Talk about an up-Hill battle.
With any luck, Bryan Hill of Pepperdine played his last game at center for the Waves in the first round of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament Saturday, when he was matched against Brad "Big Continent" Millard of St. Mary's.
At 7 foot 3 and 345 pounds, Millard reportedly is the largest player in NCAA Division I basketball.
At 6-8, Hill played out of position this season because of Pepperdine's lack of height. He's expected to move back to power forward next season, when 6-10 UCLA transfer omm'A Givens will be eligible and 6-11 Atlanta prep star Cedric Suitt joins the team.
"I told Coach [Lorenzo Romar] I'm happy to give up playing center," said Hill, who scored 39 points in the Waves' 85-69 loss to eventual tournament champion St. Mary's. "I'm happy to pass it down to omm'A, so he can bang against guys like Millard.
"Playing center wore me down, but I knew I had to do it for the team."
One that got away: Pepperdine appeared to have completed its 1997 recruiting class last week when Romar received a commitment from Deaundra Tanner, a senior guard from Inglewood High.
But after telling Romar he was coming to Malibu following Inglewood's 66-46 loss to Villa Park in the Southern Section Division II-AA quarterfinals Friday night, Tanner had a change of heart after talking with his parents.
He plans to take recruiting trips to Oregon State, Oregon and Tulane before making his decision in April, when the signing period starts.
"I made a decision before I talked to my parents," Tanner said. "They were upset. They thought I made an emotional decision.
"I'm not saying I won't end up going to Pepperdine, but I have to take my trips and then make my decision."
The 6-3 Tanner, who has yet to score the required 820 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, averaged 24 points and seven assists and was named Bay League most valuable player.
On the "A" list: Pepperdine shortstop David Matranga is among the first 10 players invited to the Team USA summer camp in June, USA Baseball announced.
Matranga, a sophomore from Orange who is batting .355 with five home runs, was invited in a group that includes UCLA outfielder Eric Valent and USC catcher Eric Munson.