City’s Best Must Prove Themselves All Over Again


The time has come for the area’s Great Eight to conquer new basketball territory.

After leaving indelible marks in Central City high school basketball, Toby Bailey, Tommie Davis, Tremaine Fowlkes, Dayron Harris, Kris Johnson, Reggie McFerren, Andre Miller and David Rickenbacker seek to do the same at the Division I college level.

But the transition is not always an easy one.

Sometimes high school heroes find themselves sitting on college benches.

As the crowds grow larger and the stakes higher, these players must expand their games to compete with the increase in talent.

Each is armed with a formidable weapon, which makes his game stand out:

* McFerren is a marksman from the three-point line.

* Harris and Johnson are “wide bodies” who dominate around the basket.

* Bailey, Fowlkes and Rickenbacker run the floor like track stars and finish off fast breaks with highlight-reel slam dunks.


* Davis’ quickness allows him to blow past defenders with ease.

* Miller can break down a defense with his offensive arsenal.

Yet, as talented as these players are, they all will have to become even better to receive the same recognition in college.


Toby Bailey--6-5 swingman, UCLA. Bailey is a tremendous athlete and tenacious offensive rebounder. He was the area’s best at changing ends--switching from offense to defense--and can guard point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and some power forwards. Bailey needs to be more consistent with the jump shot to open up his slashing drives to the basket.

Tommie Davis--5-9 point guard, Houston. Davis’ blend of great upper-body strength, quick hands and low center of gravity makes him an explosive ball handler. Despite his size, Davis has excellent court vision and outstanding passing ability. Although Davis is great at making steals, many competing point guards will be able to shoot over him.

Tremaine Fowlkes--6-7 forward, Cal. Fowlkes was the area’s version of the human highlight film. No Crenshaw game was complete without Fowlkes slamming home an alley-oop lob pass from Davis. Fowlkes has great hands and will finish anything around the basket with a dunk. He runs the floor as well as any big man and can rebound at either end. Because of his dominance in close, Fowlkes’ jump-shot range remains a question mark.

Dayron Harris--6-4 forward, Long Beach State. When Harris wants a rebound, he gets it. Harris can play a post-up game and then step out and hit the medium-range jump shot. He runs the floor extremely well and knows how to wear down a defender with his body. Harris is foul-prone and sometimes allows himself to be taken out of the game by bad play.

Kris Johnson--6-5 forward, UCLA. Johnson has great post moves, including a turnaround jump shot and a fade-away. Johnson is excellent at using his body to get off shots and get rebounds. He’s a good dribbler and can score from 18 feet. Johnson has exhibited problems passing out of the double team and foot speed makes him a poor one-on-one defender.


Reggie McFerren--6-6 guard, Kansas State. McFerren was the area’s best pure shooter. More consistent than he is streaky, McFerren’s height and long limbs make him an ideal shooting guard. His ability to create shots will be tested and he needs to work on his ballhandling skills. He will need to add weight or else physical defensive play will wear him down.

Andre Miller--6-2 guard, Utah. Miller is a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor. He can take defenders who play him close to the basket and will knock down the three-point shot when given room. Miller’s quickness will help him to shed the bigger guards he will be matched up against.

David Rickenbacker--6-4 forward, San Diego State. Rickenbacker is a versatile inside-outside forward. He is a great man-to-man defender and also does a good job helping out. Next to Bailey, Rickenbacker was the area’s best offensive-defensive player. Rickenbacker will need to increase his jump-shot range.