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Bulldogs favorites to top CCC
turlock boys2
Mitchell Pryschuk of Turlock gets up for a layup during a practice earlier during the week. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

This year's Turlock High varsity basketball roster might be the deepest one head coach Doug Cornfoot has ever had.

Despite the loss of two standout guards in Devan Bains and Demsen McFaddin, Cornfoot is optimistic about his talented and athletic team.

Will Helgin and Habib Velasquez are two of the most notable returners for Cornfoot and the Bulldogs this season along with seven players who are 6-foot-3 or taller so things don't look too bad for the 'Dogs—for now.

“Last year when we had to go deep into our bench. We were hurting a bit in size and athleticism and this year, even though we lost two key guards, I think we are much deeper,” said Cornfoot. “It might be one of the deepest teams I have ever had.”

Cornfoot also brings in this year's CCC Co-MVP for football in junior Danny Velasquez to the roster along with the 6-foot-1 250-pound CCC defensive player of the year, Mustafa Noel-Johnson.

The addition of athletes like these and the combination of Landon Curtis as well as Oscar Moreno, who will not be eligible till league starts, should add some great talent to Cornfoot's team.

“I really like the new guys from JV that we have seen here for us, they are solid. I mean real solid,” said Cornfoot, whose team finished atop the CCC last season with an 8-2 record.

Overall, the Bulldogs were 16-11 and won their first round playoff game in the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section tournament.

Turlock should still be the favorites for the year but their crosstown opponents in Pitman will also have something to say as they stunned Turlock last year in the finale, splitting the year's series at 1-1.

Turlock also has arguably one of the most challenging preseason schedules in league and coach Cornfoot is okay with that, having to face against Manteca, Sierra and national powerhouse Modesto Christian.

“We never shy away, they might beat us but we will go in and play as hard as we can,” said Cornfoot. “We will go out and get after it and try to improve every game."

The goal, of course, is to win league and have a successful postseason.

The task will still be a tough one to achieve with tight competition within the CCC. Turlock's two losses in league were by a combined four points.

“We want to challenge ourselves to get better and be ready for league,” Cornfoot added. “Preseason doesn't matter for the playoffs, league matters and that helps seed you in playoffs. If we survive our preseason and win league then I am confident we will be seeded high when it comes to that.”

The first game for the Bulldogs will be at home against Modesto at 5 p.m. today.