NOTEBOOK / SEAN WATERS : Beverly Hills' Buffum to Walk-On at North Carolina State

Luke Buffum of Beverly Hills High has turned down basketball scholarship offers to pursue a childhood dream.

The 6-foot-7 center has decided to continue his career as a walk-on at North Carolina State.

"I always wanted to play in the (Atlantic Coast Conference) and the opportunity arose so I'm going to roll the dice and try it," Buffum said.

Buffum, The Times' 1993 Westside Player of the Year, had scholarship offers from Northern Arizona and Eastern Washington. Army and Navy also offered to appoint Buffum to their academies and Holy Cross offered financial aid.

Buffum lived in North Carolina from fifth grade through the first part of ninth grade before moving to Beverly Hills.

"I grew a lot as a basketball player in North Carolina," Buffum said. "Everyone wants to play for North Carolina, Duke, (North Carolina) State or Wake Forest. It's every kid's dream."

Buffum led the Normans with averages of 22 points and 8 1/2 rebounds. He was selected to The Times' Westside team for the second consecutive season and was named to the Southern Section Division II team.

North Carolina State Coach Les Robinson told Buffum he had a chance to earn a scholarship if he played well during the season.

"It's not a definite situation," Buffum said. "But he told me, 'We think you can help us out.' "


Adrian Klemm is bringing a smile to the face of the Santa Monica High basketball coach.

It just happens that the Mariner coach is Leo Klemm, Adrian's father.

Klemm, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, has been impressive at summer league games, displaying a good outside shot and the ability to play tough inside.

Klemm is not limited to playing basketball. A two-way starting lineman on the football team, Klemm has drawn attention from Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Cal, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. Klemm is likely to play defensive end in college.

"The footwork he has learned in basketball makes him pretty tough" in football, Leo said.

Although several of his players have gone on to play at four-year colleges, Leo will be experiencing the recruiting scene for the first time as a father. Does it matter if his son gets a football scholarship instead of basketball?

"I think it's fine," Leo said. "Whatever works out for him. I'm trying to be patient about it. But like I told my past players, you still have to prove yourself on the court or the field."


Westchester Coach Ed Azzam may play down the importance of summer league games, but his team's victory in the Fairfax tournament Sunday was certainly a morale boost.

The Comets rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter and beat Compton Dominguez, 78-75, in overtime. Jason Hart had 17 points to lead the Comets, who lost to Dominguez in the Watts Summer Games and Artesia tournament.

Danny Walker, The Times' 1994 Westside boys' basketball Player of the Year, was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Ben Sanders, the Comets' other standout guard, injured his left foot in the championship game and has not played at the Nike Slam-N-Jam National Invitational Tournament this week. He is expected to be out two more weeks.

"I bruised the top of my foot," Sanders said. "I think I came down on someone's foot. It feels really tender."

In the third place game, Fairfax beat Artesia, 53-52. Point guard Duane Davis scored 21 points to lead the Lions. Davis was selected one of the top 15 players in the recent West Coast All-Star Camp at Cal State Dominguez Hills.


One of the area's top returning basketball players, Lamar Tillman of Palisades, will return to action Friday after recovering from a knee injury.

Tillman injured his left knee June 18 against Rancho Cucamonga during the Watts Summer Games. The 6-4 senior forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament while blocking a shot.

Tillman averaged 15 points and eight rebounds last season.

Palisades will play Inglewood in the final of the Culver City Summer League at 5 p.m. Friday.


Correction: In the July 14 Westside edition, the photograph of the Westchester basketball player on his heels making a pass was point guard Jason Hart.

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