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Simon Commits to Arizona : Basketball: Without visiting Tucson, he agrees to become third player from Mater Dei to join Wildcats.

September 24, 1993|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — Sight unseen, Mater Dei basketball standout Miles Simon made an oral commitment to Arizona.

Simon, the Southern Section Division I player of the year last season, phoned Lute Olson with his decision Wednesday night, although he has not visited the campus in Tucson. Simon, a senior, took only one recruiting trip, visiting Florida last week.

Olson visited Simon on Monday.

"I was very impressed with the way Coach Olson and (assistant) Jessie Evans presented their school," Simon said. "Some schools talked about their athletic programs, others talked about their academic programs. They talked about both. It's a great combination."

Simon, The Times Orange County player of the year, averaged 18 points per game in helping the Monarchs win the Southern Section Division I-AA championship. The Monarchs reached the Southern California Division I regional final, where they lost to Los Angeles Crenshaw.

Simon, a 6-foot-4 guard, becomes sixth player from that team to sign with a NCAA Division I school.

"That Miles could average 18 points on a team with five other Division I players is truly amazing," Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said.

Simon had planned trips to Syracuse and Arizona during the next couple weeks. He still plans to go to Tucson. He also had been considering Oklahoma State and USC.

The Trojans, though, dropped out of the picture when Glendora guard Cameron Murray committed to USC last week.

Simon had considered UCLA for a time, but said he lost interest after the Bruins seemed to back off.

"I think deep down, Miles liked UCLA," said Walt Simon, Miles' father, "but they were so inconsistent in the way they recruited him."

Said Miles Simon: "They didn't talk to me at all during August. Then Coach (Jim) Harrick called out of the blue in September."

Simon will be the third Mater Dei graduate to play at Arizona. Guards Reggie Geary, a sophomore, and Dylan Rigdon, a senior who transferred from UC Irvine, are the others.

It was Geary who helped sell the Wildcat program to Simon. The two were teammates at Mater Dei the 1991-92 season.

"Reggie had a lot of influence on me," Simon said. "I got a good idea about the Arizona program from him."

Simon is considered one of the top shooters in Southern California. He made 60% of his field goals and 41% of his three-point attempts. He averaged 14 points per game off the bench as a sophomore.

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