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  • Basketball
Sophomore point guard Devin Askew of Santa Ana Mater Dei was a summer star.
Sophomore point guard Devin Askew of Santa Ana Mater Dei was a summer star. (Eric Sondheimer)

Summer basketball is pretty much over, so it’s time to look at players who elevated their game and their teams’ chances for the upcoming season:

Devin Askew, Santa Ana Mater Dei, sophomore: It’s not supposed to be easy replacing a three-time Trinity League player of the year in Harvard-bound Spencer Freedman, but that’s how Askew made it look this summer in playing point guard for the Monarchs. Playing physical, confident and mistake free, Askew will make it possible for Mater Dei to compete against the best.

Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian, junior: At 6 feet 11, Mobley gained national admirers, helping the USA 17U team win a gold medal. Now he must translate that success to making Rancho Christian a CIF Open Division title contender.

  • Football

Defensive backs who have speed, strength and tackling ability will be plentiful this season.

The school that is loaded with quality defensive backs is Santa Ana Mater Dei. The Monarchs’ secondary was so good in summer passing competitions that the team won the Edison and Mission Viejo tourneys.

Everything starts with safety Jeremiah Criddell, a transfer from Rancho Cucamonga who’s committed to Oregon. He patrols the middle waiting to make big plays. There’s also senior William Nimmo, a key player on last year’s 15-0 team.

  • Football
Dog days of August for prep football

It’s the dog days of August, when high school football players are grinding under heat and expectations.

Whether learning plays on the field or sweating in the weight room, it’s time to get into shape, develop team chemistry and get serious about the season ahead.

At Venice High, veteran coach Angelo Gasca is excited about his team. He’s got a potential top offense with junior quarterback Luca Diamont and receivers Chad Johnson Jr. and Makai Cope.

Linebackers are much in demand for the upcoming football season. There were lots of top players who graduated, so a new group gets the chance to take center stage.

One of the top returning underclassmen is junior Justin Flowe of Upland. He’s going to set the standard for excellence.

Chaminade’s tackling machine, Blake Antzoulatos, a Cal commit, will get many chances to show his worth as the Eagles play one tough opponent after another, starting with Oaks Christian on Aug. 16. The Eagles also have another promising linebacker in Jonathan Thomas.

Top teenage golfers Ricky Castillo from Yorba Linda and Rose Zhang from Irvine have been chosen for the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team in golf.

The Junior Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 24-25 between the U.S. and Europe at Disneyland Paris.

Castillo, a Florida commit, is the No. 1-ranked boys player.


Four Southern California-based high school baseball players have been selected to play for the USA 15U national team.

The are catcher Karson Bowen from Orange Lutheran, pitcher Rheego McIntosh from Chaparral, catcher Charlie Saum from St. Bonaventure and infielder Cody Schrier from JSerra.

They will play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-15 Baseball World Cup in David, Panama, beginning Aug. 10.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame players dine on Tri-tip, mac & cheese

With every scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped by crumbled Oreo cookies and M&M’s, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame football players enjoyed their moment of food ecstasy after their practice session on Friday night.

The complete meal that included tri-tip, macaroni and cheese, salad, rolls and beans was prepared by Notre Dame parents. It’s been a tradition for much of coach Kevin Rooney’s 39 years as head coach.

Notre Dame is not alone. Lots of schools turn to their parents to make unsung contributions to help their sons get through the early days of fall football practice.

  • Football

Since he was 9, Simon Samarzich of Upland has been working on his long snapping skills. Now he’s ranked No. 1 in Southern California and No. 2 in the nation by long snapper guru Chris Rubio.

I asked Rubio to provide his rankings for the coming season.

Among the class of 2019 long snappers to watch are Jack Landherr of Chino Hills, Aidan Livingston of Santa Ana Mater Dei, Matt Rhodes of Calabasas and Derek Bedell of St. John Bosco.

  • Football
Oaks Christian defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux had 21 sacks last season.
Oaks Christian defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux had 21 sacks last season. (Gary Coronado)

Taking a sneak peek at the defensive linemen to watch for the 2018 season, you have to start with Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oaks Christian. He’s an All-American defensive end who strikes fear into opponents.

Last season he recorded 21 sacks. He’s been working hard to be quicker, stronger and even more dominant.

Cole Aubrey returns at St. John Bosco. He had 15 sacks.

  • Basketball
Three Fairfax basketball coaches covering 43 years had lunch on Thursday. Steve Baik (current coach), Steve Miller and Harvey Kitani.
Three Fairfax basketball coaches covering 43 years had lunch on Thursday. Steve Baik (current coach), Steve Miller and Harvey Kitani. (Eric Sondheimer)

It was a historic meeting of Fairfax High School basketball coaches on Thursday at the San Franciscan restaurant in Torrance.

While eating prime rib and chocolate mud pie, current Fairfax coach Steve Baik met up with former coaches Steve Miller and Harvey Kitani. Together, they represented 43 years of basketball coaching tradition for the Lions.

“Fairfax is the best basketball school to coach at,” said Miller, who was head coach from 1975 to ‘79.