El Camino Real Reinstates Orlando After 7-Game Suspension

Times Staff Writer

Senior guard Damon Orlando of El Camino Real High, suspended from the basketball team in December after shouting profanity at the coach, has been reinstated and will play in today's Valley League game at Hamilton.

Orlando, who averaged 12.6 points in the team's first five games, has missed El Camino Real's past seven games in the wake of a shouting incident in the North Hollywood tournament on Dec. 18. During the second quarter of the team's 68-40 loss to North Hollywood, Orlando reportedly directed a profane remark at Coach Mike McNulty.

"He's done everything we've asked of him during the suspension," assistant Jeff Davis said Thursday.

As part of an agreement with coaches, Orlando has attended all practices, working out apart from teammates. Orlando, a two-year starter, also has attended each game and improved his attendance at school. His reinstatement was conditional on meeting those requirements.

"We're satisfied that he's improved his attitude," Davis said. "Now he just has to keep it up and follow the team rules."

Davis said Orlando, 16, sometimes has trouble keeping composure on the court.

Since Orlando's suspension, El Camino has lost eight consecutive games. Forward Brent Lofton, who averages 22 points and 11 rebounds a game, has picked up some of the slack, but Davis concedes that the Conquistadores need more scoring punch.

"There was never any question that we need him," Davis said. "But he has to play by our rules."

El Camino (3-10) plays Hamilton at 4 p.m. today. The Conquistadores are 2-4 in league play.

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