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Big Additions for SDSU Basketball : Aztecs Sign Three Who Should Bolster Their Front Line

Times Staff Writer

Thursday was a big day for the San Diego State men’s basketball team.

SDSU announced the signing of three front-line players, including the first seven-footer to play for the Aztecs.

Darrell Fuller of Ontario High School in Ontario, Calif.--7-feet, 205 pounds--averaged 19 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots this season. His team went 10-11 overall and finished 7-7 in the strong Hacienda League. Fuller visited Wyoming and Oregon State before signing with SDSU.

“He has a chance to be a pretty good player when he is all grown up,” said Aztec Coach Smokey Gaines, who is coaching the West team in the Alhoa Classic in Honolulu this week. “Darrell has grown six inches in the last year-and-a-half and is still trying to fill into that new body of his. He may need a year or two to mature, but when he does, he could be a pretty good player.”

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The other big men who signed are 6-foot, 6-inch, 210-pound forward Kent Bryant of Holy Cross High in Flushing, New York, and Rodney Hawkins, a 6-foot, 8-inch, 205-pound forward from Colby Community College in Colby, Kan.

Bryant averaged 19.5 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists and was named to the 12-man All-New York City team.

“He can run, shoot and isn’t afraid to mix it up inside,” Gaines said. “He made the All-City team, and like they say, New York is a pretty big city.”

Hawkins averaged 14.6 points and 9 rebounds in his sophomore season at Colby. If Colby Community College sounds at all familiar, it is because that’s where Curtis Gates went to school. Gates signed with the Aztecs last year, but his academic record kept him from being admitted.

“Rodney (Hawkins) has good size,” Gaines said, “but the thing you notice about him is the number of ways he hurts people with his finesse. He has excellent quickness, good leaping ability and really good hands.”

After implementing the three-guard offense on numerous occasions last season, big is back at SDSU.

Chris Jeter and Barney Laffitte of Morse High have signed letters of intent to play for the University of Missouri, Tiger Coach Ron Davis announced Thursday.

Davis said a number of schools made offers to one or the other, but Missouri and Georgia were the only ones that wanted both.

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“That was important to them,” Davis said. “They wanted a chance to get out of California, but they wanted to go together., They like the Big 8, and Missouri is a team that needs them. They should fit in well.”

Davis said Jeter, 6-10, will play small forward for the Tigers, and Laffitte, 6-6, will play big guard. Jeter averaged 18.5 points and Laffitte 13.2 points for the Tigers, who finished second in the City Eastern League and lost in the second round of the San Diego Section 3-A playoffs.

The University of San Diego singed Dondi Bell, a 6-8, 200-pound forward from Crawford. Bell averaged 14.9 points and 14.9 rebounds and shot 49.3% from the floor.

“He’s a very fine athlete,” said USD Coach Hank Egan. “He’s a budding prospect with his best basketball ahead of him.”

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United States International University announced Thursday that three freshmen recruits from Texas and a junior college transfer had signed letters of intent to play basketball for the Gulls.

Leading the freshmen is Mike Heygood, a 6-7 all-league forward from Sante Fe (Tex.) High School. Heygood averaged 22.5 points and 8.2 rebounds last season. USIU also signed 6-8 forward London McWhorter and 6-11 center David McAfee. McWhorter averaged 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game at Clear Creek High School in League City, Tex. McAfee averaged 10.1 points and 9.2 rebounds a game for Alief Elsik High School in Houston.

Transfering to USIU as a junior will be Russ Heicke, a 6-4 swingman from Cerritos College, which has one of the state’s strongest community college programs. Heicke averaged 10.8 in both his seasons at Cerritos.


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