Monday, November 03, 2008

Preseason Top 25: No. 23 Rainier Beach

23. Rainier Beach (Seattle)
Coach: Mike Bethea (321-81, 14 years at Rainier Beach)
2007-08 record: 28-1, Class 3A state champion
Top players: G Aaron Dotson (6-4), Sr.; G D'Vonne Pickett (5-10), Sr.; F Corey Stern (6-7), Sr.; G Jaamon Echols (5-9), Jr.; F Najee Ali (6-5), Sr.
Team strength: Quickness, defense, perimeter game
Question mark: Chemistry
Toughest games: Dec. 20 vs. Grant (Ore); Jan. 19 vs. Dominguez (Calif.); Jan. 20 vs. Franklin; Feb. 7 vs. Westchester (Calif.)
Outlook: The Vikings are a favorite to win their sixth state title in 11 years despite graduating four Division I recruits. Last season's top scorer does return with Dotson, who averaged 18 points per game. He is an LSU recruit with good athleticism and a sound outside game. A key transfer to the program is Stern, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds playing last season at Denver area powerhouse ThunderRidge. Running the point will be Eastern Washington recruit Pickett, who dished out seven assists per game as a junior. Two additional Division I prospects who will be counted on are Echols and Ali.

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