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November 29, 2010

Preseason SoCal Basketball Rankings

1.) Price

The Knights earned the No. 1 spot in Southern California, as there isn't a team out there that can match the team's combination of a dynamic point guard (Askia Booker) with two powerful frontcourt players (Norvel Pelle and Skylar Spencer). Sophomore guard Chance Murray is another nice piece for head coach Michael Lynch's team.

2.) Taft

With the graduation of Bryce Jones and the transfer of DeAndre Daniels, you'd think this year's Taft team would be depleted. That's far from the case, as the Toreadors are the kings of the City Section thanks to a balanced and talented core that includes guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Steve Jones, forwards C.J. Blackwell and Stephon Maxwell and center Kevin Johnson.

3.) Lutheran (La Verne)

The Trojans might be the deepest team in the Southern Section, as C.J. Cooper, Bruce English, Grant Jerrett and Eric Cooper are future Division I college players.

4.) Long Beach Poly

The Jackrabbits have one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in Southern Calfornia in point guard Alexis Moore and forward Ryan Anderson. Sophomore forward Roschon Prince is still another star.

5.) Compton

A pair of 6-foot-6 juniors give the Tarbabes plenty of hope for now and next season. Anthony January and Victor Robbins form the core of what should be a fantastic team.

6.) Harvard-Westlake

Forward Damiene Cain is a star, but he has plenty of help in lengthy frontcourt players David Burton and Zena Edosomwan. The Wolverines are a sleeper pick to go to win a state title, and if they get consistent guard play that just might happen.

7.) Crenshaw

The Cougars are one of the best teams in the City Section thanks to junior Reynaul Baker, sophomore Isaac Hamilton and freshman Daniel Hamilton but can talent overcome inexperience?

8.) Mater Dei

Junior forward Xavier Johnson gives the team a star to go with a talented incoming freshman class that includes 6-foot-5 star Shaqquan Aaron.

9.) Campbell Hall

Senior guard Austin McBroom is one of the best pure scorers in California, but the development of a supporting cast will be critical to this team's success. Junior forward Cole Huff will need to make big strides for that to happen.

10.) Centennial

Size is great, but consistently awesome guard play can take a team a long way. The Huskies are hoping that Gelaun Wheelwright and Dominique Dunning can carry the team to the promise land.

11.) Windward

Four-star forward Wesley Saunders might be Southern California's most gifted all-around player. Will he get enough help to crack the top-10?

12.) Etiwanda

Seniors Byron Wesley and Jordan Daniels form one of the Inland Empire's most dynamic duos.

13.) Valencia

Three-star shooting guard Lonnie Jackson averaged close to 25 points per game last season, but he's going to continue to fill the rest of the stat sheet for the Vikings to join the section's elite group of teams.

14.) St. John Bosco

Hard to believe that the best basketball player in the Mater Dei dominated Trinity League could be Braves' point guard Cezar Guerrero.

15.) Orange Lutheran

Senior James Douglas provides a steady if not spectacular presence at the point guard position, while junior two guard Gabe York is one of Orange County's rising stars.

16.) Brea Olinda

Kyle Caudill is a star, but he has a decent supporting cast in Grant Bishop and Adam Williams, two players who are capable of scoring in double figures on any night.

17.) Redlands

This team will go as far as 6-foot-8 forward Paulin Mpwawe takes it.

18.) Westchester

Head coach Ed Azzam lost a lot from last year's state championship squad, but this team has plenty of potential with players like Trevone Williams, Robert Gsellman and Joshua Wilson.

19.) Loyola

The Cubs don't have one star player, but the team does return three players who averaged double figures in scoring last year in Ryann Oliver, Julian Harrell and Joe Stein.

20.) Paraclete

Surprised? The Spirits are a sleeper pick to make some noise inside the Southern Section this season, thanks to the awesome potential of 7-foot-1 center Mike VanKirk.

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