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Leary's Loss Makes Titan Prospects Uncertain


FULLERTON — With guard Don Leary's academic ineligibility and subsequent disappearance, the 1993-94 Cal State Fullerton basketball roster will be about as recognizable as the sea of faces attending Coach Brad Holland's summer camp this week.

The departure of Leary, Fullerton's best outside shooter and only returning starter, leaves the Titans with only two returning players from last season's 15-12 team.

Furthermore, four of Fullerton's community college recruits must finish their associate of arts degrees this summer before they can be admitted to Fullerton.

Although Holland said he expects all four will complete the task, there is no telling what the first practice on Nov. 1 will bring.

"That's a huge turnover," Holland said. "We're talking about a completely different team.

"Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to replace Don Leary. He had a talent no one else in our program had."

He also has vanished. Although Holland had hoped that Leary would regain his eligibility by the second semester this winter, Holland said Tuesday that nobody on the Titan basketball staff has heard from him since early June.

"No one knows where he is," Holland said. "I hope his father can find him. We've tried to contact him a number of times, unsuccessfully. He hasn't tried to contact us.

"The opportunity was there for him to try and become eligible. It's a mystery to me as to why he chose to drop completely out of sight. . . .

"It was a real poor decision on his part. He had an opportunity to have a good senior year and to earn his college degree. He chose to give it up. For what, I'm not sure."

Leary, who transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College last year, led the Big West Conference with an average of 3.3 three-pointers per game and was third in three-point percentage at 44.3%. He set school records in three-pointers made, 89, and attempted, 201.

Leary had eight three-pointers--tying a school record--and 25 points during his best game, when the Titans were defeated, 90-82, at UCLA in December.

Now, Fullerton is left with forward-center Todd Satalowich and forward-guard Greg Vernon, both of whom played limited roles last season; guard James French, who redshirted last season, and eight newcomers.

Vernon and French will get a crack at the two guard slots, along with three or four of the newcomers.

The four community college players still on the bubble are Darren Little, a 6-foot-8 forward from Palomar College in San Diego; Jerome Washington, a 6-6 forward from Mid-Plains College in North Platte, Neb.; Danny Robinson, a 6-1 guard from Sheridan (Wyo.) College, and Winston Peterson, a 6-6 forward-center from Mt. San Jacinto.

Leary's departure is the latest piece of bad news to hit the Fullerton program. Last spring, the Titan staff learned it would be forced to cut $40,000 from its budget.

"We're going to work very hard to overcome it," Holland said. "We're going to go out and fund-raise.

"I don't anticipate it hurting our program."

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