PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

With perhaps the nation's top QB now not coming back to Evangel Christian, will game vs. De La Salle be played after all? Parade Magazine makes more inexplicable picks in girls basketball plus more from the best prep notes column in the state. Photo by Kirby Lee/The Sporting Image.

•Booty Bomb Felt In Concord: Louisiana super quarterback recruit John David Booty's announcement on Tuesday that he was leaving Evangel Christian High of Shreveport a year early to attend USC has implications in California. Booty's departure at least creates doubt whether Evangel will go ahead and play an ambitious schedule that was in the works for the upcoming season. Many other returning starters -- including standout fullback Jacob Hester and All-American defensive end Chris Bowers -- are still coming back this season, but Booty was clearly going to be the lynchpin and his presence also had to be at least part of the reason why Paragon Productions has been so interested in pushing for a matchup between the Eagles and three-time reigning national champion De La Salle of Concord, Calif., for a LeBron James-like ESPN or ESPN2 telecast.

•The Contra Costa Times reported on Wednesday that the game was a "done deal" and that it would be played at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill (near San Francisco) on October 24. But with Booty no longer at Evangel and with the knowledge that at least one more signiture for each school is needed, is it really a done deal? Evangel also is scheduled to play at defending state champion Hoover of Hoover, Alabama, and at home against defending state champion Rockhurst of Kansas City, Mo., before even going to California.

•Even if the De La Salle game is held as scheduled, there's now more of a likelihood that Evangel could be coming with one loss or two already on its record. And no matter who the new Evangel quarterback is, he would be going against a vaunted De La Salle secondary without the school's longtime quarterback coach, Booty's father, Johnny, there to guide him.

•Raining On Parade (Again): It's hard to say if this year's Parade Magazine All-American teams for girls basketball are the worst picks we've ever seen involving Californians, but it's at least in the running. We don't mean this criticism to be against those from California who did make it, but as an argument why several were ridiculously left off. A total of 40 players made one of the Parade teams (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th) and not among them was either Candice Wiggins of La Jolla Country Day or Dominique Banks from St. Mary's of Stockton. Two on the list were Charde Houston from San Diego (Wiggins has been player of the year in San Diego for three straight years) and Crystal Erwin of Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (guess we should have picked her as Div. IV player of the year ahead of Banks and Wiggins and completely ignored what happened on the court).

•Then what's even worse are all the robotic prep sportswriters around the country who constantly heap tons of p.r. all over the Parade teams every year in every sport when most of those teams have selections that make no sense at all. Remember Parade from just this football season when it honored a player from California, Emeka Nnoli of Sacramento Natomas, as an All-American running back even though he rushed for barely over 300 yards? It's the same thing with USA Today and national rankings. Why should USA Today, Parade and many others actually spend time and resources on research to have their selections make sense when most of the local media around the country blindly hype it?

•Mission Viejo Invitational Swimming Meet: At the 30th annual meet on Saturday, April 12, Mission Viejo senior Larsen Jensen, a transfer from Garces of Bakersfield, fell just short of the oldest boys National Interscholastic swimming record with a 500-yard freestyle time of 4:16.93. The record is 4:16.39 set in 1983 by Jeff Kostoff of Upland. Jensen's impressive performance was not a surprise, though, as he had set the 800-meter freestyle American record last summer. The big surprise of the meet was Campolindo of Moraga sweeping the boys and girls team titles. Campo won the girls title by eight points over defending Southern Section champion Irvine while perennial power Mission Viejo ended up third in the boys' competition. In yet another surprise, Campolindo neighbor Miramonte of Orinda finished second in the boys team scoring. What's going on up there in the San Francisco Bay Area's East Bay hills?

•Coaching News: Danny Calcagno, the head football coach at San Leandro who led the Pirates to four straight North Coast Section Class 4A title games, is leaving the school to become the new head coach at Chabot College.

•Bret's Boy: Calabasas could be a state-ranked team in baseball before the season is over and one of the team's best players is Drew Saberhagen. He's the son of former major leaguer Bret Saberhagen, who also is the 1982 State Player of the Year from Cleveland of Reseda.

•Some top track marks of the season so far by football guys: Russell Foster from Bonita Vista of Chula Vista (UCLA line recruit) 56-11 in the shot put; Maurice Drew from De La Salle of Concord (UCLA RB recruit) won the 100-meter dash in the seeded portion of the Arcadia Invitational in 10.93 seconds; Joe Cowan from St. John Bosco of Bellflower (yet another UCLA guy) 48.10 in the 400; Jerred Belser from Bellarmine of San Jose (Nevada RB recruit) 10.75 in the 100.

•Tourney Troubles: Villa Park's decision to drop out of its own baseball tourney in favor of replacing a team that couldn't come to the more prestigious Toyo Tires National Classic has stirred up a lot of coaches in Southern California. The opening at the National Classic arose when Mainland of Daytona Beach had a late cancellation. And the irony of it all is that at least one team that was called before Villa Park to fill the spot, Arlington of Riverside, declined because its coach said he already had a committment to......the Villa Park tourney. We already know that Villa Park lost its opening game of the National Classic.

•Athens Not For Abukar: It's good to see that new men's basketball coach Dennis Felton at the University of Georgia is going to let Mohamed Abukar get out of his national letter of intent. Abukar, the 6-9 center from Rancho Bernardo of San Diego who averaged 28.7 points per game and was a first team All-State pick, signed with Bulldogs in November when Jim Harrick was the program's head coach. Abukar is going to play in an all-star game on April 26 at the University of Louisville. "While I am saddened by the events that have occurred at Georgia, I will always root for the Bulldogs in my heart," Abukar said. "I am excited to explore and research my new options and opportunities, and look forward to finding the right school to pursue by educational and athletic goals." We wonder if Omar Wilkes, the L.A. Loyola star, might be thinking this way after Roy Williams' announced he was leaving Kansas for North Carolina.

•Namesakes: Matt Bush from Amador Valley of Pleasanton is one of the top pitchers in the East Bay this season and is part of a terrific staff for the Dons. Matt Bush also is the name of a junior at Mission Bay High of San Diego who last spring was voted the State Sophomore Player of the Year.


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