As promised here's Part II of my basketball preview. Since I previewed Westchester and Taft last week, I'll go ahead and start with the team favored to win the City – Fairfax.
It's one thing to have a top-tier national recruit but it's even better when a team has two. Such is the case with Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani as boasts the frontcourt duo of Renardo Sidney and Solomon Hill.
Hill made his mark during the summer where his showings at various camps catapulted him on the national radar. Of course, those who saw him last year knew potential was there after he helped the Lions defeat St. Patrick's (NJ) at the Nike Extravaganza.
A do-it all forward who plays with passion, he'll fill up the stat sheet as one of the most versatile players in the region. All of which made easier by his partner in crime, Mr. Sidney.
I'll be honest, there were concerns about his attitude and conditioning during the summer. However, there has been news that Sidney is in peak shape physically which I'm sure the crowds at Redondo Union will verify by now.
He'll be the early favorite to win City Player of the Year and will form an imposing frontcourt with Hill. Throw in athletic senior guard Lance Bailey and you've got three leaders to help steer their ship back to the City finals.
The question for the rest of the City is who'll fill up that crucial fourth spot behind the Big Three. There's quite a few options around but I'll spotlight a few closer to home.
Mark your calendar for December 10 because you'll see two of those contenders clash with Dorsey traveling to Fremont in a rematch of last year's regular season finale, won by Fremont.
The Pathfinders have one of the City's best big-time players in senior forward Tony Freeland and with six seniors on their roster, they have the depth and experience to make another big run.
As for the Dons, they have some exciting players in senior forward Jordan Mackie and guards Brian Stewart and Lee Lark who can push the tempo. Throw in the always-dangerous Crenshaw and View Park Prep and the Coliseum League could once again be the toughest league in the City.
The Southern Section may be a bit tougher to call – unless you want drive to Orange County and watch the best starting five in the region at Mater Dei.
Like I said last week, Dominguez has plenty of depth to still be a factor and surprise teams. Don't count out Pasadena or Riverside King, led by Kawhi Leonard, to make some noise either.
But in lieu of a deeper outlook, I'll recommend you check out the Tournament of Champions at Ocean View High School starting Monday, December 8 and running until December 13.
There you can look at last year's winner, Westchester, along with Compton Centennial, Pasadena, Gardena Serra, Long Beach Poly, Etiwanda, West Valley and Harvard-Westlake – all teams expected to make noise in the Southern Section.
For more information and schedules, go to www.ovtoc.com
I'll leave you with the preseason All-Sentinel basketball team for boys and girls. And don't worry girls' hoops fans, I'll try to show you some more love during the season.
All-Sentinel Preseason Team (Baskeball)
Renardo Sidney (Sr., Fairfax)
Solomon Hill (Sr., Fairfax)
Dominique O'Connor (Sr., Westchester)
Justin Hawkins (Sr., Taft)
Michael Williams (Sr. Taft)
Terran Carter (Sr., Taft)
Tony Freeland (Sr., Fremont)
Tyler Honeycutt (Sr, Sylmar)
Jordan Mackie (Sr., Dorsey)
D'Sean Anderson (Sr., Inglewood)
Kevin Johnson (Sr., Gardena Serra)
Darius Morris (Sr., Windward)
James Johnson (Jr., Campbell Hall)
Robert Mandingo (Sr. Dominguez)
Natasha Pruitt (Sr., View Park)
Danielle Pruitt (So., View Park)
Gennifer Brandon (Sr., Chatsworth)
Monique Oliver (Sr., Long Beach Poly)
Kelli Thompson (Sr., Long Beach Poly
Monica Jackson (Jr, Chatsworth)
Rmanii Haynes (Jr., Taft)
Gloria Lee (Sr., Fairfax)
Talia Caldwell (Sr., Marlborough)
Brianna Barfield (Sr., Lynwood)
Tayler Champion (Sr., Inglewood)
Dominique Scott (Sr., Palisades)