Ollie Slam-Dunked by SAT Minimum : Basketball: Former North Hollywood star takes Division I skills to Santa Monica College after failing to score 700.


It was not supposed to end up this way for Damon Ollie.

North Hollywood High’s best player the past three seasons, the 6-foot-5 post player seemed headed to a Division I college basketball program.

George Washington wanted him, but instead of the nation’s capital, Ollie will be headed to Santa Monica College this fall. In four attempts, he failed to score 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the NCAA-required minimum to qualify for an athletic scholarship.

“I was very disappointed,” Ollie said. “But going to a (junior college) for two years and after that, you know, who knows?”


Before he starts his college career, Ollie will compete with some of Southern California’s top college freshmen-to-be when he plays in the Southern California Summer Showcase, an all-star exhibition at UC Irvine’s Bren Center today at 5:15 p.m. The game will precede an NBA rookies Summer Pro League all-star game scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

The high school game features 28 players from Southern California, including Jason Hartman of Thousand Oaks and Alex Lopez of Campbell Hall. Both are bound for Washington.

Ollie might not be headed to a four-year school but he belongs in the all-star game, according to North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller. Ollie, a Times All-Valley selection, averaged 20.1 points, 18 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots last season. The Huskies were 68-10 in Ollie’s three seasons.

“He was our captain, he was the glue that kept our team together, mentally and physically,” Miller said. “He was a very hard worker, never missed a practice and never missed a game.”

But no matter how many preparatory courses Ollie took, the SAT was one opponent he could not conquer. His highest score was 670.

“Every player that comes into my program sets goals in terms of education and college,” Miller said. “Damon worked hard in the classroom . . . but for whatever reason, it was just hard for him to pass.”


Ollie at first rejected the idea of attending a junior college but Miller coaxed him into realizing it was his only option.

“We talked about pros like Larry Johnson, guys who have gone to a JC and developed into good pros,” Miller said. “There is life after junior college. If he gets his two years of regular college classes out of the way, maybe he will be more sought after than he is now.”

Ollie has worked out with some of his Santa Monica teammates and seems to have accepted the challenge that awaits him.

“I get along with all the players, I like the campus,” Ollie said. “Everything is cool and I’m just ready to go.”