Capistrano Valley. 17-13, 6-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Brian Mulligan (second year, 17-13). Prospects: Mulligan gets his first full season after picking up the pieces during the nonleague schedule when Mark Thornton resigned. Forward Austin Moherman (6-6), and point guard Dan Galvanoni (6-3), all-league selections, return, as does 6-3 guard Ryan Thurlow. Newcomers include 6-0 guard Mike Clifton, 6-8 center Josh Garrett and 6-2 forward Jason Muncaster, all seniors, and 6-2 sophomore guard Mike Stowell. "We have three experienced scorers but no consistent role players or consistent defenders," Mulligan said.
Dana Hills. 12-15, 2-8 in 1995-96. Coach: Mark Thornton (first year). Prospects: Thornton brings experience to a team that hasn't done as well as many think it should. Starter Reid Spiegl, a 6-1 senior guard, returns. Thornton also has an exchange student, 6-7 Brazilian forward Huber Souza. Returning players are 6-4 forward Derrik Dossey, 6-6 forward Tim McKee, 6-3 guard Todd Pittman and 6-8 center Adam Underwood and newcomers are 6-3 guard Matt Deter, 6-2 guard and Santa Ana Valley transfer Larry Page, 6-3 guard Jeremy Henderson and 5-10 guard John Shields.
Mater Dei. 34-2, 10-0 in 1995-96. Coach: Gary McKnight (15th year, 422-31). Prospects: McKnight is blunt: "We can win a CIF title, but I don't think we'll have as good a record as we did last year." Mater Dei, ranked fifth in the nation in one preseason poll, returns four starters: guard Kevin Augustine, The Times 1995 player of the year who has committed to USC; guard David Castleton; 6-6 1/2 forward Tom Lippold (San Diego), and 6-9 center Mike Vukovich (UC Santa Barbara). Also returning is swingman Anthony Vallas. Newcomers include 6-7 forward Mike Bayer, 6-3 forward Dan Hellbusch, 6-3 forward Kevin Hughes and 6-foot guards Pat Manning and freshman Steve Scoggin.
Mission Viejo. 18-10, 4-6 in 1995-96. Coach: Joe Reid. (third year, 46-35). Prospects: Reid says the South Coast League is full of talent. His team is no exception. Three starters return: 6-6 forward Gabe Burt, 6-3 guard Commander King and 6-7 forward Shaun Murphy. Also back is 5-9 guard Orlando Campbell and 6-6 center Shemmar Frazier. Top newcomers include 6-3 Brock Amos and 6-3 Jerry Bolton, a transfer from Memphis. There's also Rob Lynch, Matt DiGirolamo and Jerry Williams. "We have strong starters but not much depth," Reid said.
San Clemente. 18-11, 6-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Ed Coyle (fourth year, 39-40). Prospects: Two starters return: Jan Tatala, a 6-6 post player who averaged 15.6 points and eight rebounds last season, and Semarj Johnson, a 6-3 guard who averaged 11 points and six rebounds. Rick Saul, a 6-3 guard, is "much improved," Coyle said. Newcomers include 6-0 guard James Anderson, 6-3 forward Kris Evans 5-7 point guard Oscar Montecinos and 6-4 post Joe Tatala. "We have a very good, tough group of players with great chemistry and they want to win," said Coyle, who has a record of 226-164 in 16 varsity seasons.
Trabuco Hills. 11-17, 2-8 in 1995-96. Coach: Rainer Wulf (10th year, 162-91). Prospects: This figures to be a transition year for the Mustangs, who return only two starters: 6-0 guard Chris Majors and 6-5 forward Brenton Junge. Also back is 6-5 forward Aaron Jones. None scored in double figures last season, so Wulf has to find a way to generate some offense, perhaps from 6-1 guard Yasser Ansaari, 6-4 freshman Evan Fields, 6-0 guard Brandon Heaney, 6-2 Michigan transfer Jerome Lewis, 6-5 Mike Trujillo or 6-3 Santa Margarita transfer Ryan Webster. "We have enthusiasm, a work ethic and youth," Wulf said. "Our weaknesses are a lack of experience and our consistency."
--Capsules by PAUL McLEOD