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BASKETBALL : Loyola High's Bailey Plans to Become a Bruin in '94

July 04, 1993|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After being heavily criticized for his recruiting efforts last season, UCLA Coach Jim Harrick already has a jump on the competition.

Toby Bailey of Loyola, a 6-foot-6 swingman, met Thursday afternoon with Harrick and gave an unwritten commitment to enter UCLA as a freshman in 1994. Bailey, who will begin his senior season at Loyola this fall, is considered one of the nations's top 20 prospects by several scouting publications.

Neither Harrick nor his coaches could comment about Bailey's oral commitment. NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting about players before receiving their letters of intent.

Last season, Bailey averaged 25.5 points at Loyola. Cal-Hi Sports Magazine selected him as one of the top 15 juniors in the state; he has also been named to The Times' Central City all-star team three times.

Bailey has fulfilled the college entrance requirements to receive an athletic scholarship. He has a 3.0 grade average and scored 850 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

This is a recruiting coup for Harrick because college basketball coaches were not able to contact players until after midnight Wednesday. Bailey and his father frequently attend Bruin games and are longtime fans.

In addition to Bailey, UCLA is considered the front-runner to sign 6-5 guard Jelani Gardner of Bellflower St. John Bosco, 6-5 forward Miles Simon of Santa Ana Mater Dei and possibly 6-9 forward J. R. Henderson of Bakersfield East.

Rick Price, a 6-6 guard formerly of Long Beach St. Anthony, also is interested in UCLA and is a close friend of Bailey's.

Although UCLA signed Charles O'Bannon of Artesia and Cameron Dollar of Frederick, Md., in April, Harrick was criticized for not getting a player during last November's early signing period.

Harrick may have a problem this season finding enough scholarships to offer blue-chip prospects. According to assistant coach Lorenzo Romar, the Bruins have five scholarships available.

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Tournament madness: The area's top prospects will be headed to the Midwest this weekend for two of the most prestigious summer basketball camps.

The Converse ABCD Summer Jam 1993, run by basketball guru Sonny Vaccaro, began Saturday and runs through Thursday on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Among the players competing for a Los Angeles team will be Tremaine Fowlkes of Crenshaw, along with Gardner, Henderson and Price.

The Nike tournament runs Tuesday through Saturday at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Bailey, Tommie Davis of Fremont, Simon, Olujim Mann of Mater Dei and Cameron Murray of Glendora will be playing on the same team.

"I've been waiting for this all my life," Bailey said about the Nike tournament. "I want to prove myself against the nation's best."

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Soaring Eagles: The Verbum Dei High School basketball team is ready to return to the glory days of the '70s, when David Greenwood and Roy Hamilton ruled the courts.

The Eagles beat Mater Dei, 97-96, in overtime Saturday in the semifinals of the Mater Dei/Western High tournament. The Monarchs played without Mann.

Verbum Dei then defeated Pasadena, 102-94, Sunday in the championship finals at Anaheim Western.

"It's going to be a tremendous boost for the kids," Verbum Dei Coach Mike Kearney said. "We have played well in the past, but we have never won a quality tournament like this."

The Eagles return star guards Andre Miller and Jamal Cobbs. Miller was Most Valuable Player in the Santa Fe League and was a City Times second-team all-area selection.

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