A CLOSER LOOK: BVAL boys hoops preview

The new era of basketball in the Bay Valley Athletic League gets underway tonight. The official league preview ran in today’s paper. Here’s a slightly more in-depth look at each team.

Coach: John Woolery, second season
2007-08 record: 19-9, 12-4 BVAL
Key returnees: G Emmaneul Bradford, Sr.; G Ramsey Nijem, Sr.; G Jordan Hoyle, Jr.
Key newcomers: G Tanner Sweet, So.; G Jamal Davis, So.; F Christian Martin, Jr.
Key losses: F Tim Williams, G Calvin Douglas.
Outlook: The Panthers take on a new look as the dynamic duo of Williams and Douglas has graduated. Bradford, Nijem and Hoyle are the only returning players from last season’s roster, so Woolery will be counting on his new squad to gel quickly.  Look for Antioch to rely on pressure defense and good outside shooting, led by Bradford who is a legitimate first-team All-BVAL candidate.
Predicted finish: Fifth

Coach: Richard Morton, second season
2007-08 record: 14-11, 10-6
Key returnees: F Ryan Briggs, Sr.; G Harris Emeran, Sr.; F Greg Holmes , Sr.
Key newcomer: F Andre McPhail, So.
Key losses: G Tyree Murray, G D’Angelo Williams
Outlook: No team played a tougher nonleague schedule than the Wolverines, who endured losses to De La Salle, Berkeley and Rocklin. Though it loses it’s top two scorers from a year ago, Deer Valley should be among the most athletic teams in the league. The Wolverines will also have one of the more experienced frontcourts with Briggs and Holmes.
Predicted finish: Third

Coach: Drew Torres, first season
2007-08 record: 2-24, 1-15
Key returnees: F Deon James, Sr.; G Cameron Gupton, Sr.; G Ryan Rodriguez, Sr.; G Trevor Ferguson, Jr.; PG Daniel Pereira, Sr.; C Trae Weeks, Sr.
Key newcomers: G Andrew Garner, So.; C Darrell Greene, So.; G Nick Blount, Jr.
Key loss: G Mark Miranda
Torres returns to the bench after a year hiatus following three very successful seasons at Antioch. His impact on the program is already evident as the Falcons have won eight games (though the first five were forfeited). The Falcons roster consists of at least five seniors who have already tasted success on the football field in 2008 and appear to determined to get the hoops team headed in the same direction. Add a pair of sophomores (Garner and Greene) who have created some buzz, and Torres could have a good formula to work with.
Predicted finish: Fourth

Coach: Pat Cruickshank, fourth season
2007-08 record: 20-6, 10-6
Key returnees: G Jordan Knox, Sr.; G Jimmy Enomoto, Sr.; G Chris Santucci, Sr.; F John Moffett, Sr.
Key newcomers: F Meni Ofodu, Jr.; G Sean Packard, Jr.; F Kevin Harrity, Jr.; F Mark Winthrop, Jr.; C Justin Bunting, So.; C Cyrus Blakinship, Jr.; F Brian Cruickshank, Jr.; F/C Jon Daniels, Jr.; G/F Devin Hardy, Jr.
Key losses: F Kyle Golinveaux, G Paul Ramey, G Aaron Dalton, G Chris Lang, F/C Greg Howard
Outlook: With their returning inside-outside duo of Knox and Moffett, the Patriots mix experience with a younger, but also deeper, roster. The losses of Golinveaux and Howard leaves Heritage a little thinner in the frontcourt, meaning guard play will be the key to its success. With much of the opposing defense’s attention being paid to Knox, don’t be surprised if Enomoto and Santucci end up having standout seasons. This is the first class to spend all four years in Cruickshank’s program, so another 20-win season should be in the cards.
Predicted finish: First

Coach: Jon Heinz, second season
2007-08 record: 8-17, 3-13
Key returnees: F Ryan Lett, Jr.; F Shane Pilgrim, Sr.; G Luke Chapple, Sr.; G Aaron Meeks, Sr.; F Aaron Castillo, Sr.; G Anthony Augliera, Jr.
Key newcomers: F Preshish Chand, Sr.; F Zach Bonte, Jr.; C Justin Payton, Jr.
Key losses: G Dan Freeman, C Kyle Quinn
Outlook: The Lions are off to a strong start this season as their 7-3 nonleague mark already has them just one win shy of matching their entire win total from last season. The key has been a roster that has been very balanced in scoring. Through the first 10 games, the team’s top five leading scorers range in average from 7.6 points per game to 9.7. Another asset for Liberty is Chapple, who may be one of the best defensive guards in the league.
Predicted finish: Sixth

Coach: Clint Williams, second season
2007-08 record:
20-8, 11-5
Key returnees: G Erick Dargan, Jr.; G Steven Sullivan, Sr.; G Chris Manning, So.; G William Barrett, Sr.; G/F D.J. Young, Sr.; G Touri McLennon, Sr.
Key newcomers: G Robert Jiles, Jr.; F Marcus Franklin, Jr.
Key losses: G Joe Simpson, G/F Charles Barnes, C DeMarcus Frost
With Pittsburg’s football season going into mid-December, the Pirates was roster was pretty thin during the first half of the month. Pittsburg was 3-4 before it got reinforcements from the football team (Dargan, Young and Jiles). Since then, it’s gone 4-0 and with double-digit victories in three of the four games. The Pirates up-tempo, full-court-pressure style will create it’s usual havoc for opponents. Thus, if it can create a consistent offensive attack, Pittsburg may end up being the team to beat.
Predicted finish: Second