Buena Park. 16-13, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Ed Matillo (ninth year, 90-108). Prospects: Three starters return: senior Ruben Gasso, a 5-10 point guard, junior Brian McDonald, a 5-10 guard and senior Mike Moran, a 6-0 guard. Still, this figures to be a rebuilding season. Five players with three years of varsity experience are gone, so Matillo is looking to find replacements in 6-5 junior Jeremy Brown, 5-8 freshman guard Bache Chhoeung, 5-10 senior guard Ray Fikreselassie, 6-3 sophomore swingman Ty Gardner, 6-4 sophomore forward Nick Hawkins, 5-11 junior forward Rommel Hernandez and 6-3 junior center Tyrone Wimberley. Gasso is a four-year starter and McDonald and Moran are third-year varsity players.
Fullerton. 15-13, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Bill Czech (first year). Prospects: Czech has his work cut out for him. Only 6-5 starting forward David Brookman, a senior who averaged 12 points a game last season, has significant varsity experience. Andrew Stadel, a 6-4 forward, and Brandin Rosenthal, a 6-1 guard, return. Newcomers include Arie Barendrecht, Michael Davern and Michael Sailhammer. Czech is optimistic. "We should be in the middle of the pack. Our strength is the post play of Brookman. Our weaknesses will be a lack of experience, but it's our goal to get a playoff berth."
La Habra. 4-21, 0-10 in 1995-96. Coach: David van Breeman (first year). Prospects: Four starters greeted their new coach, who is optimistic. However, "We have a lot of players from different teams and levels of experience," van Breeman said. "They have little experience playing together." Back are 6-5 center Brad Egan, 6-2 guard Ryan Hall, 5-11 guard Craig Heard and 6-3 forward Dave Ploog. Josh Fischer, a 6-7 forward, Nick Onuscko, a 5-11 guard, Marc Rueckert, a 6-2 forward, and Damon Tristan, a 6-0 guard, will be vying for playing time also. Junior varsity player Nick Armstrong and point guard Nick Tolmasoff, who led the freshman team to a 19-2 record last year, are also up.
Sonora. 21-7, 9-1 in 1995-96. Coach: Mike Murphy (seventh year, 111-50). Prospects: Murphy has built a solid reputation as a good coach of fundamentals, and with four starters returning, he is expected to have one of the top teams in the county. League most valuable player Josh Lien, a 6-6 swingman, returns, as do 6-2 guard Jeffrey Berokoff, 6-7 forward Ben Jones and 6-3 swingman Jimmy Landry. Other returning players include 6-3 sophomore guard Marqui Worthy and 5-10 senior guard Bobby White. Also expected to contribute are juniors Matt Anderson, Gabe Garcia, Deric Hilliard and Greg Vacchione, all under six feet, but quick. "We are a very athletic group," Murphy said.
Sunny Hills. 10-17, 3-7 in 1995-96. Coach: Randy Wellen (second year, 10-17). Prospects: There is good height with 6-4 forward Jason Maughan and 6-1 guard Daren Solomon returning. Also in camp are 5-8 guard Joe Ok, 6-1 guard Chan-Young Song and 6-5 center Steve Swagerty. The team should benefit from transfer Jim Findlater, who averaged 15 points a game for Heritage Christian. Other newcomers are Grady Funk, a 6-2 swingman, and Bim Okunrinboye, a 5-9 guard.
Troy. 18-10, 8-2 in 1995-96. Coach: T.J. Hardeman (seventh year, 96-78. Prospects: Hardeman predicts 5-9 guard Jerry Inzunza will be "the best sophomore player in Orange County." Also back are 5-11 guard David Sun, 6-5 forward Scott Blake and 6-2 forward Aaron Mason. Newcomers include 6-4 Kevin Corby and 5-11 guard Mike Grayes. Rebounding is going to be a problem this season, Hardeman said. "We will shoot very well, be quick and handle the ball well," he said. "The team will also play solid defense."
--Capsules by PAUL McLEOD