Boys' basketball: El Camino Real gets nod as top City Section team
With the basketball season beginning next week, here's my evaluation of the preseason top 10 teams in the City Section.
1. El Camino Real. The Conquistadores won Division II last season with mostly sophomores and juniors. With a year's experience, they're ready to make a run at a Division I title. Michael Thomas signed with Hawaii, and Maleke Hayes, Julian Richardson and Evan Wardlow are junior standouts.
2. Palisades. Three starters are back from a team that shared the Western League title. If 6-8 Dakota Chambers comes back successfully from a knee injury, the Dolphins can be a major factor.
3. Fairfax. This is a team with a good mix of young and veteran players. Chaunce Hill and Reggie Theus Jr. are finally seniors and should be standouts.
4. Westchester. Members off a talented junior varsity team are expected to help the Comets make strong playoff run. There's no single star player, but Coach Ed Azzam believes it's a team with lots of potential.
5. Taft. The defending City champions took a big blow when Anthony January lost his appeal for a fifth year of eligibility. Kris Yanku is one of the best guards in the City Section, and the Toreadors will give El Camino Real lots of competition in the West Valley League.
6. Crenshaw. Andre Edwards leads the Cougars who made a strong run last season. If point guard Mossi Johnson decides to play basketball after a long football season, beware.
7. University. The team's nonleague schedule is anything but tough, which should lead to a good record. But it's in Western League play where the Wildcats, led by Breamon Richard, will be tested.
8. Dorsey. The City finalists are rebuilding fast with new players.
9. Sylmar. There are four players on the team who sat out last season after transferring. They're now eligible and ready to help lead a turnaround. Football standout Jamere Austin is back.
10. Kennedy. The guard play is outstanding, led by Dominique Vargas.
-- Eric Sondheimer