Orange County scores and player stats for Wednesday (11-20-19)


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Scores and stats for the Orange County games on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

BOYS BASKETBALL

RUMBLE FOR ROSECRANS

Canyon 87, University 52

Can: Woodrum 24 pts, 2 3-ptrs, Martin 20 pts, 6 3-ptrs, Williams 14 pts, 2 3-ptrs, Huston 14 pts, 4 3-ptrs.

Sonora 79, Santa Fe 64

Son: Bell 25 pts. Esparza 15 pts. Worthy 14 pts.

Marina 54, Carson 48

GIRLS BASKETBALL

OXFORD TOURNAMENT

Foothill 62, Glendora 58

Foot: Jang 22 pts, Jones 13 pts, Hingst 11 pts.

BOYS SOCCER

NONLEAGUE

Oxford Academy 8, Calvary Chapel/Downey 0

GIRLS SOCCER

NONLEAGUE

Saddleback Valley Christian 5, Tarbut V’Torah 0

Goals: (SVC) Falshaw 2, Wade 2, Vernola

GIRLS WATER POLO

NONLEAGUE

Pioneer 12, Bolsa Grande 4

Centennial/Corona 10, Fullerton 8

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Purple & Bold: Rajon Rondo can bring speed with his ‘swag’

Editor’s note: This is the Wednesday Nov. 20 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.


There’s such a thing as unquantifiable impact. Frank Vogel says so.

Look past Rajon Rondo’s assist numbers from Tuesday night’s win, Vogel said, into something less tangible.

“Rajon’s statistics are not measured on the stat sheet; it’s measured in swag,” the Lakers head coach said earnestly. “He just gives us some confidence and an air about us that we know we’re going into battle with a heck of a basketball player.”

Swag is all well and good, but there is something more measurable that Rondo can do: Help the Lakers pick up the pace.

Within Rondo’s 10 assists against Oklahoma City were five dimes in transition: to Kyle Kuzma, to Alex Caruso, two to LeBron James and one to Anthony Davis. Even though Rondo also got half-court dishes that led to threes, one of his best strengths is finding options on fast break opportunities.

It’s an area where the Lakers have growth potential: They’re currently 8th in the league in points off turnovers, and 9th in fast break points. Part of the reason they don’t run as much as they could is because, as much as LeBron and Rondo are fast-break threats, they also can pound the ball and walk it up, not seizing as quickly on transition opportunities.

After scoring 30 fast break points on Oklahoma City (which is a top-5 transition defensive team), the Lakers had to acknowledge that their fast break attack isn’t something they always use enough.

“I feel we get stagnant at times,” Danny Green said. “We slow down the pace ourselves when we don’t need to. Our best offense for us is our defense. And also just running. We don’t have to run plays and halfcourt sets. So if we push the pace and attack early, I think we’ll give ourselves some easier looks.”

In looking at how much better the Lakers have been when LeBron is on the court, one of the pieces of subtext is that the Lakers’ offense hasn’t been efficient when James can’t make looks for his teammates. The 3-point shooting especially drops to sub-30 percent when James is on the bench.

Rondo can help that by being a half court table-setter, but he can also help that by pushing the team’s tempo along. Whether off a defensive rebound or with a turnover, the Lakers can push the pace a little harder to get going.

“He’s quarterbacking that thing, and he’s got options,” Alex Caruso said. “As he’s rounded back into form, sort of like we saw with (Kyle Kuzma) … I think (Rondo) is doing that too, and we’re starting to see some of his skills come out.”

Because as much confidence as you can get from a half-court 3-pointer, nothing quite gives you swag like a fast-break dunk.

CARU-SHOW 2D

We’ve written about how Internet memes are a part of the Alex Caruso experience. But wall murals, which predate memes by tens of thousands of years, mean you’re immortalized.

Consider the Bald Mamba immortal, then, after L.A. muralist Gustavo Zermeno Jr. painted Caruso dunking over an impressive assembly of Western Conference talent: James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and Jamal Murray.

It’s not long before Caruso gets word of new memes from his friends. He first saw a picture of it while waking up from a nap.

“I thought it was fake, to be honest,” he said. “It just kind of goes to the cult following we’ve been joking about for the past six months.”

Caruso said he messaged the artist to send his compliments. He was hoping to visit the mural on Wednesday.

KUZ UPDATE

An ugly eye injury for Kyle Kuzma raised red flags to anyone who saw him stalking off the court bleeding from his face, but the Lakers said a follow-up medical evaluation revealed nothing too serious. Kuzma is scheduled to practice on Thursday and play in Oklahoma City on Friday.

The third-year-forward tweeted out an emoji with glasses on Wednesday afternoon. Are rec specs in his future? We’ll find out Friday night.

– Kyle Goon

Click draw

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Disneyland’s first Rise of the Resistance commercial reveals new details about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ride

Disneyland’s first Rise of the Resistance television commercial shows scenes inside a detention cell that reveal new details about the highly anticipated attraction coming to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed land at the Anaheim theme park.

The TV spot shows a group of approximately 16 visitors trapped inside a First Order detention cell aboard a Star Destroyer as Star Wars villain Kylo Ren activates his crossguard lightsaber.

The commercial suggests riders will encounter an audio-animatronic Kylo Ren armed with his distinctive red lightsaber in the jail cell.

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The first Rise of the Resistance TV spot is out. It has the DL opening date but no WDW?

Probably nothing or time to get the Disney tin foil hats back out. pic.twitter.com/p67rHQH5MT

— Scott Walker (@scottwalker88) November 20, 2019

The Rise of the Resistance attraction coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will feature videotaped, holographic and audio-animatronic appearances by characters from the latest Star Wars trilogy. Kylo Ren will make multiple appearances in several forms throughout the attraction.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland’s new Rise of the Resistance ride will last at least 15 minutes at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

The ground-breaking new Rise of the Resistance attraction will combine four ride experiences.

The new attraction will put riders in the middle of a battle between the villainous First Order and the heroic Resistance in a dangerous off-planet mission. Along the way, the new recruits will be captured aboard a Star Destroyer, break out of a First Order detention cell, elude the clutches of Kylo Ren and escape back to a secret base on the Star Wars planet of Batuu, the setting for the new 14-acre Galaxy’s Edge land.

Inside the attraction, riders stepping off a Resistance intersystem transport ship onto a Star Destroyer will immediately encounter First Order officers barking orders: “Move along, Resistance scum.” Riders will be separated into smaller groups and thrown into a jail cell.

The First Order detention cell in Rise of the Resistance will be similar to the room where Resistance pilot Poe Dameron was questioned by Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens.” The Jedi Killer will interrogate the “captured” riders before the prisoners manage to escape from the detention cell.

After breaking out of the cell, the 16 imprisoned riders are expected to board a pair of 8-seat ride vehicles and continue through the dark ride portion of the attraction.

The Rise of the Resistance attraction will debut on Dec. 5 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and on Jan. 17 Disneyland.

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CSUF’s Performing Arts Center enriches campus, community culture

From the outside, the Joseph Clayes III Performing Arts Center can fool you. Dressed conservatively in light-gray brick, the 13-year-old, 109,000-square-foot complex does a good job of blending in with many other buildings on the sprawling campus of Cal State Fullerton.

But inside, it’s a different story: a well-appointed warren of three performance spaces and large rehearsal halls that rivals the best arts facilities anywhere in American academia. In addition to the 150-seat Dale and Millie Hallberg Theatre and the 250-seat James D. Young Theatre, the crown jewel of the complex is the 800-seat Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall, an elegant venue dedicated to music, with rich, harmonious textures and colors, superior acoustics and excellent sightlines from every corner. It looks more like a well-appointed civic performing arts center than a university facility.

  • A view of the Clayes Performing Arts Center (CPAC) at Cal State Fullerton. (File photo)

  • The Clayes Performing Arts Center is “totally student focused,” said Joseph Arnold, dean emeritus of CSUF’s College of the Arts. (File photo)

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  • Meng Concert Hall is a big draw for prospective students. “Very few universities have a dedicated music hall,” said Dale Merrill, dean of the College of the Arts. (File photo)

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How did CSUF end up with one of the most beautiful and smartly designed campus arts complexes in the country?

It started with an edict from the California State University Office of the Chancellor to build large theaters on its campuses. The Clayes Performing Arts Center was proposed as part of an expansion of the existing Performing Arts Center, which was built in 1964. For years, the biggest performance space on campus was the old center’s Little Theatre, with a seating capacity of about 500. The university’s burgeoning programs in theater, dance and music desperately needed better facilities.

The chancellor’s grand plan called for 1,200-seat theaters for its campuses — enormous by university standards. Fortunately, CSUF adopted a smarter and more practical approach.

“Instead of building a multipurpose hall that is so big and doesn’t really serve the community or the curriculum, they built three really distinct theaters and support space. That support space is very important,” said Dale Merrill, dean of the College of the Arts. In addition to its performance and rehearsal spaces, the complex includes dressing rooms, a recording studio, costume and scene shops, and a make-up studio.

Groundbreaking on the $48.5 million expansion began in the spring of 2003. The official grand opening was on Jan. 13, 2006. State funding provided most of the money, supplemented by donations from alumni, faculty, administrators and staff.

In 2008, trustees from the Joseph A.W. Clayes III Charitable Trust announced a $5 million gift to the university for scholarships and programming in the performing arts. As a result, the board of trustees approved a new name for the complex: the Joseph Clayes III Performing Arts Center.

The facility “is totally student-focused,” said Joseph Arnold, dean emeritus of CSUF’s College of the Arts. “It is used by the students – they rehearse in it, they perform in it – and it is completely tied to the educational mission of the College of the Arts. And that makes it rather unique.”

Since its opening, CSUF’s performing arts facility has proved to be an excellent recruiting tool. 

“It certainly has an effect in terms of recruiting talent because of the quality of the facilities,” Arnold said. “Its focus is on a pre-professional and professional training program and that really has been the central focus of all three departments – theater and dance, music and visual arts.”

A big attraction for performing arts students is rehearsal space, he said.

“The students actually have the opportunity to rehearse in the space in which they are performing rather then rehearsing in a large room and then all of a sudden moving into the physical space itself and adjusting to that,” he said.

The Meng Concert Hall is also a big draw for prospective students. “Very few universities have a dedicated music hall,” Merrill said.

For Arnold, it’s all about the sound.

“It’s the remarkable acoustics of this house that I think separates it from others,” he said. “It is an extraordinary hall to listen to music in.”

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Navy Chief Edward ‘Eddie’ Gallagher could be stripped of SEAL designation

U.S. Navy Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher will begin a board review process, Wednesday, Nov. 20, that could result in the 20-year military veteran losing the Trident pin that identifies him as an elite SEAL.

Gallagher was found guilty, in a July court-martial, of posing with the corpse of a teen ISIS fighter during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq. The verdict, which also found him not guilty of the premeditated murder of the teen and of shooting at two civilians, was upheld by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilda on Oct. 29. In finalizing the verdict, Gilda also upheld the demotion of Gallagher from Chief to First Class Petty Officer, reducing his lifetime pension.

On Friday, Nov. 15, President Donald Trump issued an order returning Gallagher to the rank he had before the court-martial at Naval Base San Diego.

Naval Special Warfare Command, Capt. Tamara Lawrence, said Tuesday, Nov. 19, that the SEALs have implemented Trump’s order to restore Gallagher’s pay grade. But Trump’s intervention does not remove the conviction from his service record. Because of that, she said, his conduct can still be reviewed to determine if he deserves to remain a SEAL.

On Wednesday, Gallagher was to receive a letter signed by SEAL Commander Rear Adm. Collin Green advising him that a board is being convened to review his performance. Such reviews can be held for various reasons, including medical issues, alcohol or drug abuse and loss of confidence by command.


This undated selfie provided by Andrea Gallagher shows her husband, U.S. Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher. (Edward Gallagher/Courtesy of Andrea Gallagher via AP, File)

Green could remove Gallagher’s Trident without a review board because he is an enlisted SEAL — the board review is typically reserved for officers. Gallagher’s case will be reviewed by three of his peers, who also will be given a rebuttal statement from Gallagher.

Gallagher served eight deployments and was awarded two bronze stars. He also was up for a Silver Star before accusations from SEALs in his platoon emerged during the court-martial.

Three SEAL officers who served with Gallagher during the 2017 deployment also will be reviewed: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Gallagher’s troop commander; Lt. Jacob Portier, the officer in charge; and Lt. Thomas MacNeil, the assistant officer in charge.

Since 2011, 154 SEAL Trident pins have been revoked.

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Newsom huffs and puffs, like the big bad wolf: Dan Walters

Remember the children’s fable about the wolf who was attempting to capture and consume the three little pigs?

If a pig refused to admit him or come out of its house, the wolf threatened: “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration that the state will stop buying vehicles from automakers that oppose its mileage and tailpipe emission rules is just such huffing and puffing.

While several car companies agreed to California’s demands, others refused and continued to support the Trump administration efforts to weaken Obama-era mileage and emission standards.

The ban on purchases from the recalcitrant firms — General Motors and Toyota, most prominently — is part of a broader decree that the state will stop buying gasoline-powered sedans altogether, except for those used by emergency service agencies such as the Highway Patrol.

“The state is finally making the smart move away from internal combustion engine sedans,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement to CalMatters. “Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” Newsom added.

California’s buying power? It’s pretty puny, when one looks at the numbers.

Californians, including governmental agencies, are on track to buy 1.9 million new light vehicles this year, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. About 800,000 will be passenger vehicles, sedans mostly, and the remainder pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The state purchased 2,672 passenger vehicles in 2018, with Chevrolets from General Motors about 1,000 of those. Those cars amounted to $27 million in sales, not even a flea bite for a corporation that makes and sells about 3 million vehicles a year worldwide.

The state’s purchases from other holdout companies, such as Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, are minuscule.

“In court, and in the marketplace, California is standing up to those who put short-term profits ahead of our health and our future,” Newsom puffed. But in reality, it’s nothing more than a symbolic gesture, on a par with Jerry Brown’s infamous ban on providing plastic briefcases to state bureaucrats when he became governor in 1975.

As trivial as it might be, however, Newsom’s attempt to blacklist General Motors, et al, carries a deeper implication. It’s using governmental power to punish or coerce companies for taking political positions that don’t happen to square with the governor’s.

Reasonable people can disagree on what the precise emission and mileage standards for automobiles should be. GM and other holdouts contend that the rules they reluctantly agreed to follow during the Obama administration are unworkable, and they are seeking a relatively small change.

This is all about political positioning, rather than the issue itself.

Trump takes every opportunity to ding California, particularly by portraying the state as an example of left-wing mismanagement that Democrats would impose on the rest of the nation, with emission rules one example.

Newsom, meanwhile, fancies himself a national leader of the “resistance” and wants to advance that image by any available means. The state has filed more than 60 lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Ironically, however, Newsom’s punishing of GM and the other firms for disagreeing with him on emission rules, however weakly, is fundamentally no different from what Democratic members of Congress accuse Trump of doing in their impeachment drive — using one’s official position for rankly political purposes.

CalMatters is a public-interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

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Chargers’ defense holds as offense squanders comeback opportunity vs. Chiefs

MEXICO CITY — Joey Bosa has played at an All-Pro level for most of the season, doing everything he can to give his offense an opportunity to rally late in games.

The Chargers’ defensive end didn’t have a game-wrecking performance Monday night, but he didn’t have to do it all alone. The Chargers’ defense contained the Kansas City Chiefs’ high-octane offense at Estadio Azteca.

Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes was held to 182 passing yards, his lowest output in a game he finished this season. The Chiefs were shut out in the first quarter and forced to punt four times in the fourth quarter.

But that wasn’t enough. Bosa and the defense were once again on the sidelines with the game on the line.

The AFC West matchup ended after quarterback Philip Rivers threw his fourth interception of the night in the end zone with 18 seconds left in regulation as the Chiefs sealed the 24-17 victory.

For the sixth time this season, the Chargers’ defense gave the offense an opportunity to tie the score or take the lead in the final minutes. Each time Rivers and Co. couldn’t complete the comeback.

“I was literally so not even focused on anything but us (the defense),” Bosa said about watching the Chargers’ final drive unfold Monday. “So I didn’t know the time. I was just focused on playing. I try to control what I can control and I try to let everything else play out.”

It hasn’t played out in favor of the Chargers (4-7) this season. They’ve lost all seven of their games by one score, with four ending on Rivers interceptions. Rivers has seven interceptions in the past two games and 14 this season, the second-worst in the NFL behind Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston with 18.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was asked about a potential quarterback change after the bye week.

“I’m not going to entertain that right now,” Lynn said Tuesday. “I’m going to evaluate everything, and right now Philip Rivers is our starting quarterback. But I’m not going to single one position out. I’m looking at everybody. We’re 4-7. Everybody can be doing something better.”

In what has been a season-long theme, the Chargers played from behind for most of the second half against the Chiefs. But the defense gave Rivers and Co. plenty of opportunities to at least even the score.

The Chargers’ defense struggled in the third quarter when they allowed the Chiefs to score two touchdowns. Kansas City took a 24-9 lead after tight end Travis Kelce scored on a 23-yard pass with 4:56 left in the third quarter, but the Chiefs never scored again.

The Chargers trimmed the deficit to 24-17 after Keenan Allen found the end zone on a 7-yard pass from Rivers and tight end Hunter Henry caught a 2-point conversion pass. That’s when the Chargers forced the Chiefs to punt on their final four drives. Those four opportunities led to two punts and two interceptions for the Chargers.

“He made his throws,” Bosa said about Mahomes. “He hurt us with his arm. I just want to be perfect out there and it’s hard to do, especially against a player like that. I must have been back there 20 times today and didn’t get to him once. So it says a lot about him.”

Bosa only recorded two tackles, but it was a collective effort Monday night. Bosa carried the defense for the first part of the season, but the entire unit has played at a high level the past four games. They haven’t allowed 300 passing yards in a game since Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans, and that includes games against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes.

The Chargers’ defense could get safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips back on the field after the bye week, but it might be too late at 4-7. James (foot) and Phillips (forearm) are on injured reserve. Phillips was designated for return and came close to playing Monday night.

Lynn was asked if he’ll consider shutting down James for the season with the playoffs now a longshot.

“No, not at all,” Lynn said. “Why would we do that? If we got healthy players as good as (James), if he can play, he’s gonna play. … We’re not tanking, guys. We’re 4-7. Last time I checked we have five games left. We still have a chance at a winning record here, and maybe get some help. Who knows.”

The close losses could be mentally draining for the team. The Chargers will attempt to regroup during their bye week before resuming the schedule on Dec. 1 against the Denver Broncos.

“Eleven weeks without a bye, are you kidding me?” Bosa said. “It’s a long time. So, yeah, I’m ready for the rest. I need it mentally.”

SWEET HOMECOMING

Chargers cornerback Michael Davis wanted to do something special for his homecoming game at Estadio Azteca.

Davis, who’s half Mexican on his mother’s side, considered coming out of the tunnel with the Mexican flag. It was one of many options, but then the decision hit him naturally during the national anthems.

Davis put the left side of his right hand over his chest as the announced crowd of 76,252 sang along to the Mexican national anthem. Davis’ hand gesture was the proper way to salute the Mexican flag and it made him a fan-favorite among the Mexican crowd.

Pictures of Davis standing next to teammates Melvin Ingram and Desmond King as he saluted during the Mexican national anthem were popular on social media and it made Mexican media headlines.

“When she started (singing), I was like, ‘Wow. Yeah, I’ll just do that,’” Davis said about saluting. “That’s when it hit me hard like, ‘Wow. Everybody knows the national anthem of Mexico.’ So that’s what’s beautiful about it.”

Many were surprised to learn that Davis is half Mexican. His mother, Ana Martinez, lived in Mexico City before she moved to Southern California at age 30. She took Davis to Mexico City often as a child because she wanted him to learn about his Mexican heritage.

“I’ve been getting messages on Instagram,” Davis said, “people telling me, ‘Oh, yeah, Michael, I didn’t know you were Mexican. Now you’re my No. 1 guy.’”

Michael Davis salutes during the Mexican national anthem #Chargers https://t.co/wZ1IiyyHfO

— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) November 19, 2019

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San Clemente football removed from CIF-SS playoffs for violating two rules


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San Clemente was removed from the football playoffs by the CIF Southern Secton on Tuesday for violating two CIF State bylaws that have to do with player eligibility.

By violating the two rules, San Clemente had to forfeit its win in the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs last week against Rancho Verde, making the Tritons ineligible for the rest of the postseason.

The Tritons would have played Chaminade in the Division 2 semifinals on Friday at San Clemente High. Instead, Chaminade is ruled the winner by forfeit and will play in the championship game next week against the winner of the Rancho Cucamonga-Sierra Canyon semifinal.

CIF-SS assistant commissioner and spokesman Thom Simmons said San Clemente violated undue influence rules regarding pre-enrollment contact and athletically-motivated transfer.

San Clemente athletic director John Hamro said the school is appealing the CIF-SS decision.

San Clemente finished second to Mission Viejo in the South Coast League. Before the forfeit the Tritons were 10-2. Because the ineligible player participated in all of San Clemente’s games this season, the Tritons have forfeit all of their games.

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Collin Welp, Austin Johnson off to quick starts for UCI men’s basketball

UC Irvine is coming off its best season in men’s basketball, one that saw the Anteaters get their first NCAA Tournament victory in program history. Coach Russ Turner mostly likes what he sees through the first five games of this season.

If anything, turnovers are about the only negative. UCI had 22 of them Monday and lost 69-53 at No. 23-ranked Colorado.

“We turned the ball over too much to win last night,” Turner said Tuesday morning, as his team made its way back home. “A lot of the credit for that goes to Colorado, I think. I have been a little disappointed that we haven’t handled the ball with better security in the two games we’ve lost because down the stretch against Pepperdine we had a ball-handling problem, too.

“But I think that we’re going to be better because of that.”

The Anteaters are 3-2 with victories over San Diego (76-73), Life Pacific (98-52) and Boise State (69-60). The other loss was to Pepperdine (77-73).

Collin Welp becoming a big deal

Red-shirt sophomore forward Collin Welp is really coming into his own. After sitting out the 2017-18 campaign, he began his career by averaging 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds this past season.

This season he’s off to a very fast start. He’s averaging 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds – second on the team in both categories. There’s more. He’s also shooting 81.3% (13 of 16) from the free-throw line, 50% (21 of 42) from the field and 41.7% (5 of 12) from 3-point range.

He’s doing all this averaging 22 minutes.

Turner can’t say enough about him.

“Collin is just an exceptional talent,” he said. “There is not a limit to how good he can be within our league. He’s really impressed me with his rebounding to this point and we know we’ve got a guy who can create shots for us – both his own shots, and who can create shots for others with his passing.”

When Welp’s free-throw marksmanship was mentioned, Turner expounded.

“He not only makes free throws, but he makes 3s,” he said of the 6-foot-9, 215-pound Welp. “He’s got the whole offensive package.”

True freshmen

Turner has three true freshmen that he really likes – forward Austin Johnson and guards Jeron Artest and Isaiah Lee. Johnson, in particular, has gotten off quickly. He’s averaging 5.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and has a team-high 10 blocks while averaging 16 minutes.

“Yeah, it’s been really impressive what he’s done, how much better he’s gotten in the short time he’s been here,” Turner said. “And last night (at Colorado), he was dominant as a defender and rebounder in a high-level game as a true freshman, so it’s hard not to be really excited about that.”

Johnson, who is 6-9, had nine rebounds and four blocks in 18 minutes at Colorado.

By coming back to Irvine, Turner said the team would do some school work and then hit the road for a game Thursday night at TCU. The Anteaters will then play two games in Las Vegas – Sunday against Detroit Mercy and next Tuesday against Louisana – before returning to take on Eastern Michigan on Nov. 30 at Bren Events Center.

This and that

Long Beach State guard Chance Hunter – a 6-6 sophomore transfer from Cerritos College – leads the Beach (1-3) in scoring at 14.5 points per game. He’s been very impressive from deep, shooting 66.7% from beyond the arc, making 8 of 12. … Senior Austen Awosika is off to a fine start for Cal State Fullerton (2-2). The 6-3 guard is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists – all team-highs. … Junior guard Terrell Gomez of CSUN (0-5) leads the Big West in scoring at 20.8 points per game. … UC Riverside (2-2) has the top two rebounders in 7-foot-1 sophomore center Callum McCrae and junior guard George Willborn III. Both are averaging 9.5.

 

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Theater review: ‘The Great Leap’ in Pasadena nets great returns

As “The Great Leap” opens, 17-year-old Manford (Justin Chien) is launching into a lively list about why he should play basketball for Coach Saul (James Eckhouse). If Manford’s hustle on the court is as good as his hustle here, he’ll be a huge asset to the team.

It is.

And if the acting is as good throughout this play as it is in this scene, we’re in for a huge treat.

It is.

Likewise above and beyond superb are the writing, designs and direction in this joint presentation by Pasadena Playhouse and East West Players of playwright Lauren Yee’s memorable story, given a richly visual, deeply felt production. Even those who don’t care for basketball or international affairs will care about these characters.

Coach Saul is about to take his team to Beijing. It’s June 1989. Saul is returning for a rematch. He had come to Beijing in 1971 to, supposedly, bring basketball to China. What it seems he brought was American behaviors on the basketball court.

  • From left, Justin Chien, Christine Lin, Grant Chang and James Eckhouse star in “The Great Leap” at Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

  • Justin Chien stars in “The Great Leap” at Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

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  • Christine Lin and Justin Chien star in “The Great Leap” at Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

  • James Eckhouse, left, and Justin Chien star in “The Great Leap” at Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

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In 1989, Saul has closely cropped grey hair and a dented spirit. But as the story goes back to 1971, he has a mop-top and struts brazenly in plaid bell-bottoms. What a mouth this guy has. He’s Bobby Knight on steroids but with racial bias added to his skills set.

In 1971 China, he’s paired with a straitlaced translator, Wen Chang (Grant Chang). Those attempts at literal translations are gently funny. Chang seems serious about his work, serious about his commitment to the Party. Or is he merely terrified for his life?

Saul wants Chang to coach the Beijing University team. “Of course I will comply,” says Chang flatly, suggesting robotic submission.

In 1989, Manford has a cousin, sort of. She’s Connie (Christine Lin), who plays a bit of hoops and mothers Manford, no more so than now, as today was his mother’s funeral. He describes his mother as a stranger from China. Apparently he has no father in his life.

After intermission, the team has landed in China, where Saul warns them to behave. Somehow, Manford missed this lecture. Chang now is indeed coaching and has a panoramic view of Tiananmen Square. Remember, it’s June 1989.

There’s political interference with the game, there’s a “will he play, won’t he play” subplot, and there’s of course the possibility that Manford will find his father, a moment that does not constitute the play’s climax, leaving a giant leap to be made.

BD Wong directs with visual acuity and elicits performances calibrated to balance between offensive stereotypes and ordinary folk doing ordinary things in extraordinary circumstances.

Lex Liang’s scenery and costumes add just enough to bring high style but unobtrusive simplicity to each scene, dramatically lit by Rebecca Bonebrake.

Sound design by Leon Rothenberg transports us into the arena through the chirps of athletic shoes against wooden floors, then flies us overseas during intermission with that awful constant whoosh of an airline cabin.

More fun during intermission: Hana S. Kim’s projection designs include that little onscreen map available during flights that includes the tiny airplane moving across the globe to show our location.

Audiences will probably see one twist coming but not the other. Let’s just reveal that two of the characters are blood relatives. One of them won’t admit it. Both actors’ faces are priceless — one filled with the hope of having a real kinship in his life, the other filled with sadness, shame and fear.

Who wins? The audience does, in this play that deals deeply with such basic human issues as the battle between survival and love, and the idea that one quiet man can overstep fear and change the world.

The play’s title of course refers to Mao’s Great Leap Forward: his plan for making China great again. It didn’t. The title could also refer to the arcing settings of the play, interconnectivity between characters, and the final shot at the buzzer.

But the best leap of this production is from intriguing idea to play, from history to page, from Yee’s mind to ours. Is it great?

It is.

Dany Margolies is a Los Angeles-based writer.

‘The Great Leap’

Rating: 4 stars

Where: Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

When: Through Dec. 1: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $29-$92, prices subject to change

Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including intermission

Suitability: Teens and adults for language and situations

Information: 626-355-7529, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

 

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