We continue our 2013-14 team previews with an in-depth look at Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.), a team with the talent and experience to become the first team from California’s Inland Empire to win a major division state title. Throughout October, we’ll preview many of the top teams from across the country as a countdown to the release of our preseason 2013-14 Student Sports FAB 50.
Note: All information that follows came from a questionnaire that was sent to and returned by the school’s head coach. If you would like your school to be profiled, please return the questionnaire that was mailed out earlier this month or it can be filled out online.
Team Name: Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)
Head Coach: Dave Kleckner (410-110 at Etiwanda, 470-150 overall)
2012-13 Record: 28-4, 20-2 (J.V.)
Final Ranking: No. 13 (FAB 50) No. 5 (West)
Returning Starters: 2
Returning Lettermen: 6
Players Most Deserving of Preseason Honors: PG Jordan McLaughin 6-0 2014 (No. 41 Hoop Scoop Top 100, CIF Southern Section Division I-AA co-Player of the Year, USC commit), PG Dominick Alexander 6-0 2014 (All-League) F Kenny Barnes 6-4 2014 (All-League).
Newcomers Who Could Make An Impact: F Kameron Edwards 6-6 2015, C Jordan Naughton 6-9 2015.
Coach’s General Outlook: We are going to be quite strong at both guard spots. Jordan is one of the best guards in the country and Dominick is underrated. What we’re working on right now is our chemistry and getting everyone on the same page. In order to play at the defensive level we want to, we have to have good chemistry and get tougher defensively. We are going to be very similar to last year’s team and I do think we warrant a top 10 ranking.
Events Scheduled To Play In: Maxpreps Holiday Classic (Palm Desert, Calif.), Chicago Elite Classic (Chicago), Southern California Shootout (Azusa, Calif.), Nike Extravaganza (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
Team(s) On Schedule Deserving of Ranking: Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), Centennial (Corona, Calif.), St John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), Loyola (Los Angeles).
StudentSportsBasketball.com Comments: Last year the Eagles finished with their highest ranking in school history (No. 2 in California according to CalHiSports.com) and this year they have the personnel to take the next step and win the coveted CIF Open Division state title. It all starts with point guard Jordan McLaughin, who led Etiwanda to the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA title (the state’s toughest section playoff) by averaging 15.6 ppg. That doesn’t seem noteworthy until one considers Etiwanda prides itself on its defense (42 ppg allowed) and it often keeps its own scoring down. Last year, Etiwanda was a top 15 team nationally without a starter taller than 6-foot-6 and that’s what makes this year’s team a contender for greater national acclaim. Dave Kleckner often wins without a lot of size, but this year’s team has it with the addition of Jordan Naughton. Kameron Edwards also moves up from an excellent J.V. team and is ready to contribute after a standout summer. Kleckner wants his team to develop more toughness of the defensive end, but that’s more to meet his own high standards. This team is experienced and will be tough to score on — and also tough to beat.
Fast Fact: Last year Etiwanda won its first CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA title since 2005, when Kleckner’s squad featured future NBA players Darren Collison and Jeff Pendergraph, now known as Jeff Ayres. After beating Mater Dei of Santa Ana in las year’s section title game, the Monarchs came back to blow Etiwanda out in the SoCal Open Division regional final. For the first time ever last season, the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) instituted an open division playoff in both its regions for the state’s best teams — regardless of enrollment or traditional league strength.
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RELATED: FAB 50 Consideration Form
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