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Tuesday, June 22, 2004



[ COLLEGE BASKETBALL ]



Wilhoite to play
at Texas JC

The two-time all-state selection also considered
walking on at UH, among other options


Kalaheo's 6-foot-7 center Sam Wilhoite said yesterday he accepted a one-year financial package and will play basketball for McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas.

Wilhoite, a two-time Star-Bulletin first-team selection, led the Mustangs to an appearance in the state tournament final last season.

He was trying to hook up with a Division I college, but didn't get any offers.

"I was initiating contact because I wasn't heavily recruited, but it is my personal goal to play for a Division I school," Wilhoite said.

He considered walking on to the University of Hawaii or the University of San Francisco.

A dominant rebounder with a soft shooting touch in high school, Wilhoite was recruited by McLennan assistant Anthony Fletcher and will play for head coach Kevin Gill.

"A coach at (Division I) Lamar University saw my tapes and wasn't able to offer a scholarship, but he gave my number to the coaches at McLennan," Wilhoite said. "We started talking about a month ago."

Wilhoite said many Big 12 teams and a lot of teams in mid-major conferences visit the area to play (Division I) Baylor University and scout McLennan players.

"I've got the grades, so if I go and play and do well, I may be able to go on to play Division I the following year," he said. "I'll find out for myself if I'm Division I caliber or not. If not, I'll still have the opportunity to try and play at a Division II school."

In the meantime, Wilhoite will continue to practice and lift weights to get bigger. He's put on 10 pounds since last season when his playing weight was 195 pounds.

"But I want to add even more weight," he said.

Wilhoite was the go-to guy for the Mustangs in their rise to a fourth straight Oahu Interscholastic Association championship.

He scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the state title-game loss to Iolani.

"They're (McLennan coaches) looking at me at playing the 4 or 5 spot, probably the 4," Wilhoite said. "That's good for me because they play a lot of four out and one in. So, I'll be able to play kind of like a 3 -- go inside when I need to and stay outside when I don't."

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