Valley," Nikchevich said. Jeff Luderer (6-2), a reserve a year ago, will start at forward. Crespi could lead region teams in scoring. "We're a much better shooting team than we were a year ago," Nikchevich said. "It's not even close."
OUTLOOK: Notre Dame was a breakaway winner in league play last season, but Nikchevich sees no clear-cut favorite for 1991-92. "It's wide open," he said. "I'd be real surprised if anybody ran away with it again."
COACH: Mick Cady, 5th season
LAST SEASON: 23-5; 1st in league, 11-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Knights rolled to a league title last season with relative ease, but graduation has made defense of the championship a tall order. Junior swingman Monte Marcaccini (6-5) will try to fill the shoes of his now-departed brother, G.C. Marcaccini, who averaged 20.4 points last season as a senior. Marcaccini has improved dramatically and can play inside or shoot from the perimeter with equal effectiveness. The fact that the football team did not make the playoffs will be a boon to Cady. Seniors Damon Germanides (5-11) and Darren Firestone (6-2) both played in the football backfield and are returning basketball lettermen. Point guard Omar Seikaly (5-11), a receiver, also returns and will start. Forwards Glen Carson (6-3) and Tom Stillwell (6-6) must make the transition from the junior varsity. Freshman Scott Teaberry (6-7) will see plenty of playing time.
OUTLOOK: Notre Dame might have to rely on superior athletic ability, rather than counting on the knockout scoring punch last year's team possessed. "A lot of teams have a lot of people back," Cady said. "We lost a lot of players, but the ones we have back all played." Marcaccini will play a big offensive role. Cady said the junior is capable of averaging 20 points a game.