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Archive for Thursday, November 11, 1999

STEVENSON SIGNS WITH KANSAS

November 11, 1999

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DeShawn Stevenson made his verbal commitment official Wednesday by signing a national letter-of-intent with Kansas.

DeShawn Stevenson wasn't nervous as three Fresno, Calif., TV stations filmed his college basketball letter-of-intent signing ceremony on Wednesday at Washington Union High School.

"I'm kind of used to having cameras on me," Stevenson said after making his Oct. 17 verbal commitment official by signing with Kansas.

Stevenson has been in the spotlight a while now. Last year, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 24.3 points and nine rebounds in leading Washington Union to a California state championship.

He's regarded as the top player in California this year and one of the top five high school players nationally.

"I am really excited about playing at Kansas," Stevenson said after signing in front of his mom, stepfather and high school teammates. "It's a great coach, program and tradition."

If truth be known, Stevenson merely re-enacted the signing of his letter-of-intent at Washington Union High.

"I don't think Neil (Dougherty, KU assistant) or coach Williams would have wanted me to bring the letter to work all day and school and lose it," Stevenson's mother, Genice Popps, said with a laugh. "He signed a copy. We signed the original at home.

"It's exciting. It's all done. Now he can look forward to getting ready to go to Kansas. It's the right place for him."

Stevenson picked KU over Fresno State, UCLA, UConn and Kentucky.

"I think it's great day for Washington Union basketball and DeShawn and kind of a relief to get it out of the way. We have a great shot at repeating (as state champs) which would put us in some elite company," Washington Union coach Larry Trigueiro said.

"He made a good, sound decision. The reaction in our community has been good. Letters to the editor in the Fresno Bee have supported him. Some say the biggest disappointment is having the best player in history leave the Valley. But the people are behind him 100 percent."

Now the question is ... will Stevenson qualify academically. Trigueiro says Stevenson has a solid 2.72 grade point average. Now he needs to score a 68 on the ACT. He has a 60.

"He'll make it," his mother said. "He sees tutors twice a week and will work hard to pass that test."

  • Recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons lists Stevenson his No. 4 player nationally. Gibbons' top three: Eddie Griffin, 6-8, Philadelphia (Seton Hall); Gerald Wallace, 6-7, Childersburg, Ala. (Alabama); Marcus Taylor, 6-3, Lansing, Mich. (Michigan State). Gibbons' No. 17-rated player, 6-8 Travon Bryant, hopes to pick a school by next Wednesday, the end of the early signing period. His finalists: KU, Kentucky, Missouri and Cal-Berkeley.

  • KU practice update: Luke Axtell (broken bone, left hand) is running through drills at practice, but still is unable to catch the ball with his left hand or dribble effectively, KU coach Roy Williams said Wednesday. Jeff Carey (ankle sprain) has returned to practice. Eric Chenowith, who was popped in the nose in Saturday's game against the California All-Stars, is OK. It's possible Axtell and Carey will play Saturday against the Geelong Supercats of Australia (7:05 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is gbedore@ljworld.com

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