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RECRUITING / JEFF FELLENZER

Pitino Gets Last Chance to Woo Recruit

April 08, 1993|JEFF FELLENZER

It may be a long way from Bourbon Street and the Final Four in New Orleans, but for Kentucky basketball Coach Rick Pitino, nothing will be more important on April 22 than a banquet in Lakewood.

Pitino is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Lakewood Artesia High's annual basketball awards presentation. Among the honored guests will be 6-foot-6 Charles O'Bannon, Artesia's All-American forward and a prime recruiting target of Kentucky.

Although the spring signing period for basketball players begins Wednesday, neither O'Bannon nor his heavily recruited teammate, 6-11 All-American center Avondre Jones, is expected to announce his college choice until a few days after the banquet. Thus, coaches from other schools that O'Bannon and Jones are considering also figure to be in the audience. For O'Bannon, that could mean Jim Harrick of UCLA, George Raveling of USC and Steve Fisher of Michigan. Along with UCLA, USC and Michigan, Jones' list also includes Arizona, Missouri and Louisiana State. The latter two schools entered the picture late, but each is hoping to see Jones on his final official campus recruiting visit.

Notes

The recruiting odyssey of Rialto Eisenhower standout defensive lineman Germaine Gray finally ended Thursday when Gray signed a letter of intent to attend USC. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Gray, who said he had been "leaning to Arizona State" after originally giving an unwritten commitment to Florida State, signed with the Trojans after deciding that he wanted to stay closer to home so his family could see him play. He also considered UCLA.

One of the country's outstanding forward prospects, 6-9 Jerald Honeycutt of Grambling, La., is scheduled to visit UCLA this weekend. However, Louisiana State is considered the heavy favorite for Honeycutt, who scored 14 points in the McDonald's East-West All-American game Sunday in Memphis, Tenn. Other schools recruiting Honeycutt include Tulane, Arkansas and Louisiana Tech.

The Bruins are still the top choice of 6-1 point guard Cameron Dollar of Frederick, Md. Dollar recently visited Miami and may take at least one more recruiting trip. He will play in tonight's McDonald's Capital Classic at the University of Maryland, which matches a team of Washington, D.C.-area all-stars against a U.S. team. . . . Jimmy Williamson, a slick 5-9 point guard from South Torrance, took an unofficial trip to USC last week. Williamson has made official visits to Fresno State and Loyola Marymount and is hoping to be offered trips to Michigan State and Miami. . . . The leading scorer in the Southern Section, 6-foot guard Michael Dean of Torrance, who averaged 33 points a game last season, has signed with Azusa Pacific, a National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics school. . . . Cal State Long Beach has received an unwritten commitment from 6-8 1/2, 225-pound forward Gerry Branner of Belleville (Ill.) Community College. Branner, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds a game last season, also visited Cal State Fullerton and South Florida.

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