•LONGEST CURRENT WINLESS STREAKS TO START THE 2003 FOOTBALL SEASON -- 1. Bolsa Grande (Garden Grove) 0-34; 2. Los Molinos 0-26 (plus five defaults); 3. Mira Loma (Sacramento) 0-24; 4. Herlong 0-22-1 (plus one default); 5. Blair (Pasadena) 0-22-1; 6. Windsor 0-22; 7. (tie) Anderson 0-20; 7. (tie) Roosevelt (Fresno) 0-20; 7. (tie) Monterey 0-20; 7. (tie) Brookside Christian (Stockton) 0-20; 11. Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 0-19-1 (plus four defaults). Note: Los Molinos opened the season on August 29 with a 36-18 victory over Dunsmuir.
•KEEPING TRACK OF THE TRANSFERS -- It's almost gotten to the point each off-season in boys basketball to keep track of highly-ranked players who have not switched schools. Some of them are now changing addresses so quickly they haven't even played a game from the school they're coming from.
The two most significant to announce transfers in the last three weeks have been 7-1 center Robert Swift and 6-5 guard Arron Afflalo. Both were all-state last season and are among the top 15 to top 25 prospects in the nation, depending on which guru you listen to.
Swift was a key player last season at Garces of Bakersfield. He also averaged 14 points and nine rebounds per game during the summer at the USA Youth Development Festival and has committed to USC.
But almost as soon as the Rams were ousted from the chase for the Division IV state title due to a loss to Horizon of San Diego, Swift was on the move. The next week, Swift checked into Highland of Bakersfield. He finished the academic year there, but when it was time to head back to school this fall the new school was Bakersfield High. Swift's parents, Bruce and Rhonda, have a home in the Highland district and reportedly are selling it and moving to a new home that will be within Bakersfield's boundaries.
With the Drillers, assuming Swift is granted eligibility by the CIF Central Section, he'll be joining a lineup that already includes 6-7 junior Titus Shelton and 6-0 point guard Derrick Lee. Bakersfield may even be as strong or better than Garces was last season.
Afflalo's situation is unique since his move was predicated by his school, Centennial of Compton, losing its accreditation by the state. Afflalo was at first reported to be considering Cabrillo of Long Beach, but that was if Cabrillo was going to hire Centennial coach Rod Palmer. Cabrillo didn't hire Palmer, he will be staying at Centennial instead, and Afflalo has wound up at small school powerhouse Price.
"If that coaching staff was at any school other than Centennial, I would be there, no question," Afflalo told Louis Johnson of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "But as far as going back to Centennial? There's no way I can do it.....Centennial is not going to prepare me for UCLA, and I want to be prepared."
With Afflalo coming in to Price, which has won four straight Division V state titles, you'd immediately think that the Knights are an absolute shoe-in for a fifth straight. And while they will no doubt win section and regional playoff games by 40 and 50-point margins without breaking a sweat, remember that in Northern California another Price-like program does exist. It's Modesto Christian and the Crusaders were very young and very talented last season.
The moves of Swift and Afflalo were preceded by the following noteworthy transfers: Robert Rothbart, 7-1 senior center, from Monta Vista of Cupertino to Natomas of Sacramento; Tim Pierce, 6-6 senior forward, from Fremont of Oakland to Hercules; Dior Lowhorn, 6-6 junior forward, from Riordan of San Francisco to Berkeley; and DeMarcus Nelson, 6-3 senior guard, from Vallejo to Sheldon of Sacramento.
Ah, yes, boys basketball. The one high school sport you half-expect some sleazy boxing promoter to be peeking around the corner at the gym nearest you.
•CAL-HI ALUMS AT PARIS TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS -- Felix Sanchez, 400-meter intermediate hurdles world champion from the Dominican Republic, is the current Cal-Hi state record holder in that same event. He ran 51.33 for the record in 1995 as a University City of San Diego high school senior. He never won a state meet title, but neither did 100-meter and 200-meter double world champion Kelli White from Logan of Union City.
Kelli's father, Willie White, did win state meet titles at 100-yards and in the 4x220-yard relay while leading Jefferson of Los Angeles to the 1956 team championship and also won a state meet title in the 1955 4x220-yard relay. Although he never developed into an international class sprinter as daughter Kelli has, Willie White became a highly successful track & field coach at Berkeley High, winning five girls and two boys state team championships.
Two other former Cal-Hi preps also won silver medals in the women's 4x100 meter relay. They were Inger Miller from Muir of Pasadena and Angela Williams from Chino. Miller helped Muir win the state team championship in 1989 as a junior and was on the winning 4x100 meter relay team that same year. Williams won 100-meter state meet titles in 1997 and 1998 and is in fact the current national prep record holder at 11.11, a mark she set in 1998.
Kelli White did not participate for the U.S. relay team. She failed a drug test after her 100-meter win and is currently in jeapordy of having her medals taken away.
•FELIX PULLS A LEBRON: Maybe hanging out for a day with prep phenom-turned NBA sensation LeBron James had something to with it, but recently graduated California track standout Allyson Felix decided before going to the world championships in Paris that she would give up her collegiate eligibility. Felix, who set the national record in the 200 meters last season and won both the 100 and 200 at the CIF state championships for the second year in a row, has signed a six-year agreement with addidas. Felix graduated from L.A. Baptist of Sepulveda and says she will still attend classes at USC, but won't be on the USC track team and won't be on scholarship. Felix did not make it into the semifinals at the world championships.
•MATER DEI FRESHMAN COMMITS TO UCLA: Taylor King, a 6-6 incoming freshman who will no doubt make an impact during the 2003-04 basketball season at Mater Dei of Santa Ana, created a buzz two weeks ago when he committed to UCLA. King enjoyed a breakout summer at several high-profile camps and should be ranked among the top freshmen in the nation. King is believed to be the first freshman in California prep sports history to announce a verbal commitment, although the trend to commit younger and younger isn't new.
Last year, DeMarcus Nelson committed to Duke for basketball as a sophomore and five years ago a quarterback from Independence High of Charlotte, N.C., committed to Wake Forest for football as a freshman.
Note: That North Carolina player was Chris Leak and he did not eventually sign with Wake Forest. He's now a freshman at Florida. The lesson from Leak is that too much can change in a college athletic program in four years for anybody to think a talented player like Taylor King might not somehow want to change his mind. Of course, just the fact that a college like UCLA is even offering a freshman is big news in and of itself.
•CALIFORNIA VS. THE WORLD UPDATE: El Camino Real of Woodland Hills was the first reported team in the state to play a football game this season. The Conquistadors played Kauai of Lihue, Hawaii, on Friday, August 22, and came away with a 29-15 triumph. The next week, on Thursday, August 28, Schurr of Montebello played a game in the islands and lost, 27-22. Woodbridge of Irvine was scheduled to play Waimea this weekend and on Thursday, Sept. 11, it will be Linfield School of Temecula meeting Baldwin of Maui.
•A BOOST FROM BONDS: The first edition of the year for the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area TV show, hosted by Robert Braunstein and aired last week on KRON TV Channel 4 as well as on Fox Sports Net, set a ratings record for high school sports programming in the region. The three airings drew a 3.35 total, including a 2.61 on Monday. So why were the ratings so high? A fellow named Bonds had something to do with it. On Monday, just after Barry helped end an extra-inning win by the Giants over Arizona with a dramatic two-run single, the Fox Sports Net broadcasters quickly went to the next show. "Stay tuned for Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area," they said. A lot of people did.