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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Omar Wilkes Announces His Decision:  
It's Kansas--(Oct. 2, 2002)
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omarpencil.jpg (8873 bytes)Ok, so we broke our cardinal rule about not attending high school press conferences...just this once.   And for those of you who weren't there you can catch the highlights tonight on any one of several local television stations (Channel 2, 4, 9 and Fox were all there).   But enough of that.  Here's what happened:

At a press conference held today at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, Omar Wilkes (6'-3" Sr. G)  announced that he will attend the University of Kansas.   Actually Omar said, "I will be a Jayhawk."

When asked what in particular it was that Kansas brought to the table that the other schools recruiting him  (Cal and UCLA) didn't, Omar responded by saying, "They didn't bring anything in particular that the others didn't have in terms of basketball.  But I just fell in love with Kansas and it was a gut level decision.  Kansas felt right inside."

Asked what talents and skills he thought he brought to Kansas, Omar responded by saying simply, "Leadership."   He added, "And I just want to go there to help Kansas win a national championship.  I think they will win one this year for sure, but I want to help the Jayhawks win one the year after and then after that again."

Asked if David Padgett's decision influenced his, Omar at first joked, "Oh, where's David Padgett going?  Kansas?"  He then responded by saying, "I spoke to David last night and told him about my decision.   I had already made up my mind a long time ago.  Kansas just felt right and I loved it and all of the people I met there on my visit." 

Another reporter asked if Omar's parents had put any pressure on him to attend school locally, and Omar responded by saying, "Absolutely not, my parents are great and they let me make my decision and have been very supportive."

When asked if Omar would like to return to California to play, he said, "Of course I want to play in California. It's my home, but for the next four years, that decision is out of my hands, and I'll be playing wherever Kansas plays, but yes, I'd like to return here to play."

One of the local L.A. newspaper reporters asked Omar about UCLA, almost indirectly, by asking whether his older sister, who attends UCLA had tried to put any pressure on him to become a Bruin,  to which Omar responded with mock surprise, and then a smile, saying "My sister loves me....but from afar."    He then paused and said, "Seriously, she doesn't even know what my decision is, and I'm going to need to call her as soon as this conference is over."  

When asked again about how his parents felt about his decision, Omar's father, Jamal, a former UCLA and Laker legend, stood up from his seat next to the podium, and asked Omar if he wouldn't mind if he said a few words about Omar's college decision.  Jamal thanked the Loyola coaches and the school staff for accomodating the press conference (saying that it was no doubt an imposition because of other school functions also taking place later tonight), and then remarked that "We just felt that Coach Williams would do the best job of taking care of and watching out for Omar both on and off the court.  We felt that Coach Williams really will take an interest in Omar and see that he stays out of trouble and will watch over him at Kansas."

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We would have loved to see Omar stay local or at least in California, but you can't argue with the decision, unless of course you're either a Cal or UCLA fan.  But then, as we said, our predictions would absolutely, no way, no how, come true....So far we're batting 1.000.

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