Monday, November 03, 2008

Preseason Top 25: No. 19 De La Salle

19. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
Coach: Frank Alloco (303-38, 11 years at De La Salle; 470-66 in 17 years overall)
2007-08 record: 28-4, Division I Northern California runner-up
Top players: G Brandon Smith (6-0), Sr.; G/F Hollis Thompson (6-7), Sr.; F Jeff Powers (6-7), Sr.; F John McArthur (6-8), Jr.; G/F Beau Levesque (6-6), Sr.; G Jordan Estrada (6-0), Sr.; G Joe Stein (6-2), So.
Team strength: Size, depth, shooting, half-court sets
Question mark: Must improve rebounding
Toughest games: Dec. 26-30 Merv Lopes Holiday Classic; Jan. 19 vs. McClymonds; Feb. 7 vs. Dominguez
Outlook: The Spartans, who have won three Northern California titles and two Division I state championships this decade, might have their most talented team to date. Six players on the roster stand taller than 6-foot-6 and three seniors have made verbal commitments to Division I programs. Running the show will be Smith, a California recruit who averaged 12 points and seven assists as a junior. He is a true point guard and a four-year varsity letterman. Giving the Spartans a huge weapon on the wing is Thompson, a transfer from Los Angeles Loyola where he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last season. Thompson, who has pledged to Georgetown, possesses very good athletic ability. Denver University-bound wing Powers contributed 10 points and four rebounds last season. McArthur is a hard-working power forward who chipped in 10 points and six rebounds as a sophomore. Estrada is a tenacious defender while Levesque has good length and could develop into a Division I player with a strong senior season. Stein, whom Allocco says could develop into a big-time prospect, is expected to have a breakout junior season.

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