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Decision time looms for area athletes

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

One local basketball standout has chosen where he's going to attend school next year. A handful of others have offers in hand or are planning visits. Let's take a look at a couple of the area's top athletes and their plans:

FORMER Davis and Modesto Christian standout Eric Waterford announced he'll attend St. Thomas More Prep School in Oakdale, Conn., this year.

Waterford played at Davis for three years, then averaged 14.7 points per game for Northern California runner-up Modesto Christian last season and was the Trans-Valley League MVP.

The prep school choice is relatively common among high-level basketball players on the East Coast, where student-

athletes opt to use the fifth year to try to improve their game and scholarship offers.

Waterford, who received a few scholarships offers out of MC, including one from Division I Cal State Northridge, won't lose a year of collegiate eligibility with this move.

St. Thomas More, which includes current Sacramento King Quincy Douby among its alumni, has an annual tuition of $32,900, according to privateschoolreview.com.

DOWNEY senior Karlee Bispo has set four of five official recruiting visits.

Bispo, who has won six Sac-Joaquin Section individual swimming titles, is going to be able to choose her college.

All four colleges she'll visit are among the top swimming programs in the country.

Today, she leaves for USC. Next week, she's off to Texas. In October, she's off to UCLA and Cal.

Her father, Frank Bispo, said she's saving her final allowed official visit "just in case."

THERE may not be a more recruited basketball player to come out of Modesto than Modesto Christian junior Reeves Nelson.

Nelson, a 6-foot-7-inch, 215-pound forward, already has a bevy of scholarship offers.

Some schools that have already offered scholarships: Arizona, Duke, North Carolina, USC and UCLA. Basically, Nelson will be able to play at almost any college he chooses.

"I'm still considering everybody," Nelson said Wednesday. "I just consider myself blessed to be drawing the attention of all these coaches that you see on TV throughout the winter."

He played with L.A.-based Pump N Run over the summer, traveling across the country with an elite group of players, including UCLA commit Jrue Holliday and North Carolina commit Larry Drew.

"They each tried to talk me into going to their school," said Nelson, who isn't playing anything at the moment because of an inflamed tendon in his ankle. "I just know it was great to play with players who are that good."

THE popularity of high school football knows no bounds.

Recently, most sports media networks have started filming games. At Friday night's Cardinal Newman at Oakdale game, you're most likely going to see cameras from Comcast and KCRA and our own cameras for the Modbee.com High School Football Game of the Week.

Last week, high school football made another new foray; this time, it was into overseas Internet gambling Web sites.

The Costa Rica-based gambling site 5dimes.com listed the high school game between Southlake Carroll of Texas and Miami Southwestern. Both teams were nationally ranked -- 5dimes opened Southlake Carroll as a 10-point favorite with that later falling to eight points.

The Web site also listed lines for the Little League Softball World Series. Yes, we're talking 12-year-old girls.

The Web site founder, Tony Williams, told the Dallas Morning News his company has accepted wagers on high school state championships in football and baseball for several years.

But in the ensuing uproar, Williams said he would be pulling the line and no longer would accept bets on high school games.

Will DeBoard's high schools column appears Thursdays. E-mail him at wdeboard@modbee.com, write him at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352-5256, call 578-2300 or fax 238-4551.

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