The New Southern California Basketball
SoCalHoops College Recruiting News Report

JC Signees: Harvey, Walls, Bell, 17,1998)

The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported today that Tony Harvey (6'-4" 210lb SG/SF), from Cerritos College, who was twice chosen the South Coast Conference's MVP, has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Utah.

Harvey is a former All-L.A. City 4-A football and basketball player at Carson High. He is currently the Cerritos career scoring record-holder, and this year he led the team with 23.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game as the Falcons advanced to the state quarterfinals. He also visited Tulane and drew interest from Oregon State (he turned down a visit this weekend) and from Kansas, Hawaii and UNLV.

Harvey chose Utah instead of Washington State, but said his decision was pretty hard: "There was a feeling of sadness," Harvey told the PT. "It was like having to pick a best friend. It was hard to turn down Washington State. I really like their coaches and they play in the Pac-10."

Harvey said he chose Utah because of Coach Rick Majerus' reputation for getting the most out of his players and with only two years left, he preferred not to be part of a rebuilding program.

"A lot of it was knowing Coach Majerus can bring out the best in you," said Harvey. He expects his defense, ball handling and lateral movement to improve significantly under Majerus. "He's not going to turn everybody into a superstar, but he can make you better. He can take somebody with C talent and help make them a B player."

Er, um, ok. Right Tony.

And earlier this week, Compton point guard Jaquay Walls (6'-2" So. PG) also signed with the University of Colorado. Walls helped the Tartars to their first state basketball championship in 25 years. Walls averaged 17.6 points, seven assists and four steals per game for Compton. He scored 12 points in the final two minutes of the state semifinals.

"Ever since I visited (in late March), I had this feeling about Colorado," Walls told the P-T. He also visited Minnesota and Hawaii, but turned them down. "I felt good about the coaches, the players, the environment. Plus it's a big-time conference."

Walls is from Brooklyn, and played with NC's Ed Cota during their summer traveling team days. He was pretty highly recruited in his senior year of high school, by schools such as Syracuse and Seton Hall, but he didn't qualify academically. He spent the last two years at Compton College and led them to a state JC title. Walls was being recruited again heavily after the State Tourney, and counted among those who were pursuing him schools such as Miami, Arizona, Long Beach State, Utah and Clemson. He reportedly cancelled a trip to the latter when Rick Barnes left to take the head coaching job at Texas.

The Press-Telegram also noted that at 165 pounds, Walls "thinks the only thing preventing him from joining New York schoolboy guards he once played against, Stephon Marbury and God Shamgod, in the NBA" is some work in the weightroom: "The only thing that held me back before was my size. If I get stronger, there's no way they'll be able to keep me out of the NBA. I'm trying to get up to 180-185 pounds and I'll be the same place as they are."

That may not be so far-fetched. Marbury is only 6'-2", while Shamgod is a mere 6'-0". God weighs only 169, while Marbury weighs in at 180.

Finally, the Press-Telegram reports that Larry Bell, a backcourt mate of Walls at Compton College, returned Wednesday night from a visit to UC Santa Barbara and new coach Bob Williams with a scholarship offer. Bell may visit Utah State this weekend.

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