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NOTEBOOK : Crenshaw's Kris Johnson Commits to UCLA


Only three basketball players from Crenshaw High School have ever received scholarships to play at UCLA--and two are from the same family.

Cougar forward Kris Johnson announced last week that he made a verbal commitment to attend UCLA in the fall of 1994. In 1973, his father, former NBA star Marques Johnson, was the Bruins' first recruit from Crenshaw.

Kris Johnson, a 6-foot-5 forward, averaged 22.6 points and 11 rebounds and led the Cougars to the State Division I championship. He was selected Player of the Year by the City Section 4-A and City Times.

According to his father, Johnson was not certain to attend UCLA despite the family connections to the program. Marques Johnson was also a radio commentator for UCLA games last season.

Johnson, 17, also considered Washington State, Arizona State, Arizona, Loyola Marymount, Ohio State and Louisville.

"We felt UCLA had the best blend of athletics and academics available to him," Marques Johnson said.

Although UCLA recruited several former Crenshaw stars, such as John Williams and Steve Thompson, they failed to lure them to Westwood. The only other Cougar basketball player to attend UCLA was Gary Maloncon, who graduated from Crenshaw in 1982.

"I don't know why they didn't recruit more (Crenshaw) kids," Crenshaw Coach Willie West said. "Maybe they weren't interested."


Waiting for the ink to dry: UCLA has created a logjam at shooting guard and small forward. If all the recruits honor their commitments, the Bruins' 1994 roster would include Johnson, 6-5 Toby Bailey of Loyola, 6-9 J.R. Henderson of Bakersfield East, and returning players 6-6 Charles O'Bannon, 6-6 Kevin Dempsey, and 6-4 Marquis Burns.

Bailey, who is concerned about his playing time, will have a home visit Thursday with Coach Jim Harrick. Bailey denied rumors that he may rescind his commitment.

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