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Wilkes Chooses Kansas, Quinn Picks UCLA

October 03, 2002|Ben Bolch, Eric Stephens,Eric Sondheimer

Two of the most prominent basketball players in Southern California announced their college commitments as guard Omar Wilkes of L.A. Loyola chose Kansas and guard Noelle Quinn of Torrance Bishop Montgomery picked UCLA.

Wilkes also considered UCLA, where his father, Jamaal, was a member of two national championship teams in the early 1970s, and California. Even though he was impressed with a late recruiting push by the Bruins, Wilkes said, he selected Kansas because he had developed "a great rapport with Coach [Roy] Williams and the players."

The 6-foot-4 standout was selected Southern Section Division I-A player of the year last season after averaging 22 points, six rebounds and six assists for the section champion Cubs.

Wilkes' close friend, Reno High center David Padgett, also committed to Kansas on Wednesday, though Wilkes said his decision wasn't predicated on Padgett's choice. "My decision was made before his," Wilkes said. "It's been a decision I've had in my heart for a while."

At his news conference on the Loyola campus, Wilkes donned a Kansas cap and unveiled a penciled sketch of himself in a Kansas uniform. The sketch was drawn by a janitor at Kansas and presented to Wilkes during Williams' home visit.

Wilkes said he would bring leadership to the Jayhawk program. "I will go in there and work my butt off from Day 1," he said, "do whatever I can to get Coach Williams the national title, if they don't get it this year."

Quinn is a prep All-American in basketball and volleyball. The 6-foot guard has led the Knights to three consecutive state Division III basketball championships. She averaged 21.8 points last season and is a straight-A student.

The Bruins also received a commitment from Amanda Livingston of Fullerton Troy, an All-Orange County selection by The Times last season. The 6-1 forward averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds. She helped Troy to a 29-4 record and the Southern Section Division II-A final.

Santa Ana Mater Dei guard Wesley Washington, a member of The Times' All-Star team and player of the year in Orange County, will not sign early with California and is reassessing his college options.

The 6-3 shooting guard, who committed to California last April, remains interested in playing for the Bears but is considering other opportunities in case he is unable to meet California's academic standards, Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said.

All-City receiver Mark Bradford of L.A. Fremont is taking a recruiting visit to LSU in November. He also has scheduled a visit to Oregon in January and is considering USC and UCLA.

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