19. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Last year: 27-5
Coach: Derrick Taylor
Top players: G Bryce Jones (6-6, Sr.); F DeAndre Daniels (6-8, Jr.); G Landon Drew (5-11, So.); C Kevin Johnson (6-10, Jr.); G Jordan Gathers (6-3, Sr.); F Brandon Perry (6-6, So.)
Top games: Dec. 26-30 at MaxPreps National Prep Classic (San Diego); Feb. 6 vs. No. 2 St. Patrick at Nike Extravaganza (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Notable: With four transfers expected to crack the starting lineup, chemistry could be an issue for the Toreadors but size and ability certainly will not. Returning starter Drew along with newcomer Jones (USC) will form a dynamic backcourt duo. On the blocks, the tandem of Daniels (Texas) and Johnson will be a tough matchup for almost any opponent. Gathers, another transfer and nephew of late Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers, has toughness and is a good outside shooter.
Quotable:”This team is very talented and athletic.” – Taylor, who led Taft to CIF City championships in 2004 and ’08.