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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

News, Notes & Assorted Stuff: Catching
Up On The Last Month--(Aug. 27, 2002)

We've neglected to report some news and notes about players, both current and incoming college guys which has surfaced over the last month or so,   not because we didn't want to report it, but because we were simply too busy to sit back and sort it all out.  As a result, this is one gigantic article, with a lot of stuff in it, some new, and a lot of it old news, but for many it's a good place just to get caught up.  So, in the off-chance that you missed some of this stuff, here it is, all in one place.  

Late Signing: Westchester '02 player Ashanti Cook (6'-3" PG), originally signed with New Mexico, but got his release when Fran Fraschilla left town, and he promptly signed a scholarship agreement (not an NLI) with Georgetown, where he'll play with former Westchester teammate and 02 class member Brandon Bowman.

Player Stays:   Unlike the recent spate of transfers out of schools, it's nice to see one guy staying:  In another New Mexico item, Jamal Williams (6'-6" So. F) from Corona Centennial has opted to stay at New Mexico rather than transfer out after a series of meetings with Ritchie McKay and his staff after they took over at New Mexico.  For those who were at Dinos Trigonis' mid-summer tournament at Whittier HS, Jamal was working the door there while his "little" brother played inside, and Jamal told us that he's happy and looking forward to returning to Albuquerque this fall.

Player Goes: Oregon State starting point guard Joe See (5'-11" So. PG), long rumored to be transferring, finally made the move shortly after new head coach and former Arizona assistant coach Jay John  hit town.  See has now transferred to UC Santa Barbara.  He will have to sit this year but will be eligible to play in the 2003-04 season. See, who played high school ball at Concord De La Salle, played in all of Oregon State's games last season, averaging 6.1 points and 1.9 assists.  He will join an already loaded backcourt at UCSB, which has Jacoby Atako (6'-1" Jr. PG), BJ Ward (6'-1" Sr. PG), and a host of other big combo guards, not to mention incoming freshman Josh Davis (6'-5" Fr. PG/SG) whom Bob Williams has said he hopes to turn into a point guard next season.

Player Never Arrives:  And UTEP looks to be a program which is having some trauma lately.  First Silvey Dominguez, one of the hardest working assistants in all of college basketball, leaves after just one season (for Utah, which will have a tremendous freshman class this season), and then we hear reports that Keion Kindred (6'-3" PG), a '02 grad from Compton Dominguez, whose on-again-off-again recruiting with UTEP now looks to be definitely "off."  Newspaper reports in the last two days have confirmed what we'd heard earlier this summer, i.e., that Kindred would not honor his signed National Letter of Intent, but would instead enroll at Yavapai JC in Arizona to play one year and reopen his recruiting.   Those who have followed Keion's recruitment by UTEP will recall that last fall, Keion reportedly gave a verbal commitment, only to be told that his mother wouldn't sign the National Letter at that time because she was convinced Keion could do better.  Ultimately in the spring, he (and his mother too) became persauded that UTEP was the right place, and he signed the NLI, along with fellow '02 St. John Bosco grad Giovanni St. Amant (6'-2" G), who is still headed to UTEP.  

No Prep....Miami Instead:  Another player who had considered attending prep school but who will instead be playing in the Big East at Miami, is Gary Hamilton (6'-9" F) who played at Dorsey, and who was also in Milwaukee for part of last year.  Gary signed a national letter of intent last spring to attend Texas A&M, Prairie View.  However, due to several disagreements with the coaching staff at Prairie View over the nature and extent of the scholarship he had been offered, Gary and his family asked for and obtained his full release.  In the event Hamilton had not been granted his release he was looking at two prep schools, either Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH), or New Hampton Academy.

Add Prep:   Hamilton's Rockfish teammate, Joel Smith (6'-5" F), who had been slated to graduate in the class of 2002, didn't graduate from Lompoc HS, but has instead reclassified and will attend Brewster Academy this fall as a junior.  Joel's recruiting has taken a major boost this summer with some tremendous play at the adidas Three Stripes Classic at Hofstra, as well as at the Big Time and the Best of Summer.

More Prep:   Smith will be joined at Brewster Academy by David Gale (6'-1" PG) from Sherman Oaks, who will enroll at Brewster to prep for a post-grad year.  Gale is being heavily recruited  by several Ivy League, Colonial and America East schools, and both Gale and Smith will be joined at Brewster by a solid group of players including guys Blake Schilb (6'-7" F) who played with Ft. Sooy this summer,  Tyler "Deon" James (6'-3" G) from Milwaukee, Norman Plummer (6'-7" F), a 5th year player who was ranked as the No. 3 player in Ohio, as well as Dominique Harrison (6'-4" Sr. G) also from Ohio, and Tom Novick (6'-6" F) who we are told is also an Ivy-caliber player from the South (can't remember what State he's from).  This past year, Coach Jason Smith had seven players sign with D-I schools this past spring, including Jamal Caterina (a former teammate of Nik Caner-Medley, who played on the Pump N Run team), who signed with American University in D.C., Luke Ruscoe who is now at Brown;  Damion Grant who singed with North Carolina;  Armond Gates who signed with Kent State (brother of Dennis Gates who is currently on the team at Cal),  Matt Foster who is at Louisana-Lafayette; and Rod Middleton who signed with Buffalo. 

Top National Prep Tournament This Fall in Delaware--War on the Shore:  And while we're on the subject of Brewster, they will be playing early this season at Bobby Jacobs' new tournament, the War on the Shore, in Milford, DE.  This tournament promises to be the best prep school tournament in the country and we'll be there to report on the games. It will feature some of the top prep school players in the country, including  Blair Academy with Charlie Villanueva and Luol Deng, Laurinberg Institute which will feature Boubacour Coly, Marion Pompey and Tyler Smith, Notre Dame Prep's Malick Badiane and Michael Ford,  Philadelphia Lutheran with Zakee Boyd, Our Savior New American with Komimba Diarra and Oumar Sylla as well as Juan Palacios, Winchendon School with Andres Sandoval, Elija Clark and Curtis Stinson, as well as Worcester Academy with one of the best backcourts in the country featuring Stevie Hailey and Dwight Brewington as well as Nick Stafford.

More Prep: Another SoCal guy who will be on the east coast again this fall will be Lawrence Carrier (6'-8 F), from San Bernardino, who has played with Kool Aid's "Inland" team every summer. Carrier will stay back east for his senior season (actually a 5th year) at Salisbury Prep in Connecticut.

Prep or JUCO?:  Class of '02 Crenshaw player Jamaal Walls (6'-8" PF) is trying to decide between attending prep school or JUCO.  According to Dinos Trigonis, on the JC side of things, he's looking at Indian Hills (IA), Iowa Western and College of Southern Nevada.  MCI is reportedly still interested in Walls. 

Undecided: Another player who could be headed to prep school this year is Jason McKinney (6'-0" PG) from Inglewood.  Russ Blake of writes that McKinney is looking at Hargrave Military as the primary school to continue his quest for a D-I college position.   Jason has not yet made any definitive plans though about which prep school he will actually attend. 

More Prep or JUCO? One other player still thinking about prep school is Frank Robinson (6'-4" G), who graduated from Sylmar this past June.  Frank was a full-qualifier out of high school, but despite his excellent athleticism, didn't receive any scholarship offers until this summer, when he was offered by San Jose State and also received some additional interest from Fresno State and Utah.  As a result, prior to playing this summer, he had already committed to attend LA City College, but he and coach Miller at LACC agreed that Frank would continue to play on the club travel circuit this summer as a post-grad player.  Frank made inquiries to several prep schools during the summer including Maine Central Institute,   Brewster, and Winchendon.   When last we spoke with Frank (about a week ago), he told us that he had been accepted at MCI and had also received a full financial aid package.  We've been invited to LACC this Sunday and we've been promised that there will be some very newsworthy goings on, so it looks like we'll find out then whether Frank will be a Cub or will attend prep school. 

Late college choice:  Grambling University of the SWAC, has picked up only its second ever white player: Tyler Kealey (5'-11" G) from Bell Jeff in Burbank, a 2002 grad, decided to attend Grambling after playing this summer with Pierce JC, the newly restored JUCO program in the San Fernando Valley which is being coached by Brad Wright and Ron Quarterman. Kealy was spotted by a Grambling grad at one of Pierce's summer games who suggested to his former high school coach, Eli Essa, that they send the Grambling coaches a tape.  The school had no more basketball scholarships to give, so Kealey will not be on a basketball grant-in-aid, but he has received what Grambling calls an "Ambassador's Scholarship" which will pick up his tuition and room and board.

College Commitments:   And in addition to late signings and transfers, or prep plans, commitments started coming fast and furious during August.  Some we've reported, some we haven't, so we'll just go with those we can now remember:   Marcus Slaughter (6'-8" Sr. F) from Riverside JW North HS has given a verbal commitment to San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher. And while we're thinking about San Diego, Jarrod Boswell (7'-0" Sr. C) from San Diego's El Capitan HS, has reportedly given a verbal commitment to play for Wyoming. Boswell averaged 20.4 points last season for the Vaqueros and was a second-team pick on the San Diego Union-Tribune's "All-CIF-San Diego Section" team.   There have been some wild rumors that Boswell has or will transfer to Montclair Prep for his senior season, but we suspect that's all they are, i.e., rumors, and that Jarrod will finish out his high school career in San Diego.

More Commits: Another San Diego product, Enrico Tucker (6'-0" Jr. G) has also reportedly given a verbal commitment to University of San Diego Coach Brad Holland.  According to a press release issued by Tucker's club coach, Ollie Goulston on behalf of Tucker, Coach Holland reportedly made a commitment to Tucker to not recruit any other point guards from the classes of 2002 or 2003.  Under NCAA regulations, Division I coaches are prohibited from commenting on a recruit unless and until the recruit signs a National Letter of Intent or a scholarship agreement.  The earliest that Tucker will be able to sign will be one year from this November, i.e., November 2003.   According to Dinos Trigonis another San Diego product who is friends with Tucker,  6’8” senior Alan Wiggins from San Diego Horizon is also being pursued by USD.

D-II Commit:    Another one we're stealing from Dinos is the news that Benas Veikalas (6'-3" G), a class of 2002 grad from San Diego Horizon HS, signed a scholarship agreement to attend D-II Metro State in Denver last month.   Metro State was the 2002 NCAA D-II National Champions and they are coached by Mike Dunlap, who has strong ties to Cal Lutheran and a whole host of coaching contacts here in the Southern California coaching fact if we started in with that one, it would make thje Kevin Baconthe Cal.

Big Get For Long Beach State:  This guy literally slipped under the radar, but Larry Reynolds and Long Beach State fans are going to be very, very happy when Louis Darby (6'-5" Fr. G/F) from Sylmar HS, finally becomes a full-qualifier in a year.  Darby, who graduated this spring, has enrolled at Long Beach State, and will be a partial qualifier, meaning that he will be eligible to practice with the team this season, but not compete, and then will have three more years of eligibility remaining during his undergraduate days at Long Beach State.   If he graduates in four years from the date of his enrollment, he can regain the "lost" year of eligibility, thereby playing for four years straight.

More Beach News:  Joining Darby at Long Beach State will be Darnell Thompson, who played at Riverside City College last eyar, according to coach Bob Russo of RCC. Thompson, a point guard, averaged 9.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game last season in leading RCC to the state tournament.  Thompson graduated from Rubidoux High before signing with Cal State San Bernardino (with current LBSU coach Larry Reynolds), where he redshirted a year before transferring to RCC.

More JUCO News:   And while we're on the subject of Riverside Community College, J.R. Reese (6'-1" Fr. PG) has decided to stay local.  The Corona Centennial '02 grad, will attend Riverside Community College rather than Irvine Valley College (which was erroneously reported a few weeks ago by the OC Register). 

Add Azusa Pacific: Reese's fellow Corona Centennial teammate Lance Soderberg (6'-8" F) also considered going to prep school but ultimately made the decision to stay close to home and has signed with NAIA power Azusa Pacific.

Another JUCO Commit:  This one was received last week....Kenny Penn (6'-5" F), a 2002 grad from Claremont HS, has decided to attend Lower Columbia University, a junior college in Washington about 45 minutes north of Portland. According to an e-mail we received from Kenny's mother,  it was a last minute decision for Kenny, so we don't really know much about what went into his decision, but in addition to some of the best fishing on the planet,  no another reason was that it's close to schools like Gonzaga, Washington State and Eastern Washington, so all of them can keep an eye on the developing and talented wing forward who played with Rockfish the past few years.

Central Valley News:    The move by Shantay Legans from Cal to Fresno State isn't the only news to hit Fresno.   Up in the Central Valley, Ja'Vance Coleman, a '02 graduate of Fresno Washington Union HS, will not enroll at the new Nevada JC, the College of Southern Nevada as was previously widely reported last spring.  Coleman had originally intended to play for Tark's, George Tarkanian at the new College of Southern Nevada, a JC located in Henderson, Nevada which will be playing its first full season this year. Coleman will instead enroll at Fresno State as a non-qualifier, meaning he will have to pay his own tuition this year and he will not be permitted to play or practice with the team.

NAIA News:  Vanguard University has signed three basketball players for this coming season.  Vanguard has picked up a commitment from Conrad Adamczak, a combo guard from Pacific Hills, played at Santa Monica City College last year after sitting out a year or two following Pacific Hills' run through the Southern Section several years ago.  Vanguard has also gotten James Hartman, a guard who played high school ball at San Clemente HS, and who was at Irvine Valley College thereafter.  Finally, Vanguard has also picked up transfer Kyle Egkan, a 6'-9" center from Villa Park HS who played last year at Pt. Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

High School....Grab A Transfer Ticket and Hold On:     At the high school level, transfers have always been rampant and they make for some interesting and entertaining news.   What most people don't realize though is that athletic transfers amount to less than 1/10th of 1% of the entire high school population which is encompassed by the Southern Section, which has more than 500 schools in it, and the more than 60 schools in the LA City Section.  So while this may sound like a lot of movement, it really is a miniscule portion of the more than 10,000 players at the high school level here in SoCal who don't transfer in any given year.  Still, Jack Pollon sent us a very interesting e-mail last Friday, dealing with a lot of transfer news in and around the San Fernando Valley and surrounding environs, and while most of the news is about players transferring from and to LA City Section schools, there's a smattering of stuff about CIF Southern Section transfers as well.  The first part of the story was picked up by the Daily News today, about the loss of a number of talented players by Birmingham HS.  In the past year, they've lost 10 players who have transferred out:  Loren Leath, Matt Cook and Levi Henry have all transferred to Cleveland;  Jordan Farmar, Stephon Tarvin and Matt Toma-Columbus transferred to Taft; Tray Duty, Ricky Johnson and Bileko Wissa all transferred to Canoga Park and Tennell Victor transferred to Stoneridge Prep.

Other transfers this summer include:  Mike Verrillo (from Calabasas to Westlake), Jon Cheatwood (also to Westlake from Oaks Christian);   Rico Marshall and Julio Marshall (to Sylmar from Taft);  Brandon Robnett (from Campbell Hall to Alemany); Joey Street (from Burbank to Taft);  Vincent Alexander (to Dorsey from Cleveland);  Brent Myles (to Dorsey from Cleveland); Dawin Whiten (from Cerritos to Monroe, where he actually attended this past spring);  Alex Ingram (from Alemany to Chatsworth); Jeff Fahnbuelleh (from Palisades to Montclair Prep);   Jonathan Heard (from Manual Arts to Dorsey);  Jamaal Bell (from Manual Arts to Dorsey); Marquis Washington from Bishop Montgomery to Carson; Gabriel Pruitt (from Compton Centennial to Westchester); Jenero Jefferson (from Fairfax to Crossroads)....

.....And the beat goes on.....

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