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Gary Whitaker, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, is one of seven players returning for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team.

Gary Whitaker, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, is one of seven players returning for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Gary Whitaker, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, is one of seven players returning for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team.

Gary Whitaker, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, is one of seven players returning for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

DaShawn Johnson, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, is one of four returning starters for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team.

DaShawn Johnson, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, is one of four returning starters for Okinawa's Kubasaki Dragons boys basketball team. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Class AASouth KoreaSeoul American FalconsYongsan Garrison, South Korea2008-09—41-11, 16-0 Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I (champion), third in 2008-09 Far East Class AA Tournament.Coach—Steve Boyd, eighth season.Key returners—Deion Craig, So., F; Daryl Craig, Jr., F; Antoine Daniels, So., PG-SG; Eric Williams, Sr., SG; Adrian Thomas, Jr., PG.Key newcomers—Carl Lidstrom, Sr., F; Michael Lycan, Sr., F; Michael Rivera, So., F; Abe Nelson, Sr., G; Malcom Home, Sr.Outlook—Reloading. Perennial KAIAC and Class AA title contender lost an extremely experienced group from last season. This team has more of a learning curve than past groups, but will still be fast, quick, with an uptempo gameplan that stresses defense, teamwork and speed.OkinawaKadena PanthersKadena Air Base, Okinawa2008-09—31-14, 10-2 vs. Japanese high schools, 4-0 vs. Kubasaki in Okinawa Activities Council season series; sixth in Far East Class AA Tournament.Coach-Robert Bliss, seventh season.Key returners—Stanley Schrock, Sr., F; Kevin Paranal, Sr., F; Taiyo Robertson, Sr., G; Corey Hankerson, So., G; L.J. Hubbard, Sr., G.Key newcomers—Jeremy Howell, Sr., F; Jason Sumpter, Jr., F; Skylar Warren, Jr., F-G.Outlook—Contending, contending, contending. May be the most balanced team Bliss has ever had at Kadena, with Robertson and Hubbard bombing from deep, Sumpter and Howell pounding inside and Paranal’s and Schrock’s all-around play. Good bet for a deep Far East run.Kubasaki DragonsCamp Foster, Okinawa2008-09—12-22, 6-4 vs. Japanese high schools, 0-4 vs. Kadena in OAC season series.Coach-Jon Fick, fourth season.Key returners—Kai Yamaguchi, Jr., G; Dionte Waite, Sr., G-F; DaShawn Johnson, Sr., G; Michael Bowdry, Sr., G; Kentrell Key, Jr., F; Lee Taylor, Sr., G; Gary Whitaker, So., G-F.Key newcomers—A.J. Watson, So., F; B.J. Simmons, So., G; Ryan Jackson, So., G; Isaiah Harris, Sr., F; Richard Evans, Sr., G.Outlook—Reloading-contending. Not in the same class as Kadena’s loaded squad, but one of those now-and-later teams that possesses plenty of firepower to contend for a Class AA Final Four berth now and enough underclassmen to sustain it in future years.JapanZama American TrojansCamp Zama/Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Japan2008-09—16-12, 2-7 Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools (fifth), 6-6 Japan Basketball League (fourth), 9th in Far East tournament for second straight year.Coach-Tom Allensworth, 15th season.Key returners—Michael Jorgenson, So., C; Tevin Johnson, Sr., PF; Stephen Venzslauskas, Sr., SG; Jonathan Neyland, Jr., SF.Outlook—Rebuilding. "If we can play defense and can develop a point guard, we’ll be competitive," Allensworth said. "Lack of an experienced backcourt has hurt us so far."Yokota PanthersYokota Air Base, Japan2008-09—33-2, 12-0 Kanto (champion), 12-1 JBL (champion); Far East tournament runner-up.Coach—Paul Ettl, seventh season.Key returners-DeEric Harvin, Sr., G; Antony Phillips, Sr., C; Bradley Forbes, Sr., F.Key newcomers—Jordan Herrera, Jr.; Daniel Rendon, Jr.; Warren Manegan, So., G; Byron Wrenn, Jr., F.Outlook-Yokota considers itself "always contending, especially on our home court," Ettl said. Plenty of players familiar with Ettl’s system, but Panthers are sorely lacking in height, which might hurt come tournament time.Nile C. Kinnick Red DevilsYokosuka Naval Base, Japan2008-09—25-13, 7-4 Kanto (second), 9-4 JBL (second); 14th in Far East Class AA tournament.Coach—Michael Adair, third season.Key returners—Taylor Myers, Sr., F; Devin Lewis, Sr., G; Josh Adair, Jr., G-F; Steven Horton, Sr., PG-SG; Travis Smoak, Sr., SG-PG; David Deadmon, Sr., F-C; Michael O’Brien, Sr., SF-PF.Outlook—Reloading. Six of the Red Devils have played ball, gone to school and lived in the same neighborhoods since their kindergarten days. Not as much size as last year, but very Coachable, "something I’ve not had before," Adair said.Class ASouth Korea Osan American CougarsOsan Air Base, South Korea2008-09—12-11, 7-7 KAIAC Division I (fourth).Coach—Kevin Peterson, first season.Key returners—Billy Bortscheller, Jr., G; Dominic Olivero, Jr., F; Nathan Baldevia, Jr., G.Key newcomers—Josh Hanks, Jr., G-F; Dominique Williams, Jr., PG-SG; Jeff Tinsley, Jr., F.Outlook—The mother of all rebuilding jobs. Totally new team. Bortscheller lone returner from varsity that saw seven players graduate or transfer. Baldevia and Olivero played JV ball last season and saw some playing time in Far East tournament. "I like the attitude of this team," Peterson said.Daegu American WarriorsCamp George, South Korea2008-09—18-14, 8-5 KAIAC Division I (third); Far East tournament third place.Coach—Phillip Loyd, fourth season.Key returners—Khiry Loyd, Sr., PG; David Martinez, Sr., SG; Antoine "Flash" Feagin, Sr., G.Key newcomers—Chris Swain, Sr., G (transfer from Seoul American); Josh Gosserand, Sr., F; Tre Griffin, Jr., G; Darius Wyche, Jr., PG.Outlook-Contending, contending, contending. Perhaps the best ingredients in any Warriors team since the last Class A tournament title in 1990. "If the seniors produce at a high level, this will be one for the ages," Loyd says.JapanE.J. King CobrasSasebo Naval Base, Japan2008-09—11-16, 1-10 JBL (sixth); sixth in Far East Class A Tournament.Coach—Mike Milling, second season.Key returners—Ryan Wagner, So., G; R.J. Altares, Sr., G; Steven Cordero, Sr., G.Key newcomer—Christian Jarrard, Sr., G (transfer from Stuttgart, Germany).Outlook—Rebuilding, again. Milling lost all but three players due to graduations or transfers. "Looking for some good things" out of Jarrard, Milling said.Matthew C. Perry SamuraiMarine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan2008-09—9-18, 1-9 JBL (fifth).Coach-Chris Clark, second season.Key returners—Chase Dariso, So., G; John Ayers, Sr., F.Outlook—Reloading. Samurai return eight players from a season ago. Height is lacking, but "we plan to contend every night (and) be in the mix come Far East time," Clark said.Robert D. Edgren EaglesMisawa Air Base, Japan2008-09—18-12, 7-6 JBL (third).Coach—Mark H. Williams, first season.Key returners—John Benavidez, Sr., G; Jacob Sterry, So., F; Gerald Atkinson, Sr., F; Christian Weldon, Jr., C.Key newcomers—Jocquez Butler, Fr., G; Jack Koch, Jr.Outlook—Reloading-contending in Class A. Starting lineup features plenty of experience. Eagles’ title hopes should be bolstered by again playing on their home court.


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