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NICK KOON, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Four JSerra baseball players signed letters of intent on Wednesday. They are, from left to right, Chase Strumpf (UCLA), Brady Shockey (USC), Davis Wendzel (Baylor) and Colton Hector (Holy Cross).

Signing Day: Basketball, baseball notes

STAFF WRITER

Marcus Berkley took a short detour en route to his college destination.

Berkley averaged 22 points a game last basketball season as a senior at Orangewood Academy. Orangewood is one of Orange County’s smaller private schools.

He did not get the college offers he wanted, although he did have an eye on UC Riverside.

“I wanted to go to Riverside,” Berkley said Wednesday. “I knew that’s the school for me.”

UCR suggested a year of prep school for Berkley, so he enrolled at Middlebrooks Academy in Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-4 guard signed with UCR.

Berkley has played a handful of games for Middlebrooks, and has played well enough to convince UCR to sign him.

“Coming out of such a small high school,” Berkley said, “Riverside wanted me to get some more competition under my belt.”

Berkley, who turns 19 next week, recommends the prep school option for other players from smaller high schools.

“Do that,” he said, “or do a grey shirt year at a junior college so you don’t lose that year of college elilgibility.”

UC IRVINE SIGNS LOS AL'S WORKU

UC Irvine signed another Orange County boys basketball prospect – Los Alamitos point guard Eyassu Worku.

Worku, 6-2, averaged 18 points a game as a junior last season and was Sunset League co-most valuable player and All-Orange County second team.

Already on the UCI roster are former O.C. high school players Mamadou Ndiaye, a 7-6 junior center from Brethren Christian, freshman guard Brandon Smith, the county’s 2014-15 leading scorer at Godinez last season, and freshman guard Haitham Chehabi from JSerra.

UCI associate head coach Ali Ton was an All-County point guard at Los Alamitos. Ton said recruiting county players is emphasized at UCI.

“You can build a strong team by recruiting different guys,” Ton said. “But to build a program, you have to be strong in your own backyard. We don’t want to miss out on a kid who’s an Orange County kid.”

THREE ALL-O.C. BASEBALL PLAYERS SIGN

Three baseball players who were All-County first team last year signed Wednesday, including Cypress outfielder Dominic Fletcher, the Empire League MVP this past spring when he hit .452 with nine home runs and 34 RBI. He signed with Arkansas.

Also signing were JSerra outfielder Brady Shockey, who had 39 hits last season and was one of the county’s better defensive players. He signed with USC. Huntington Beach’s Landon Silver, who hit seven home runs with 31 RBI and played multiple positions last season, signed with UC Santa Barbara.


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