Leading Off

High school athletes to commit to schools

Today is National Signing Day for high school athletes who played football, soccer and track and field. At least 14 Stanislaus District athletes are expected to sign National Letters of Intent in ceremonies all over the area. Some of the higher-profile signings include Merced High receiver Jarrett Sparks (above) and Central Catholic lineman Dominic Galas (below) to Cal, Beyer soccer player Jennie Marshall to BYU and Beyer track standouts Kendall Morris and Crystal Esparza to Cal.

Fiscoe honored

Sue Fiscoe, director of golf for Modesto's three municipal courses, was recognized for being the NorCal PGA Professional of the Year during the 49th California Golf Writers Association Awards Banquet on Tuesday night at The Inn At Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach. "Thank you to the California golf writers for all you do," Fiscoe told a crowd of nearly 300 as she accepted the award.

Recruiting trick?

If this were a movie, it would be titled "Nobody's All-American." Students and media packed the gymnasium at Fernley (Nev.) High last Friday to hear offensive lineman Kevin Hart announce he had chosen Cal over Oregon to play his college football, even telling USA Today that Cal coach Jeff Tedford's personal involvement had ultimately swayed him. Just one problem: The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Hart hadn't been recruited by the Bears or the Ducks. It wasn't clear whether Hart had been duped or was pulling a fast one of his own, but, wrote Chris Gabel in his Reno Journal-Review blog,

"I am told the ending is not going to be pretty. Not for the kid, coach, school or town."

Stockton Arena to host SaberCats

Stockton Arena will host a preseason game between the San Jose SaberCats and Kansas City Brigade on Feb. 19. Tickets ($5) are available at for the Arena Football League matchup, set for 7 p.m. Stockton Arena is home of the Stockton Lightning, members of arenafootball2.

Shaq on the move?

Shaquille O'Neal is prepared for the Miami Heat to trade him, a confidant of the 14-time All-Star center told The Associated Press. O'Neal's associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal anything publicly, indicated a move could be imminent. The Miami Herald reported that the Heat are in "serious and ongoing" trade negotiations with the Phoenix Suns, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said the deal could occur "within 48 hours." The Herald report said the Suns would send Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Miami in exchange for O'Neal, who is averaging a career-low 14.2 points and has been sidelined for the past two weeks by a lingering hip injury.