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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

KU signee Wilkes nervous observer

March 30, 2003

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— Omar Wilkes had a good seat Saturday at Arrowhead Pond for Kansas University's 78-75 NCAA West Regional final victory against Arizona.

While Wilkes was nine rows behind the Jayhawks' bench, the KU recruit would have rather been somewhere else.

"I get nervous," he said. "I don't like games where I have no influence. I like games where I have some say. I wish I was out there right now. I can't wait a year."

Wilkes won't have to wait much longer. The guard from Loyola High in Los Angeles will move to Lawrence in June. Until then, the son of former NBA player Jamaal Wilkes plans to lift weights three to four days a week with a personal trainer and play plenty of basketball.

"I need to build up more strength, more mass and improve in all facets," said Wilkes, a 6-foot-4, 183-pound senior who said he'd like to play at 195 pounds next season.

"My goal is to contribute as much as possible, whether it's scoring, passing or defense."

Wilkes picked Kansas over UCLA, Cal, Florida and Stanford.

He said he wasn't concerned about recent speculation that UCLA and North Carolina might pursue Kansas coach Roy Williams.

"KU is where he belongs, in my heart," Wilkes said, "and that's where I'm going."

Wilkes already looked the part of a KU player Saturday. He was greeted warmly by the families of Kansas players and coaches when he took his seat in Kansas University's cheering section.

"They're my extended family," he said. "I'll be with them for the next four years. That's a big reason why I chose Kansas. The whole environment is unrivaled, in my opinion."

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