Bubba Burrage will visit Indiana State this weekend. And barring unforeseen unpleasantness, the 6-foot-7 senior from Santa Clara High will sign a letter of intent to play basketball at the Terra Haute, Ind., school for the next four years.
"I'm pretty sure that's where I want to go," Burrage said. "It's basketball country. I'm really looking forward to the visit."
Burrage, who helped Santa Clara to the State Division IV championship this season, has been courted in recent weeks by Indiana State Coach Tates Locke, who was hired two months ago. Locke visited with Burrage on Wednesday.
"He's seen me play twice and seems to want me on his team," said Burrage, who added that Indiana State's deliberate, disciplined style is similar to that of Santa Clara under Coach Lou Cvijanovich.
Should Burrage sign with Indiana State, he will join a team that is rebuilding. The Sycamores were 4-24 overall and 0-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference last year despite the play of leading scorer Eddie Bird, a sophomore and the younger brother of Boston Celtic and former Indiana State star Larry Bird.
Locke, however, brings a legacy of success. He was an assistant under Bobby Knight at Indiana the past two seasons and has been head coach at Clemson, Miami (Ohio), Army and Jacksonville, compiling a 205-166 record.
Every college team Locke coached qualified for either the NCAA or NIT tournament. He also was head coach of the Buffalo Braves in the National Basketball Assn.
Burrage, who averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game this season, turned down offers from San Jose State and Brigham Young. He has also been recruited by San Diego State and Pepperdine.
The first day high school players could sign basketball letters of intent was Wednesday, but Burrage is the only player in the county close to signing.
Westlake center Kurt Schwan signed with Weber State during the early signing period in November and Newbury Park forward Wayne Cook, the county's leading scorer, signed with UCLA to play football.
Rio Mesa guard Lester Smith is being recruited by Westmont, an NAIA school, according to Rio Mesa Coach Steve Wolf.
Ventura swingman Nate Hantgin has been recruited by Yale, which does not offer athletic scholarships, and has applied for admission to the Ivy League school.
Smith and Hantgin--both of whom were Times' All-Ventura County second-team selections--are excellent students who have high scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.