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With stars gone, this Falcons duo can soar to new heights

With college-bound stars Chris Howell and Nick Herrmann carrying the load and grabbing the headlines, Otto Landrum and Logan Huston “flew under the radar” on Torrey Pines’ 30-1 San Diego Section Open Division champion boys basketball team last season.

Howell is now at Saint Mary’s and Herrmann is at Cal State Northridge.

So the burden of leadership, scoring, passing and rebounding fall to the 6-foot-9 Landrum and Huston, who moves into the point guard role.

“I like winning, so I don’t expect anything less from Torrey Pines,” said Landrum, who has signed to play next season at Boston University.

“Logan and I are ready to step in and lead this team.”

So far, so good. Huston scored 19 points with five assists in the Falcons’ season-opening win over Rancho Buena Vista, and Landrum exploded for 37 points in a weekend victory over Otay Ranch.

Landrum, who averaged 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds a game last season while earning second-team All-CIF honors, isn’t a typical, low-post, back-to-the-basket big man.

“Otto is a big guy with a huge motor,” said Torrey Pines coach John Olive. “He plays with sheer joy.

“He got some really big buckets for us. He rebounded well. And he covered a lot of ground defensively.”

Landrum grew up in Colorado Springs, a stone’s throw from the USA Basketball training site. He moved with his mother to the Torrey Pines area in time for his sophomore season.

“He was as raw as they get,” said Olive, a big man who played at Villanova and with the San Diego Clippers. “He had no clue, no footwork.

“But he had a desire to get better. He befriended Nick Herrmann and became a workout fanatic.”

Landrum said his landing at Torrey Pines was serendipitous.

“I didn’t start playing basketball until my freshman year in high school,” he said. “And I was pretty good. My mom was moving to San Diego, so I needed to find a school.

“I went to the USA Basketball training site and asked about schools in California. People said go play for Coach Olive.

“Honest, this is how it happened: My mom found a house and it happened to be in the Torrey Pines area. It was an extreme coincidence. But I’m so happy how it worked out.”

Huston was happy with his role last season when he’d come off the bench in relief of Howell or Herrmann and bring some energy.

He played in all 31 games, averaging 4.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

“Logan was our sixth man,” Olive said. “He’s a dynamic player. He has speed and tenacity. And he’s mature.”

He’s also being asked to play a different position this season, moving in for Howell to run the point.

“I was a spark plug last season, now I’m a leader,” Huston said. “I’d take one or two shots, defend like crazy and put us in a position to win when Chris and Nick came back on the floor.

“Now it’s my time to take over.”

Graduation took a bulk of Torrey Pines’ team, but Olive expects J.J. Bartelloni, 6-6 Eden Pinn, guard Alex Cabulio, sophomore Dylan Kail and Kyle Houston to step up. The addition of 6-5 Coronado transfer Zach Jackson will be huge.

So despite losing nine of 14 key players from last year’s team, Torrey Pines is ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll behind No. 1 St. Augustine and No. 2 San Marcos.

“Coach Olive has created a dynasty here,” Landrum said of a team that has won at least 20 games a season every year since 2005-06 and is 385-100 over the last 15 seasons.

“It’s crazy that a public school can be as consistently good as Torrey Pines. We have every intention of upholding the tradition this season.”

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Boys basketball

Players to watch

Name School Year Comments
Josue Amaya Valhalla Sr. 1st-team all-league.
Rami Angel Mission Bay Sr. Getting small-school offers.
Devon Arlington San Marcos Sr. 1st team All-CIF. Committed to Yale.
Jared Balaoing Scripps Ranch Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Jayden Barnet Hoover Sr. High-flying guard.
Vincent Burlucci La Costa Canyon Jr. 6-5, returning starter.
J.J. Bartelloni Torrey Pines Jr. Ready to step up.
Mateus Behrend Maranatha Christian Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Marc Begin La Jolla Country Day Sr. Getting small-college offers.
EliJah Black Mt. Miguel Sr. Drawing college interest.
Boston Bonifay Cathedral Catholic Sr. 6-8 big man must step up.
Mason Bowers Carlsbad Sr. Getting small-college offers.
Christian Brown La Costa Canyon Jr. 6-5 had breakout year as soph.
Brady Burman Pacific Ridge Sr. 2-time all-league. Headed to Sarah Lawrence.
Ben Camargo Oceanside Sr. Athletic guard.
Nicky Clotfelter Bishop’s Sr. 6-6 captain. Ready for a breakout season.
Jakari Cooper El Camino Sr. Plays great pressure defense.
Jordan Cooper Mission Bay Sr. Getting small-college offers.
Joe Angel Cruz Madison Fr. PG with a huge upside.
Euan Davis El Camino So. Was starting PG as freshman
Ian de la Rosa St. Augustine So. Already drawing college interest.
Jurian Dixon St. Augustine Jr. 1st team All-CIF player.
Tre Edmond Granite Hills Sr. Returning 1st-team all-leaguer.
Vinny Ferrelli Francis Parker Sr. Averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 assists.
Jesus Figueroa Bonita Vista Jr. Top player back from 17-7 team.
Miguel Figeroa San Ysidro Sr. College prospect. Averaged 18.1 points.
Shea Fiztgerald Cathedal Catholic Jr. PG must step up.
Martin Flores San Ysirdo Sr. All-CIF. Averaged 25.5 points.
Sebastian Flores Lincoln So. True PG. Quick.
Kevin Garcia Valley Center So. Saw big minutes as freshman.
Luke Gibson West Hills Jr. 3rd year on varsity.
Angelo Gil Mission Bay Jr. Getting big-time college offers
KJ Gonzalez Mater Dei Catholic Jr. Drawing college offers.
Kris Gonzalez Mater Dei Catholic Jr. Drawing college offers.
Marley Gonzalez Escondido Charter Sr. 1st-team all-leaguer with college offers.
Nico Gonzalez Southwest Sr. Returning starter.
Lucas Gordon San Marcos Sr. Drawing college offers.
Jake Hall Carlsbad Fr. Highly touted prospect.
Miles Harris San Diego Jr. Returning starter.
Ben Hilstock Vista Sr. 3-year starter.
Ubay Hussen Kearny Sr. Two-time all-leaguer.
Logan Huston Torrey Pines Sr. Role player steps into PG spot.
Owen Isachsen San Dieguito Academy Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Vishal Jayanthi Sage Creek Sr. 1st-team all-leaguer.
Ali Johnson Point Loma Sr. All-Eastern League returnee.
Marland Jorgensen Madison Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Kylin King Lincoln So Varsity player as a freshman.
Otto Landrum Torrey Pines Sr. Returning All-CIF. Signed with Boston U.
Carter Lankford Rancho Bernardo Sr. Academic colleges are on him.
Stevin Latimer Mission Vista Sr. Biggest player in the county at 6-11.
Jax Leatherwood Scripps Ranch Jr. 6-8 QB on football team.
Jaden LeBel Cathedral Catholic Sr. Top-flight college recruit.
Connor Little Coronado Jr. Returning guard.
Alexis Marmolejos Army-Navy Sr. Averaged 25.0 as a junior.
Cam Marshall Patrick Henry Sr. All-leaguer. Averaged 17 points.
David Mathews Mt. Miguel Sr. Drawing college interest.
Jaden Matuslem Mt. Carmel Sr. 1st-team all-league.
Max McCall San Marcos Sr. 1st-team all-league.
Camden McCormick Francis Parker Sr. Returning All-CIF player.
Sebastian Medina San Ysidro Sr. Averaged 19.2 points, 8.0 assists.
Chase Newman Ramona So. All-league player as a freshman.
Bona O’Quinn Helix Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Nick Payne Escondido Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Nico Peerenboom Del Norte Sr. Must help in move to Division I.
Patrick Perez Christian Jr. Returning starter.
Garrett Poleman Santa Fe Christian Sr. Starter on 20-4 team.
Max Raulston La Jolla Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Nolan Reuter Coronado Jr. Returning SG.
Lolo Rudolph St. Augustine So. Already drawing college interest.
Orion Samikoglu Francis Parker Sr. Averaged 8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds.
Josiah Scott Mar Vista Jr. League MVP. Averaged 17 points.
Vinnie Signorelli Victory Christian Sr. Signed with San Diego Christian.
Jesse Snider Rancho Buena Vista Sr. 6-5 1st-team all-leaguer.
Charlie Stallings Fallbrook Sr. Team’s top scorer and rebounder.
Jeffrey Temicho Mar Vista Jr. Averaged 15 points, 1st-team all-leaguer.
Tedrous Teshome Montgomery Sr. All-Mesa League selection.
Brandon Tully Monte Vista Sr. Grossmont Valley League MVP.
Jaylen White Mission Hills Sr. Averaged 9.0 last season.
Justin White Mission Hills Sr. All-leaguer. Averaged 11.5 points.
Elijah Williams Grossmont Sr. Returning all-leaguer.
Jack Williams Del Norte Sr. Will help in move to Division I.
Markees Williams Helix Sr. 1st-team all-leaguer.
Miguel Yniguez Canyon Crest Academy Sr. 6-5 returning all-leaguer.

Preseason top 10

1. St. Augustine 14-7 4 Consensus No. 1 among coaches polled.
2. San Marcos 25-2 3 Great player surrounded by a lot of really good players.
3. Torrey Pines 30-1 1 Defending Open Division champs have plenty left.
4. San Ysidro 24-7 NR Cougars are big, fast and can shoot it.
5. Mission Bay 17-10 10 Bucs are back after great summer.
6. Francis Parker 11-9 NR Lancers play fast and can shoot the ball.
7. La Costa Canyon 13-11 NR Pair of 6-5 studs lead the way.
8. Mater Dei Catholic 18-11 8 Gonzalez brothers are back.
9. Mission Hills 16-9 10 Talented and always well coached.
10. San Diego 16-4 Guinn, Wade and a whole lot more.

Others considered: Carlsbad (14-10), Cathedral Catholic (17-3), Del Norte (13-8), El Camino (24-6), La Jolla Country Day (13-10), Madison (19-8), Montgomery (7-9), Mt. Carmel (11-16), Ramona (16-10), Sage Creek (17-11), Santa Fe Christian (20-4)

Last year’s champions

Open Division: Torrey Pines

Division I: Mater Dei Catholic

Division II: Coronado

Division III: Sage Creek

Division IV: Maranatha Christian

Division V: Crawford

League predictions

Avocado: Canyon Crest Academy

Central: Madison

City: Hoover

North County Coastal: Torrey Pines

Coastal: Francis Parker

Eastern: Lincoln

Grossmont Hills: Helix

Grossmont Valley: Steele Canyon

Metro Mesa: San Ysidro

Pacific: Pacific Ridge

Palomar: San Marcos

South Bay: Mar Vista

Valley: Mt. Carmel

Western: St. Augustine

Milestones

San Marcos’ Dante Carey is 3 wins away from 300

Valhalla’s Keith Jackson is 16 wins away from 250

Sweetwater’s Jesse Aguirre is 17 wins away from 250

Cathedral Catholic’s Will Cunningham is 20 wins away from 250

Montgomery’s Ed Martin is 2 wins away from 200

Mission Bay’s Marshawn Cherry is 2 wins away from 100

Valley Center’s Jon Jones is 10 wins away from 100

Key tournaments

Jeff Armstrong Memorial

Nov. 17-Dec. 4 at West Hills

Key teams: Cathedral Catholic, Mater Dei Catholic, Torrey Pines, Grossmont.

Key games: Torrey Pines vs. Mater Dei Catholic, Nov. 30, 6 p.m.; Torrey Pines vs. Cathedral Catholic, Dec. 4, 6 p.m.

San Diego Tip-off Challenge

Nov. 18-20 at Montgomery HS

Key teams: Mission Bay, St. Augustine, San Ysidro, San Diego, Carlsbad, Sierra Canyon (No. 1 in nation)

Key games: St. Augustine vs. San Ysidro, 6 p.m. Nov. 18; San Ysidro vs. Sierra Canyon, 8 p.m. Nov. 19; Cathedral Catholic vs. San Ysidro, 6 p.m. Nov. 20; Sierra Canyon vs. St. Augustine, 8 p.m., Nov. 20.