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HIGH SCHOOL Basketball
Phil Taylor
February 10, 1992
Early Warning
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February 10, 1992

High School Basketball

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Yinka is a senior at Milford (Conn.) Academy who is headed for George Washington, where his coach will be Mike Jarvis, Ewing's coach at Cambridge (Mass.) Rindge and Latin High. Jarvis and Milford coach Scott Spinelli emphasize that Yinka, who played for the Nigerian national team before coming to the U.S. last May, is far from polished, but they agree that he is a potential franchise player. "The difficulty I have with him is trying to keep everything in perspective," says Jarvis. "To compare him to Patrick would be unfair, but it's not difficult to see what he could mean to the George Washington program."

Yinka's name doesn't show up on most lists of top high school seniors, partly because he didn't participate in the summer camps and tournaments in which most of the blue-chippers compete. Further, his statistics aren't spectacular—14.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 6.1 blocks per game at week's end—because Milford, a team with five postgraduate players, routinely routs its opponents and Spinelli benches Yinka in order to hold down the score.

But Yinka, who was discovered by George Washington assistant Ed Meyers on a scouting trip to Nigeria last year, is intelligent—he has a 3.44 grade point average and speaks fluent English as well as three African dialects—and a fast learner. At the Top Notch basketball clinic last summer in Leominster, Mass., Yinka had so little trouble picking up the techniques he was taught that by the end of the camp he was teaching them.

"I've seen him steal the ball at mid-court, take it downcourt like a point guard and slam it," says Spinelli. "He's got brains, athletic ability and desire. You try not to build him up too much, but I look at the [high school] players they're talking about as the future great big men, and I know that a few years down the line, he'll be better than all of them."

A Home Away from Home

You read it here first: Keep an eye out for BYU in two years. The Cougars have seven Mormon players, most notably 7'6" center Shawn Bradley, who are abroad on church missions, and all are expected back for the 1993-94 season. Added to that mix will be Tony Woods, one of BYU's most unlikely recruits.

Tony is a 6'7", 225-pound senior forward for East Rome (Ga.) High. He helped lead his team to a state Class AA championship as a freshman and to a smaller-school Class A title as a junior, and at week's end East Rome was 18-0, with Tony scoring 23 points a game. Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Tulane were among the schools that recruited Tony, but he chose BYU, where he should fit in nicely on the Cougars' front line even if he doesn't exactly fit the profile of the average Brigham Young player.

"Some of the [recruiters] from other schools got pretty upset when I told them," Tony says. "They were like, 'BYU? You must be kidding.' They told me I'd be uncomfortable there because I'm not Mormon and because there aren't many other blacks on campus. At first, I was worried about those things, about what it would be like for me socially. To be honest, I had heard the term Mormon, but I didn't really understand what a Mormon was. But after I visited and talked to some of the players, I thought BYU was the right place for me."

Ultimately, says East Rome coach Dwight Henderson, "A big factor was that he wanted to change his environment, get away from some of the negative influences here. I guess BYU is about as big a change as you can get."

Like many high school players, Kenyon Murray, a 6'5" forward from Battle Creek (Mich.) High wasn't happy with his performance on the ACT. Kenyon, however, got a 21, easily exceeding the 17 needed for eligibility as a college freshman. He thought he was capable of a better score, so he took the test again and got a 23. Kenyon, probably the leading schoolboy player in Michigan, has signed a letter of intent with Iowa.... Gretchen Lacey, a heavily recruited 6-foot center from Shawnee Mission (Kans.) West High, is the daughter of onetime NBA center Sam Lacey.... Jarrett Lockhart is already drawing raves at St. John's. That's St. John's Elementary School in the Bronx, N.Y. Jarrett, 13, is a 6'2" eighth-grader who can dunk.

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