Fryer: Time to start talking basketball


Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

Jayce Johnson, a 7-foot boys basketball sophomore, might not have been a starter at Mater Dei this coming season. Johnson likely will get more starts, minutes and more scoring opportunities at JSerra to where he recently transferred.

• The National Letter of Intent early-signing period of one week for several sports begins Wednesday. The sports covered this period include baseball, basketball, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and wrestling. The football letter-of-intent signing period begins Feb. 5.

• The top boys basketball recruit in Southern California and, according to many websites, California, the western United States and beyond, Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson, has said he will delay his collegiate-destination decision so that he will sign during the basketball regular signing period in April. His finalists are Arizona, Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and USC.

• There will be an open division for elite teams this coming season in the CIF-Southern Section boys and girls basketball playoffs. A selection committee, using records, rankings, strength of schedule, etc., will select the 16 teams that will be in the boys open division and the 16 in the girls open division.

• In the open divisions, first-round losers can go into a consolation bracket from which the champion will receive an automatic berth in the CIF State playoffs, as will all first-round winners in the open-division playoffs. The boys basketball open division consolation bracket final will be played at Honda Center just like all of the other upper-division boys basketball championship games.

• CIF-Southern Section football at-large playoff teams will be announced Saturday at 6 p.m. Previously, the at-large teams – teams that don’t finish high enough in their league standings to qualify for automatic playoff berths – were revealed early on the Sunday that the brackets also are released. The section office moved the at-large announcement to Saturdays so that teams on the bubble don’t make an unnecessary trip to the CIF-SS office in Los Alamitos or to one of the brackets-release satellite sites.

• The basics on CIF-SS football playoffs qualification: teams get guaranteed berths if they finish among the top two teams in five-team league or among the top three in six- and seven-team leagues. The number of at-large berths available: two in the Pac-5 and Southwest Divisions; one in the Southern Division; and three in the East Valley Division; and four in the Northeast Division.

• CIF-SS playoff brackets for football and water polo will be released Sunday. Girls volleyball pairings are out Saturday. All will be at upon availability.

• Football teams designated as their league’s No. 1 playoff representatives will get first-round home games. Some No. 2 representatives will get home games, against other leagues’ No. 2 teams or their No. 3s. All No. 3 teams and at-large teams will play first-round away games, often against another league’s No. 1.

• When two teams meet after the first round of the playoffs in CIF-SS team sports, the team with the fewest number of home playoff games at that point of the playoffs is the home team. If the teams have had the same number of home playoff games a coin flip decides the home team. In football and many other sports, coin flips are done one round in advance for potential matchups that would require a coin flip to determine home teams.

• The CIF-SS Pac-5 Division and Southwest Division football championship games will be at Angel Stadium on Dec. 1. Last year’s Southern Division championship game, in which Corona del Mar defeated Garden Grove, was at Angel Stadium but this year will be at a site of the home team’s choosing.

• Kudos to Tustin for self-reporting that its football team had used an ineligible player. The Tillers thus had to forfeit a win over Cypress.

Chris Van Camp is the baseball coach at Villa Park, where he replaces Scott Zine, who had resigned. Coach “Spunky,” as he is known, has coached in the Villa Park program for a few years, is an alumnus of Valencia and was on Chapman’s 2003 national championship team.

• Mater Dei’s boys water polo team takes an unreal, CIF-record 105-game winning streak into the playoffs, for which the Monarchs will be seeded No. 1 in Division 1. Harvard-Westlake of Studio City probably is the Monarchs chief obstacle toward another section championship.

• Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said getting to 100 in a row, achieved with a win over Loyola of Los Angeles, was something of a carrot on a stick. “When we hit 99,” he said, “we had a brief discussion about how ‘you don’t want to be the guys who ruined the streak at 99.’ But our ambition is to be CIF champion, and if we get there then later we can sit back and be excited about 100.”

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