GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalaheo's Cheynne Lishman is the Mustangs' most experienced returnee. The team is No. 3 in the preseason top 10.
Coach Furtado likes No. 3 Kalaheo’s blend of players
There are teams with more shooters, more size, even more quickness.
There are few, however, that match Kalaheo's blend of parts. That doesn't quite make this squad an orange smoothie for coach Chico Furtado, but he has reason to be optimistic.
Kalaheo, which won its Pete Smith Classic title recently, was voted No. 3 by coaches and media in the Star-Bulletin Boys Basketball Preseason Top 10.
That's a high-end expectation for a team that lost four starters: Tyler Caswell, Cliffton Pires, Chase Moses and Koa Siliga. Then again, no team has a returning go-to scorer quite like Cheynne Lishman. The sharp-shooting 6-foot-2 senior has the purest of jump shots and has expanded his game.
"The only key returnee with quality game experience is Cheynne," Furtado said. "He will have to carry us a little as our other players gain court experience."
2006-07 record: 25-10 (12-3 OIA Red).
On paper: Point guard Taylor Jay (5-7) is a vital cog for the Mustangs. Up front, returnees Alika Kaanapu (6-4) and D.J. Chang (6-1) fill the gap left by Caswell. Newcomer Aaron Fernandez (6-2) could contribute as a sophomore.
Key players on the wing include Richard Preza-Haynes (5-10), Christian Kepa (6-2), Bruce Andrews (6-0), Cody vonAppen (5-11), Matt Gasparine (6-1) and Keano Bruhn (5-11).
"We hope our depth will be part of our strength," Furtado said.
The skinny: Lishman helps steer the ship for the Mustangs. He scored 32 in a 72-53 win over Campbell on Friday.
"He's learning to be a leader and is truly a basketball junkie," Furtado said.
Jay may be the most unassuming, but valuable piece not just to Kalaheo, but to any team statewide. His ball-handling skills -- rarely flashy, but consistent -- were a primary reason why Kalaheo edged Kamehameha for the Pete Smith Classic title.
Fernandez is another 3-point shooter.
"He needs to continue to get comfortable at the varsity level and he should be fine," Furtado said.
"All our post players lack game experience. They will definitely grow up this preseason," Furtado said. The Mustangs will get back on the court against Aiea on Friday before facing national power Montrose Christian (Md.) in the Iolani Classic next week.
Depth and athleticism are reasons why the Mustangs may gallop more this winter.
"I feel we are fairly athletic and hope to play more up tempo this year. We have several players that are interchangeable and we don't lose much going 9-10 deep with the exception of Cheynne. Only time will tell," Furtado said.
X factor: Without Lishman, this team would lose an instant scorer. Without Jay, however, the Mustangs could falter against full-court pressure.
Top 10 countdown
With boys high school basketball season approaching, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason Top 10, as determined in a poll of coaches and media members:
5. Saint Louis