Sports Roundup: Marcus LoVett Jr., boys' basketball previews and two local baseball stars on the big stage

With football season in the rear-view mirror for much of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, we turn our attention to basketball--and to Marcus LoVett Jr.

The 5'10 sophomore shooting guard is the most talented and decorated player in the area, averaging 31.7 points per game last season, the best in the nation among freshmen according to, while leading the Providence Pioneers to an undefeated 8-0 league record and the school's first-ever CIF championship game appearance.

LoVett has already picked up offers from some of the country's top programs, including UCLA, according to Varsity Times Insider Eric Sondheimer.

While LoVett should continue to demand everyone's attention in Burbank, the top spots in Glendale and La Canada are wide open. Crescenta Valley returns only four players from a team that won 26 games last season and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division I-A semifinals for the first time in 18 years, while Glendale, La Canada, Flintridge Prep and St. Francis return several key players from last season's playoff teams.

Pasadena High School, which returns big man Brandon Jolley from last year's CIF Southern Section Division 3-AAA title-winning team, is still the favorite in the Pasadena area, but their jump to Division 1-AA will make the road to repeat a rough one.

It might not be the season for big baseball news, but we caught up with two former local stars finding professional success on the national--and international--level.

After being released by the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim, former Glendale Community College outfielder Blake Gailen caught on with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League just to keep his professional career afloat.

After batting .338 with 22 homeruns and 25 stolen bases, being named the 2012 Independent Leagues Player of the Year by Baseball America, and signing a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies, Gailen's baseball careers has new life.

Finally, Gailen's fellow GCC Vaquero (and former Crescenta Valley Falcon) catcher Chad Nacapoy has been enjoying a similar run of success. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 38th Round of the First-Year Players Draft in June, and then selected to represent Team Philippines in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, where he went two for six and scored a run against Johnny Damon's Team Thailand.

-- Peter Madden, Times Community News

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