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SIDELINES : Once Again, Ceballos Is Big Man on Campus at Ventura College

Compiled by STEVE HENSON

At first, only a handful of kids trickled out of the packed Ventura College bleachers. Then, when others realized what the first group was after, the avalanche was on.

Their target was standing against a wall near the Pirate bench.

That’s what happens when you are Laker forward Cedric Ceballos on a visit to your former stomping grounds.

Ceballos, who played for the Pirates in 1986-87 and 1987-88 and holds the school’s scoring record with 1,609 points, attended Ventura’s 122-76 victory over Canyons in a Western State Conference game Saturday night.

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It was the third time Ceballos, whose jersey has been retired by the school, has been to a Pirate game this season but the first at Ventura. And this time he was a busy man at halftime when he signed autographs until the game resumed.

“I knew he was coming,” said Philip Mathews, Ventura coach. “But that was strictly on his own. Ced is a people’s person.”

Turnabout is fair play: Derrick Clark’s decision last week to leave the Cal Lutheran men’s basketball team to play professionally in Australia has left the Kingsmen in the lurch, but they won’t be getting much sympathy from their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents.

First of all, Cal Lutheran has won or shared the last three SCIAC titles. Secondly, Australian players have contributed to much of that success.

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Simon O’Donnell averaged 15.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game during the 1991-92 season when the Kingsmen won their first SCIAC title.

Rupert Sapwell played at Cal Lutheran for three seasons and averaged 13.1 points and 7.0 rebounds a game last season, and Jason Smith averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman before returning home this year.

Well-kept secret: Although Clark’s decision caught his teammates and first-year Cal Lutheran Coach Rich Rider off guard, it was not a rash act on his part, according to Clark’s mother, Juanita.

“He had been thinking about this for about a year, but I told him that I wanted him to finish his education before he did anything,” she said.

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Clark, who averaged 20.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in the first 11 games, his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice in December and was enrolled in graduate courses this semester.

Juanita added that former Cal Lutheran Coach Mike Dunlap, who is in his first year as coach of the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League, had little to do with her son’s decision to sign a one-year contract with the Shepparton Gators of the Victoria Basketball League.

Quotebook

Westlake High All-State receiver Billy Miller isn’t tipping his hand as to where he’s going to play college football. In his thumbnail in the school’s basketball program, under the heading of favorite college, Miller says: “I’ll know Feb. 2.”

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The NCAA signing period for football begins Feb. 1.

Contributing: Fernando Dominguez, Dave Desmond, Jeff Fletcher and John Ortega.


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