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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Around The Big West: Larry Cunningham
Signs With UC Riverside--(Nov. 16, 2002)

A few schools who received signed letters of intent this past week have yet to issue press releases.  That's understandable, because it's a very busy time of year for most schools.  Among the colleges who received (or should have by now) signed NLI's that have not yet issued press releases are UC Riverside and the University of Utah.  The Utes received a signed letter from Mayfair's Justin Hawkins, while UC Riverside received one from Downey's Larry Cunningham.  No doubt the two schools will be issuing press releases shortly (Ross French, the SID at UCR is really very diligent, but the Highlanders may not have received the letter which would explain why no for the Utes, well, we just don't know).  But  the Long Beach Press Telegram this past week did acknowledge the two signings, with the following article from staff writers Louis Johnson and Matt Zimmerman:

Cunningham decision a 'big deal'
Signing day: Downey guard, several others, make their college choices official.
By Louis Johnson and Matt Zimmerman, Staff writers
With just a few strokes from a pen, Larry Cunningham accomplished something on Wednesday that no Downey High boys basketball player has done in 23 years.

"Yeah, this is real big for me,' the senior said after signing a national letter of intent with UC Riverside. "It's been a long time since this happened here, and I'm excited about that. This has always been a goal for me and now I'm getting a chance to live out my dream.'

Cunningham became the school's first basketball player to receive a full basketball scholarship since 1979, when CIF 3-A Player of the Year Mike Chavez inked with Cal.

Last season, the 6-foot-2 combo guard and second-team All-CIF DivisionI-AA performer averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game.

Vikings coach Larry Shelton, who was a sophomore at the school when Chavez was starring on the court, called a Cunningham's signing "a pretty big deal around here.'

"We don't get too many kids with his pure athleticism to come through here,' Shelton said of the soon-to-be three-year starter. "But we knew he was a special talent when he was young, and I think he's got an upside that is just limitless.'

Cunningham's explosive scoring abil ity caught the eye of scouts and college coaches alike during the summer evaluation period. He eventually chose UC Riverside after considering offers from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and Pacific.

Other area boys basketball players who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday included Carson forward Ekene Ibekwe (Maryland), Millikan swingman Marcus Dove (Oklahoma State) and Mayfair forward Justin Hawkins (Utah).

As noted above, Carson's Ekene Ibekwe (and Mater Dei's DJ Strawberry) signed with Maryland, and we've linked to the release in the PT article (which isn't in the original PT story).   Likewise, Oklahoma State issued a release, which can be reached at that link as well.

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