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Loara’s Whitlock Signs to Play at Arizona State

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tes Whitlock, the Loara High School guard who led Orange County in scoring last season with a 33.5-point average, signed a letter of intent Friday to play basketball at Arizona State.

“I’m very excited. I didn’t know I was going to make the decision as soon as I did,” Whitlock said. “I think (ASU Coach) Bill Frieder knows how to bring people in and make them fit.”

Whitlock signed the letter in a brief ceremony at his home. George McQuarn, an assistant coach at Arizona State and former head coach at Cal State Fullerton, was present.

Whether Whitlock will be eligible to play next season depends on how he fares on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which he is scheduled to take May 1. Whitlock took the test once before, but he said he was 100 points shy of the minimum score of 700 required for freshman eligibility under NCAA rules.

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Whitlock also has had problems with “core” courses such as math, English, history and science. Under NCAA guidelines, college freshmen must meet certain criteria in that area to be able to play.

But Whitlock said he is taking night classes to help him with his core courses and is confident he will achieve the SAT minimum score in May. If he doesn’t, he said, he still wants to be committed to a Division I school, even if he can’t play next season.

Whitlock said he wasn’t interested in playing at the junior-college level while improving his academics.

“I’d rather sit the year out and get my academics together,” Whitlock said. “It was a decision that had to be made because the sooner I made it, the sooner that the coaches and the academic people at Arizona State could start being on my side and helping me. It would improve the chances of me playing in my first year.”

If he does not meet the SAT standard, Whitlock said he will apply for financial aid and attend Arizona State in the fall. If he maintains a 2.0 college grade-point average and passes entrance exams, he would become eligible to play the following season while losing a year of eligibility.

Whitlock, who scored 68 points against Saddleback last season to break the county’s 80-year-old single-game record, was also being recruited by Arizona, Cal State Long Beach, Utah and Oklahoma.

Whitlock joins former Los Alamitos standout Robert Conlisk, a 6-11 center, at Arizona State.


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