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February 15, 2013
Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) high school has sent many players to Division I programs throughout the years. The most notable Santa Margarita alum is former Washington State guard and current Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
But other than Thompson, players such as James Keefe (UCLA), Spencer Gloger(Princteon/UCLA) and Ryan Forehan-Kelly (California) have all moved on to solid careers at Pac-12 programs after prepping at Santa Margarita.
The next Eagles player who looks to be heading down the Santa Margarita Divison I pipeline is class of 2014 forward Joe Furstinger.
Furstinger is a 6-foot-8, 200 pound forward who is averaging 16.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game this season in what has been a down year for the Eagles as far as record goes.
Santa Margarita is 13-14 overall this season, with most of those losses coming in Trinity League play - the Eagles went 0-10 in one of the toughest leagues in California; a league that includes Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran and San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic.
GOAZCATS.com was in attendance Wednesday night for the Eagles CIF Southern Section Division 3AA first round game against Santa Ana (Calif.) Century. Santa Margarita was able to get its first win since Dec. 22 behind 18 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots from Furstinger.
While Furstinger might not be high on the recruiting radar, he presents an interesting dilemma for coaches who are looking for a solid all-around player who is well-coached and will stick around for four years.
After playing one year under legendary Orange County coach Jerry DeBusk, Furstinger now finds himself under the tutelage of Jeff Reinert. Reinert played at New Mexico and Gonzaga before becoming a coach. He has coached in some capacity at the collegiate level for 24 years.
Reinert's stops include a head coaching gig at Utah Valley and assistant positions at Fresno State, Oregon State, BYU and Nebraska. Reinert is the winningest coach in Utah Valley history with a record of 179-77.
The lengthy forward told GOAZCATS.com that he has three offers from smaller schools, including Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado, but that PAC-12 schools such as USC and Colorado have been taking interest as of late. He also said that as many as 30 schools, a combination of low, mid and high-majors, have inquired about him.
Furstinger looks as if he will be a polished prospect by the time his senior season rolls around. His combination of size, skill and athleticism will make him a prospect who can contribute immediately in 2014.
Strengths: The first thing you notice when you look at Furstinger is that he is a legitimate 6-foot-8, and is very lengthy with his 7-foot-4 wingspan. While possessing these attributes is one thing, Furstinger utilizes his height and length to his advantage.
The junior is a great rebounder both on the offensive and defensive end. He has a great feel for offensive rebounding position, and converts on put-backs multiple times throughout the game.
While Furstinger noted that he needs to work on his outside shooting, he can step out and hit the 15 to 17 foot jumper with consistency. Furstinger is a very skilled post scorer. He can finish with both hands in multiple ways with his back to the basket. He actively seeks deep and early post position, which leads to a lot of easy baskets in transition. Furstinger is a deceptively good athlete with a good motor.
Weaknesses: If Furstinger is to play the stretch-four position at the collegiate level, he will have to extend his range to the 3-point line. Furstinger also said that ball-handling has been an issue for him, and that he is tirelessly working to improve upon that aspect of the game. He will need to be able to put the ball on the floor and create to be successful at the next level.
At 6-foot-8 200 pounds, Furstinger has a good frame, but could still stand to add some muscle. The added weight would be crucial for Furstinger to be a good post defender and college-level rebounder.
Intangibles: It was touched on earlier, but cannot be overstated: Santa Margarita head coach Jeff Reniert has years of college coaching and playing experience, and described Furstinger as "a very special player." Furstinger has a great overall feel for the game, and doesn't have any glaring weaknesses in any one aspect.
GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst
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