Thursday, March 13, 2008


Lights, camera, action for Simi Valley's Jackson

The basketball season might have ended for Lorne Jackson about a month ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean things have quieted down on the hoops front. In fact, the senior point guard from Simi Valley has been as busy as ever, with the recruiting process, that is.
Jackson visited San Diego over the weekend and plans on returning for an official visit in two weeks. Trips to Butler and George Mason, perhaps Penn St., appear to be in the works as well. Oklahoma is another program that's been expressing some interest recently.
"Life has been crazy,'' Jackson said. "I thought I'd get some attention a lot earlier than I did. But I guess everything happens for a reason. Right now, I'm taking my time in making this decision. I want to find the right fit. We're talking about the next four years of my life.''
San Diego has offered him a scholarship. So has American, Cal St. Northridge, Montana St. and UC Riverside. Can't imagine Jackson committing anytime soon, though. But when he does, I've got a funny feeling either Simi Valley coach Christian Aurand or his assistant Ryan Moore will let me know right away, considering they both do a good job of keeping in touch. Stay tuned.
-- Sean Ceglinsky

Long Beach Telegram
Frank Burlison, Sports columnist
Article Launched: 03/11/2008 09:54:06 PM PDT
High school hoopla
All-Southland team: I'm giving you 12 players, listed alphabetically, based on how well they played when I saw them (not on college potential or where they finished in "Best in the West" balloting, for example).
Here they are: Jerime Anderson (Anaheim Canyon), Demar DeRozan (Compton), Larry Drew (Taft), Jordan Hamilton (Dominguez), Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall), Lorne Jackson (Simi Valley), Malcolm Lee (JW North), Charles Odum (Mayfair), Renardo Sidney (Fairfax), Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita), David Wear (Mater Dei) and Eric Wise (MLK).

Ventura County-Star
Jackson, Meza co-MVPs for county coaches team
By Derry Eads Sunday, March 9, 2008

Having co-players of the year isn't that uncommon for all-league teams. Rare is the case when two players share an all-area MVP title.
Having two players from the same team being named as co-MVPs for the Ventura County Basketball Coaches Association's 2008 boys' basketball team is a unique occurrence.

Divvying the 2008 MVP award are Simi Valley's Lorne Jackson and Michael Meza.

Jackson was the county's scoring leader, averaging 22.9 points per game. He also averaged 6.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game and broke his own school season steals record with 120. Meza ranked No. 3 in the county with a 20 points-per-game average and had 5.5 rebounds per game.
Simi Valley's Christian Aurand, who led his team to a 26-2 record, including 14-0 in the Marmonte League, and a state ranking, was named as the varsity coach of the year
.Scripps Newspaper Group — Online© 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co.

Marmonte's finest athletes honored for wintertime work
Call it a clean sweep for the Simi Valley High boys' basketball team.

Simi Valley seniors Lorne Jackson and Michael Meza have been named co-Players of the Year in the Marmonte League. Jackson was also honored as Ventura County Most Valuable Player by
After leading the Pioneers to a 14-0 league record and a 26-2 mark overall, Christian Aurand is the Marmonte's Coach of the Year.

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Holiday tidbits: Jackson emerges as best of the rest
By Joel Francisco
Scouts Inc.(Archive)
Updated: January 4, 2008

Now that the holiday tournaments are over and league play is upon us, it felt like an appropriate time to unveil those unsigned seniors who have elevated their value in the eyes of coaches and scouts alike, beginning with point guard deluxe Lorne Jackson.

• Lorne Jackson (6-1, 175), Simi Valley, Calif.: With his play at the Maxpreps Holiday Classic, he is undoubtedly one of the top five point guard prospects on the West Coast. American and UC Riverside are the only colleges who have offered -- look for that to change dramatically by April.

Francisco's Best of the West Coast from the 2007-08 season

By Joel Francisco

Scouts Inc.(Archive)
Updated: March 14, 2008

Jrue Holiday, the 6-4 two-guard who brings new meaning to the word "relentless," will wrap up his sensational high school career Friday against St. Mary's (Berkeley, Calif.) for the Division IV state crown.
I've been watching high school basketball religiously for about a quarter of a century and I'm not sure I've come across a high school player as well-rounded at both ends of the floor as Holiday. Whether he has the same success as fellow west coasters Baron Davis or Jason Kidd is yet to be determined, but he does possess the ability to change the complexion of the game at both ends more than anybody I can recall in that time frame.
Holiday is just one of many talented prospects -- Demar DeRozan and Seattle's finest Peyton Siva come immediately to mind -- I gazed upon during this season. There were many other standouts as well as surprises and sleepers to emerge in this two-part series review of the 2007-08 season. The first segment will focus on the seniors and juniors, while next week I'll evaluate the most promising talent in the sophomore and freshman classes on the West Coast.

Class of 2008 (seniors)
MVP Jrue Holiday (6-4)North Hollywood, Calif./Campbell Hall The best guard in the West since Jason Kidd laced them up for St. Joseph (Alemeda, Calif.). His jump shot and handle need some polishing, but at the defensive end he is peerless.
All West Coast Demar DeRozan (6-6, 200) Compton, Calif. The most promising wing in the West since Inglewood standout Paul Pierce. His performance against Gahr at the Maxpreps Holiday Classic was borderline legendary. Overall, his left hand needs work, but his mid-range game is progressing and his athleticism is off the charts.
Luke Babbitt (6-7, 220) Reno, Nev./Galena His skill level and savvy at the four spot are as good as it gets. He has a feathery shooting touch out to the stripe and is one of the better passing big men in the country.
Jerime Anderson (6-2, 180) Anaheim Hills, Calif./Canyon Possesses great size for the one spot and has more savvy than any other point guard in the country. Is a consistent jump shot from being an All-American at the next level.
Larry Drew (6-0, 155) Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft His decision making improved immensely the second half of the season. There isn't a point guard in the country running the pick-n-roll better than him.
Klay Thompson (6-7, 185) Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Although he needs to get tougher, his skill and savvy are better than some of the McDonald's All-Americans selected.
Collin Chiverton (6-5, 190) San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty This rangy athletic wing can hurt you from deep or take it strong to the hole. Once his mid-range game tightens up, he'll be a standout in the WCC.
Honorable Mention: 6-5 Malcolm Lee (Riverside, Calif./ J.W. North), 6-11 Jeff Withey (San Diego/ Horizon), 6-4 James Rahon (Del Mar, Calif./ Torrey Pines) and 6-8 Paul George (Palmdale, Calif/ Pete Knight).

Top Surprises
Lorne Jackson (6-1, 175) Simi Valley, Calif. His overall performance at the Maxpreps Holiday Classic was scintillating to say the least. Doesn't possess great speed and quickness, but his jump shot is solid and his feel for the game is elite level.
Kyle Fogg (6-2, 175) Brea, Calif./ Brea-Olinda Has all the intangibles (length, skill, and quickness) to be a high-major two guard. As good as his upside is on the offensive side of the ball, his defensive prowess may be better.
Reggie Moore (6-1, 180) Seattle/Rainier Beach Fresno State got a steal when this high-major talent signed in November. He has a chiseled frame and can run a team with aplomb and savvy.
Eugene Phelps (6-6, 210) Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft Long Beach State scored with this physically gifted four. He power dunks anything around the basket and is solid in the pick-n-pop set as well.
Michael Proctor (6-8, 215)Phoenix/Desert Vista Big Sky coaches will be wondering if this Tyler Hansbrough clone should have gone higher. Northern Colorado is sure glad he didn't.
Honorable Mention: 6-0 Bryce Cartwright (Compton, Calif./Dominguez), 6-7 Aaron Fuller (Mesa, Ariz.), 6-4 Mychal Ladd (Seattle/Rainier Beach), 6-2 Charles Odum (Lakewood, Calif./Mayfair), James Nunnally (Stockton, Calif./Weston Ranch), 7-1 Greg Somogyi (Portola Valley, Calif./Woodside Priory). 5-8 Caspar Ware (Cerritos, Calif./Gahr).

Class of 2009 (juniors)

Renardo Sidney (6-9, 230) Los Angeles/Fairfax Put on one of the most memorable performances during the LA City semifinals against rival Westchester. His post game is far from polished, but his stroke is smooth and he's an underrated passer.
All West Coast Peyton Siva (6-0, 170) Seattle/Franklin Siva is the most explosive point guard in the country. He has deep range on his jump shot and has the uncanny ability to either get to the rim or dish off to an open teammate.
Brendan Lane (6-9, 210) Rocklin, Calif. Lane reminds me of a young Ryan Anderson (Cal-Berkeley). He has a solid shooting touch behind the stripe and is pretty effective off the bounce as well.
Jordan Hamilton (6-7, 190) Compton, Calif./Dominguez When he allows the game to come to him, he's an exceptional wing talent. His stroke is smooth and has become a tough rebounder as well.
Abdul Gaddy (6-3, 170) Tacoma, Wash/Bellarmine Prep His size and passing ability are high-level to say the least. How effective his jump shot becomes will determine his career beyond Arizona.
Hollis Thompson (6-7, 180) Los Angeles/Loyola Late-blooming wing has smoothened out his jump shot -- now he needs to get better off the bounce.
Honorable Mention: 6-9 Greg Smith (Fresno, Calif./Edison), 5-11 Robert Smith (Perris, Calif.), 6-9 David Wear (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), 6-8 Andy Brown (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), 6-2 Anthony Marshall (Las Vegas/Mojave), 6-6 Reeves Nelson (Modesto, Calif./Modesto Christian) and 6-5 Michael Snaer (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde).
Top Surprises
Joseph Burton (6-7, 260) Hemet, Calif./West Valley Due to his weight loss he has once again positioned himself to be highly recruited. His footwork in the post and nifty passing ability are a sight to see.
Aaron Dotson (6-4, 190) Seattle/Rainier Beach High-flying finisher in the open court and his jump shot is beginning to come around.
Solomon Hill (6-5, 180) Los Angeles/Fairfax For two seasons he was tabbed as an undersized four; now he's evolving into a point forward type with a solid shooting touch.
Anthony Stover (6-9, 200) La Canada, Calif./Renaissance Academy Is years away from becoming a finished product, but his improvement since last season has been astonishing. Has a nice shooting touch out to 15 feet and is bouncy.
Kawhi Leonard (6-6, 200) Riverside, Calif./Martin Luther King He's a tad rigid and a bit reluctant to post-up, but his shooting ability and big-time frame (long arms and broad shoulders) will attract the high-majors.
Chase Tapley (6-2, 180) Sacramento, Calif. Blue-collar point guard has recovered nicely from an injury-plagued sophomore season. He needs to extend his shooting range, but his point guard skill, savvy and toughness speak volumes.
Derrick Williams (6-7, 215) La Mirada, Calif. Doesn't possess high-major lift, but his perimeter skills -- most notably his shooting -- are developing and his length is impressive.
Eric Lawton (6-1, 155) Hemet, Calif./West Valley Has a slight frame, but he's a high-major scorer and defender due to his explosive nature. Wouldn't surprise me if he turned into a point guard down the road either due to his overall feel for the game.
Top Sleepers
Jerry Evans (6-7, 160) Lawndale, Calif./Leuzinger This left-handed wiry wing-type needs strength, but he's a great athlete with solid perimeter skills. He reminds me a little of former UNLV standout Stacey Augmon.
Alex Osborne (6-7, 215) Los Angeles/Pacific Hills Displayed a solid face-up game at the Pacific Shores tourney. He can hit the 15-footer or take defenders off the bounce from the elbow.
Eric Hutchinson (6-7, 215) Longview, Wash./Mark Morris He's an undersized five, but he's quite bouncy and possesses a solid all-around feel for the game.
Trevor Williams (6-10, 230) Denver/Lutheran Has a solid looking frame with long arms and runs well. His skills need polishing, but in this era he'll probably end up high-major.
Marcus Ruppel (6-6, 180) Glendale, Ariz./Deer Valley Possesses the intangibles (lengthy frame and solid bounce) of a blossoming wing for at least the mid-major level. His jump shot is streaky and he has a quick first step.

Joel Francisco has been a high school basketball scout for 15 years. He has written for Hoopscoop Magazine and Basketball Times and organized "So-Cal's Finest," his own scouting service.

2008 Battle of the Valley Boys Senior All Star Game
Sunday April 13
Cal State Northridge 5 p.m.
West Roster
Lorne Jackson-Simi Valley
Michael Meza-Simi Valley
Andy Winningham-Oak Park
Matt Johnson-Oaks Christian
Bryce Smith-Taft
Joseph Fauria-Crespi
Ryan Walczuk-Malibu
Kyisean Reed-Highland
Ben Ricard-Agoura
Bobby Hillard-Oak Park
Levi Wenrich-Hart
Kyle Olandt-Westlake
Dalton Francis-Newbury Park
COACH-CHRISTIAN AURAND-SIMI VALLEY ( Assistants-Ryan Moore and Chris Garton Alternates: Carl Brackens, Michael Whalen, Eugene Phelps, Adam Kolodney, Arthur Chivichyan.

East Roster
Dallas Rutherford-Campbell Hall
John Otavka-Valencia
Darrell Powers-Sylmar
Cody Anderson-Canyon
David Buchanan-Moorpark
Charles Cole-Monroe
Teilden McKissic-Lancaster
Jesse Zarate-North Hollywood
Mitch Weber-Saugus
Eric Strangis-Crescenta Valley
Justin Cook-Renaissance Academy
Cory Davis-Reseda
Mat Hankins-Van Nuys
Shara Babakhanians-Hoover
Alternates: Josh Thomas, Clay Sierra, Mark Lewis.

Best of the best from the SF Valley/North region
With the boys' basketball season officially over, figured it was time to take a few minutes out of my afternoon and reflect, essentially sit down and make a who's who list of the top performers from the SF Valley/North region. For the record, this wasn't a difficult process.
The most valuable player winner shouldn't come as a big surprise. However, there were several worthy candidates when it came to deciding who was the best coach, among them Terry Kelly and Christian Aurand -- to name a few. So, without further delay, here's a look at the honorees:
Jrue Holiday
(Campbell Hall) Sr. -- No-brainer pick here. UCLA-bound guard was unstoppable in leading Vikings to third state title in four years. He averaged 25.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 4.6 steals and 2.4 blocks a game.
Tom Hegre (Knight) -- Not much was expected from the Hawks. But that didn't prevent Hegre from guiding this group to appearances in the So. Sec. Div. II-A title game and the So. Cal. Regional Division II playoffs.
Paul George (Knight) Sr. -- West Coast scouts are enamored with 6-foot-8 prospect, who shot 48 percent from the field and averaged 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds to go along with three assists and three steals a game.
Lorne Jackson (Simi Valley) Sr. -- Far and away top point guard in Ventura County, hands down. Look up the definition of floor general in the dictionary and don't be surprised to see a picture of Jackson.
Mike Meza (Simi Valley) Sr. -- Teamed with Lorne Jackson to form a one-two punch similar to Batman and Robin. Or maybe it was Robin and Batman. Either way, Meza was irreplaceable.
Roberto Nelson (Santa Barbara) Jr. -- Dons were a disappointment, no doubt. The lack of success, however, shouldn't be blamed solely on Nelson, one of the most sought after underclassmen in the nation.
Renaldo Woolridge (Harvard-Westlake) Sr. -- Opponents knew the ball was going to the 6-foot-8 wing, who committed to Tennessee, but couldn't stop him from averaging 19.1 points and 9.1 rebounds a game.
Cody Anderson (Canyon) Sr. -- It's tough for any player from the Foothill League to get respect, but the 6-foot-9 post player deserves some after finishing with 20-plus points and at least 10 rebounds in a majority of his games.
Bobby Hillard (Oak Park) Sr. -- The Eagles could not have advanced to the So. Sec. Div. III-AA semifinals and first round of the So. Cal. Regional playoffs without the steady contributions from Hillard.
Jacob Ranger (Carpinteria) Sr. -- Didn't receive a ton of recognition, but should have considering the UC Davis-bound wing averaged 23.9 points a game despite not having a much help around him.
Kyisean Reed (Highland) Sr. -- Overshadowed by Paul George at times, but few individuals in the Golden League could match his 61 percent shooting from the field and 19.6 points and 12.7 rebounds a night.
Dallas Rutherford (Campbell Hall) Sr. -- Had a field day playing alongside Jrue Holiday. Who wouldn't? The 6-foot-3 combo guard averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 2.4 steals per outing.
-- Sean Ceglinsky

The Star's Boys Basketball First Team Profiles
Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lorne Jackson, Simi Valley
The floor general for Simi Valley's 27-2 Marmonte League champion team led by example. The senior was the county's leading scorer, averaging 22.9 points per game. He broke his own program record for season steals with 120 and ranked second in the county with 190 assists. Jackson owns the program's career record for steals. He was the Ventura County Basketball Coaches Association's co-player of the year. Jackson enjoys playing sports and watching TV during his free time. His favorite TV show is "Entourage." Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is his favorite player.

Lorne Jackson showcased his all-around skills while leading Simi Valley to a superb season
Complete competitor

By Derry Eads (Contact) Sunday,
March 23, 2008

Joseph A. Garcia / Star staff Simi Valley's Lorne Jackson finished his high school career in style, leading the area in points per game (22.2) and steals (4.3) while finishing in second in assists with 190.

It was close to a clean sweep for Lorne Jackson.
Only the 217 assists by Oaks Christian School's Matt Johnson kept the Simi Valley High senior from becoming the area season leader in three statistical categories.
Wrapping up one of the most impressive all-around performances in years, The Star's 2008 Boys' Basketball Player of the Year led Ventura County in scoring (22.9 points per game) and steals (4.3). His 190 assists ranked only behind Johnson on the final area list.
What made those statistics pop out better than a yellow highlighter was the fact Simi Valley finished 26-2 despite playing in arguably the best league in the area and had a loaded non-league schedule that included the likes of Dominguez, Compton, Knight and Campolindo.
"It was a huge luxury for us to have someone with the great feel for the point guard position that Lorne had," said Simi Valley coach Christian Aurand.
"He had an incredible season. He broke his own school record for steals and if he's not the top scoring point guard in school history, he's pretty close."
A busy offseason program dedicated to strengthening one phase of his game and cementing a team bond laid the foundation for a remarkable 2007-08 season.
Three days a week, Jackson drove to a sports performance center for weightlifting and speed work. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Simi Valley players gathered for practices at a local boys' and girls' club. "We formed a great bond on those days," said Jackson. "The team had a better chemistry for the season because of it."
Between summer games with his high school and AAU teams, Jackson had individual workouts with former NBA player Pooh Richardson.
The object of Richardson sessions was to develop a better stroke for Jackson's outside shooting.
"I knew that if I had my outside shot, it would be difficult for teams to defend me," said Jackson.
Richardson drilled his protegé on coming off screens, shooting off dribbles and from different positions on the floor. One hundred shots per day. They had one-on-one and two-on-two games.
"Pooh is still extremely good to this day," said Jackson of the 41-year-old Richardson who had a stint with the Los Angeles Clippers during his NBA career.
It didn't take long for Aurand to notice the difference.
"All those extra things that he did over the summer helped," said Aurand. "We all knew that he could take it to the basket and score. The question was, could he shoot the 3-pointer? If he could, it made it very tough for defenses. Teams had to guard the 3-point line.
"His ability to shoot really opened up his game."
Not only did Jackson double his 3-point field goals — from 18 in 2007 to 40 — his percentage dramatically improved from 24 to 38 percent.
Meshing with Michael Meza and Brad Lewis to give Simi Valley one of Southern California's most potent three-man tandems, the Pioneers rode into the Torrey Pines Tournament with a 10-0 record.
It was there that Simi Valley and Jackson would make a spike up the state rankings.
Jackson averaged 28.8 points in four games as Simi Valley advanced to the championship game against Dominguez. Jackson had 39 points, including a school-record 20 free throws (20 of 22), in an 84-83 loss decided on a last-second offensive rebound.
Simi Valley swept through the Marmonte League season unbeaten and saw a 13-game winning streak end in the Division I-AA playoffs with a second-round loss to Long Beach Wilson, 78-76.
"The season was far above what I expected," said Jackson.
As was a high school career that saw Jackson finish with 308 steals, second only to Newbury Park's Daniel Bobik on the all-time county list, and ninth in assists (439).

The Star's first and second boys' basketball teams
Sunday, March 23, 2008
First team
Lorne Jackson Simi Valley Guard Senior
Michael Meza Simi Valley Forward Senior
Jeff Staniland Ventura Guard Senior
Matt Johnson Oaks Christian Guard Senior
Bobby Hillard Oak Park Forward Senior
Second team
Kyle Olandt Westlake Guard Senior
Jordan Harris Channel Islands Center Senior
Brad Lewis Simi Valley Guard Senior
David Buchanan Moorpark Forward Senior
Derek Shutt Oxnard Forward Senior

Eight area boys make first team
From staff reports

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The 2008 All-Divisional boys' basketball teams.
The division teams were selected by the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.

Lorne Jackson of Simi Valley was named to the Division I-AA first team. Teammate Mike Meza made the second team. Named as co-I-AA players of the year were Demar Derozan of Compton, David Wear of Mater Dei and Jordan Hamilton of Dominguez.

Matt Johnson of Oaks Christian, Andy Winningham of Oak Park and Carpinteria's Jacob Ranger were selected to the III-AA first team. Earning III-AA second-team honors were Tyler McGrath of Oaks Christian, Bobby Hillard of Oak Park and Randi Vines of Santa Clara.
St. Bonaventure, the V-A runner-up, placed Bo Mesick and Nick Molina on the divisional first team with Chris Thomas of Thacher and Noah Aguirre of Fillmore.
Chosen to the V-A second team were Isaiah Burton of St. Bonaventure, Ryan Dolinski of Newbury Park Adventist and Pablo Ramos of Fillmore. Oxnard's Derek Shutt made the II-A second team.

Boys' basketball: Simi Valley's Jackson considers his college options
George Mason, San Diego and Pepperdine have emerged as possible college choices for Simi Valley point guard Lorne Jackson.
Jackson, who averaged 22.9 points for the Marmonte League champions, is expected to make a recruiting visit to George Mason next week.
Jackson is playing in the San Fernando Valley all-star game on April 13 at Cal State Northridge. He attended a banquet for the game Monday night. Also there was Palmdale Knight forward Paul George, who said he is considering Fresno State and Pepperdine and also has heard from Georgetown.
-- Eric Sondheimer

And that's not all of 'em....shhhh!