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Pepperdine's Givens Quits Basketball Team

THE INSIDE TRACK

June 23, 1998|ROB FERNAS

Omm'A Givens, a former high school All-American whose college career never lived up to expectations, has left the Pepperdine basketball team and will pass up his final season of eligibility, Coach Lorenzo Romar said Monday.

Romar said Givens will remain a student at Pepperdine and pursue a degree in communications.

"Omm'A decided to take a step back from basketball for a little while," Romar said. "He may try to play [professional basketball] overseas."

Givens, 6 feet 11, played in 19 games for Pepperdine last season, averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. He transferred from UCLA, where he was a reserve for two seasons despite being the most touted of a 1994 freshman class that included Toby Bailey, Kris Johnson and J.R. Henderson.

Givens was Pepperdine's starting center until he was suspended by Romar in January after punching and breaking the jaw of teammate Aaron Butler in practice. Givens was briefly reinstated before being suspended by the school for the rest of the season.

Romar said the incident contributed to Givens' decision not to return to the Waves.

Romar, who recruited Givens as a UCLA assistant coach under Jim Harrick, said, "I think it just took a lot out of him."

With Givens not returning, the leading candidate to start at center is Nick Sheppard, a 6-11 junior who sat out last season after transferring from Louisiana State.

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