One of the season's stranger eligibility cases is being played out--or sat out--at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where sophomore basketball player Victor Nomaaea is benched while he and school officials try to track down two phantom grades and two missing-in-action professors from this summer.
Nomaaea, a San Pedro High graduate of Samoan descent, spent the summer in Samoa playing for an American Samoa team that finished second in a 10-team Pacific Rim tournament. Nomaaea had an outstanding tournament, scoring 48 points in a game and 204 points in six games, both tournament records.
He thought he had a successful summer academically as well, having taken two classes at American Samoan University to get eight credits he needed, but he didn't stick around to get his grades.
When Dominguez Hills checked with the Samoan registrar, school officials were told that Nomaaea had received two failing marks.
Nomaaea said that he passed both courses, but when he tried to track down the teachers, they had left the island. Nomaaea's summer coaches are still trying to find the professors.
Meanwhile, with California Collegiate Athletic Assn. play starting this week, Nomaaea, who was expected to be the Toros' best offensive guard, is ineligible and is probably close to being redshirted.
According to Sue Carbery, Dominguez Hills athletic director, Nomaaea is trying to contact the teachers to see if he failed or if there was a mistake.
"He says he passed," she said. "The registrar says they're listed as F's and has sent no transcript. So I have nothing to show and he's ineligible. We wait on a day-to-day basis with not much happening. If it goes another week or two, I would imagine we'll probably redshirt him."
If he sits out the rest of the season Nomaaea will still have three years' eligibility. That may not be much comfort to Coach Dave Yanai, who is getting so little production from his backcourt that he is starting conference play with a four-forward lineup.
California Collegiate Athletic Assn. basketball will begin Thursday for both men and women, with two doubleheaders to open conference play--UC Riverside will play host to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo women and the Cal Poly Pomona men, and Chapman College in Orange will play host to the Cal State Los Angeles women and the Cal State Dominguez Hills men.
The other men's openers are Cal State Bakersfield at Cal Poly SLO, and Cal State Northridge at Cal State L.A. The other women's opener is Dominguez Hills at Pomona. Northridge has a bye because Bakersfield doesn't have a women's team.
Early favorites would appear to be Riverside, Bakersfield and SLO among the men, and perennial power Pomona for the women.
Riverside and SLO lead the men's teams with 10-3 records, followed by Bakersfield and Pomona at 9-4, Northridge at 7-5, Cal State L.A. at 3-3, Dominguez Hills at 5-8 and Chapman at 4-8.
Riverside's record may be the most impressive, having been built against several Division I teams. In a recent game, Riverside made 33 field goals and recorded 21 assists. Cal State L.A.'s record may be deceptive because the Eagles opened on the road against several Division I teams.
Guard Sam Veal again leads the conference with a 20-point scoring average, and center Tony Brown is the leading rebounder at 11.5 a game.
Northridge is perfect in home and away games, with all seven victories at Northridge and all five defeats on the road. Dominguez Hills has the league's second-best scorer in freshman forward Tony Akins from Pasadena Muir High. He is averaging 19.8. Northridge's Paul Drecksel is next at 17.1.
The Pomona women have an 11-3 record, better than Coach Darlene May had anticipated, since 11 of the opponents were Division I teams. The best record among women's teams is Riverside's 10-1. Northridge is 9-2, Chapman 9-4, SLO 8-4, Cal State L.A. 4-6 and Dominguez Hills 4-9. Riverside's only loss was to Northridge in a tournament.
Chapman's Leone Patterson, the returning CCAA player of the year, again leads in scoring with a 17.5 average. Pomona center Vickie Mitchell is next at 16.
The Pomona women tuned up for the conference by defeating Central Missouri, 84-83, in overtime Friday at Pomona in a rematch of last year's Division II championship game. Point guard Michelle McCoy made a shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Mitchell led the way with 28 points and 17 rebounds, and forward Debra Larsen had 20 points and 19 rebounds.
The Broncos have four players scoring in double figures, the best balance May can remember, and have an extra dimension now that McCoy, a transfer from UCLA, has been fully integrated into the offense. In an 83-71 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday May said McCoy "put on a clinic" with 24 points and 7 assists. Mitchell had 25 points and 8 rebounds.
Small College Notes Cal State Los Angeles broke Grand Canyon College's 11-game home winning streak with a 91-89 victory at Phoenix that featured guard Sam Veal's season-high 33 points and center Tony Brown's season-high 18 rebounds. . . . The Cal Poly Pomona men's basketball team is off to its best start in 19 years at 9-4, having already passed last season's total of seven victories. One improvement: The Broncos are shooting better than 50% from the field. Leading scorer Darron Suttle, who is averaging 15.5 points, is shooting 56%, and Gregg Brofer, who is averaging 14.8, is shooting 61%.