San Bernardino Valley College has been tabbed by the Foothill Conference coaches as the favorites to win the 2011 conference crown. The Wolverines are the leagues’ two time defending champions, but will have a host of new players when they hit the floor this season. In a close vote SBVC received four first place votes, while both Antelope Valley and Mt. San Jacinto garnered two first place votes a piece. MSJC edged out AVC as the pick to finish second. Chaffey was the coaches pick for fourth place while Barstow was picked fifth. Rounding out the voting was College of the Desert, Rio Hondo, and Victor Valley.
San Bernardino finished last season in the State’s Final Four with a 31-3 overall record and unbeaten mark of 14-0 in conference play, but lost all five starters and some key bench players to graduation. Gone are Foothill Conference MVP Nate Roth along with four other first team all conference performers. The Wolverines have high hopes for their crop of newcomers however led by redshirt freshman Thair Heath and freshman Tevin Harris. SBVC has five newcomers over 6’7 for the new campaign.
MSJC enters the new season with three returning starters led by first team all conference forward Dakota Downs. The other two returning starters are guard Eric Lawton and forward Jammall Clark. MSJC has finished either first or second in the conference four of the last five years. AVC moved three players on the the Division I level last year, but still have three starters returning. Nick Bennett, Jason Logan, and Charles Cole all come back for their second year under new head coach John Taylor. The Marauders finished last season at 17-14 overall and 7-7 in conference. Perennial power Chaffey also will have a host of newcomers this year as they return no starters from last year’s 19-9 team. The Panthers have a host of new local talent led by the trio of Steffon Neal, DeOndre Brodie, and Dante Godlock all from Fontana.
Barstow showed marked improvement last season finishing 11-14 and will look for more this season. Daquan Brown is the lone returning starter, but he will be joined by what many consider the top recruiting class in the conference. Two of Barstow’s newcomers expected to make an impact are Senegal natives Cheikh Fall and Lamine Diame. College of the Desert will be another team with an entirely new look for 2010-11 as the Roadrunners return not one starter from last year’s 5-22 team. Local stand outs Chaz Pio and D’on Hall will lead the new class. At Rio Hondo David Ng takes the helm from Steve Hebert and will hit the floor without a returning starter. Timmy Wong and Skylar Blackman will be two of the players trying to replace the scoring of Maurice Cole and Darryl Alexander from a year ago. VVC is the fifth team to claim no returning starters for the upcoming season. Coach Tom Dudgeon hopes newcomers like Amos Battle and Prophet Kates can help improve on last year’s 8th place finish.
2010-11 Foothill Conference Coaches Pre-Season Poll
Team (1st place votes) Points 2009-10 Record
1. San Bernardino (4) 56 31-3 (14-0)
2. Mt. San Jacinto (2) 54 21-9 (10-4)
3. Antelope Valley (2) 53 17-14 (7-7)
4. Chaffey 44 19-9 (10-4)
5. Barstow 31 11-14 (4-10)
6. Desert 21 5-22 (5-9)
7.Rio Hondo 18 10-16 (5-9)
8. Victor Valley 16 8-20 (1-13)
2009-10- Record 21-9 (10-4 t2nd) Regional Semi-Finalist
Starters Lost (2) D’Andre Williams (Arkansas Little Rock)
Jeffrey West (Missouri Western)
Returning Starters (3) Dakota Downs (2010 All Conference)
Eric Lawton, Jammall Clark
Top Newcomers— Darrell Chenault 5-11 G Columbus, OH
John Pressley 6-4 G New York, NY
Chris Brooks 6-5 F Hemet
Zac Ngawaka 6-5 F Keysborough, Austrailia
Taylor Bell 6-3 G Redlands
Jeree Crawford 6-4 F Gary, IN
Head Coach—Patrick Springer