Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thames Drafted By Raptors, Traded To Nets; Larson's Day At Kentucky Short

Former Pleasant Grove basketball star Xavier Thames may have achieved something very rare amongst ex-Elk Grove Unified School District players. We believe he is just the second EGUSD graduate to be drafted by the National Basketball Association.

The only other player we know of who was selected by the NBA was Elk Grove High School star Bill Cartwright. The 7-1 center who played his college basketball at the University of San Francisco was the top draft pick, the third selection overall, in the 1979 Draft by the New York Knicks. He played in the pros for 15 seasons including six years with Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen and the Chicago Bulls.

To the best of our knowledge in the 35 years since, there have been a number of EGUSD basketball players go to the collegiate ranks, but none were drafted by the NBA. Even DeMarcus Nelson, who graduated ten years ago from Sheldon as the leading scorer in the State and went on to play at Duke, was a free agent signing by Golden State in 2008. 
Ex-Pleasant Grove guard Xavier Thames

Nelson played only 13 games with the Warriors, was sent to Bakersfield in the D-League and then released by Golden State. He was signed at the end of the 08-09 season by Chicago, but did not play for the Bulls. Nelson was released by the Bulls in July of 2009.

Thames was the 59th, the next-to-the-last pick, of last week's NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Raptors, but his rights were sent to the Brooklyn Nets. In his final season with San Diego State, Thames averaged 17.6 points and 3.2 assists a game.

Thames told Newsday in New York that he's looking forward to teaming with Deron Williams in the Nets' backcourt.

"I played against him. He might not remember," Thames told Newsday on Saturday, "but I remember because he's De- ron Williams. But when he was in San Diego a few summers back, I got a chance to see him up close and personal, one of the best point guards in the NBA. So I'm just blessed and thankful that I get to play with him and a Hall of Fame coach in Jason Kidd. So it's just great."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sac Republic FC Players Make Local Barber Shop Game Day Ritual

Dave’s Barber Shop in old town Elk Grove typically doesn’t open until 8 a.m. on Thursdays. But, this isn’t a typical Thursday.

It’s game day for the Sacramento Republic FC professional soccer team and in what has become a morning ritual when Sac Republic has a home match, Carlos Martinez and Rodrigo “RoRo” Lopez get a hair cut.
Rodrigo "RoRo" Lopez, with local barber Joseph Bussie

It’s 7:15 a.m. and barber Joseph Bussie greets Martinez. The blinds in the window and the door are still drawn.

“It isn’t because of their celebrity status so much as it is I like to cut Carlos hair and take my time without the pressure of customers waiting,” Bussie explains.

Martinez gets a special cut from Bussie on his frequent visits to Dave’s, something he calls the “Carlos Cut.” It’s hard to describe but the part in his hair is very definitive and the sides are cut very short with a thick flock of hair left on top.

A few minutes later in walk Lopez, the leading scorer on Sac Republic FC. Lopez likes the special treatment from Bussie.

“It’s game day, gets me looking good and gets me away from home, a chance to relax and watch SportsCenter,” Lopez explains pointing to one of the many TV monitors in the barber shop.

Sac Republic will take on Arizona United SC about 12 hours later.
Carlos Martinez, modeling the "Carlos Cut"

The pair has been coming to Bussie since they arrived in Sacramento this spring. Teammate Jack Avesyan told them about his barber and they started coming to Bussie when he was cutting hair at a midtown Sacramento shop. Three months ago Bussie moved his business to Dave’s and his soccer clientele followed.

For Martinez and Lopez the move to Old Town was advantageous. Both live in Elk Grove during the season to be close to the team’s practice site, Cosumnes River College.

Lopez, at age 27, is one of the veterans on the club. He was Sacramento Republic FC’s first player signed to a contract.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Larson Wins Pro West Race At Sonoma/Levin Needs Good Showing At Congressional

Kyle Larson made his first race at Sonoma Speedway last Saturday really count. He won the checkered flag in the Carneros 200 NASCAR Pro Series West Race, leading the race from the start.

“It’s always fun racing the K&N cars,” Larson said. “I miss running them. I got to run the East Series a couple years ago and had a blast with that. I was really excited about coming here and running the West Series at home.”

Even though the Elk Grove native raced for years as a youth at tracks throughout Northern California, Saturday’s tune-up for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday was Larson’s first race on the 1.99-mile road coarse.

“I thought I would be OK when I came here,” Larson said. “I didn’t think I would be that good. I still don’t really think I’m that good. We just qualified good. Looking back, I was a little bit frustrated after the qualifying run. I gave up a lot of time I thought out on the track, could’ve had a shot at the pole.”

Larson was figured on to be one of the top finishers in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race, mainly because he started in the third position however, he quickly slipped down the leaderboard and finished the race in 28th place. His car lost its power steering not long after the start of the race.
Kyle Larson Waves To Crowd Following Saturday's win

“Pretty happy with myself and my little arms to be able to finish the last half of the race considering our issue,” Larson later tweeted.

Carl Edwards eventually won the SaveMart 350, his first win at Sonoma in 12 seasons.

Despite the disappointing performance Larson still is NASCAR’s top rookie on the Sprint Cup series and is now 10th overall in season points. This weekend he is at the Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 Saturday night.

Levin Hopes For Rebound At Congressional

The professional golf world has been all-abuzz this week with news that Tiger Woods will return from an injury layoff and play at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Larson Takes New Celebrity Status In Stride

The television cameras were set up on tripods all around a midtown Sacramento restaurant Wednesday. A young man in a blue suit with a pink shirt, accompanied by an attractive blonde woman, was being moved from interview to interview with some of the area’s television reporters.

A brief stop then with KFBK Radio’s Pat Walsh, who wanted to interview, “the Elk Grove boy who’s done good.” Walsh, himself an Elk Grove High School alum, wanted to meet this 21-year-old man who is rapidly becoming a sports celebrity. 
Elk Grove's Kyle Larson

Finally, Kyle Larson gets a chance to sit down and eat his taco and enchilada lunch. Taking the seat next to him is girlfriend Katelyn Sweet.

The couple isn’t done talking to the media. Through bites of the tasty food come questions from newspaper reporters and columnists, folks that have only heard about this young driver and now get to meet him in person.

Larson has now arrived at the Mt. Everest of the motor sports, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Go to the NASCAR website and click on “drivers” and there is his photo right alongside some of the big names of the sport – Earnhardt, Johnson and Gordon.

“I don’t think that’s really a big deal,” Larson admits. “I will say that it is neat to see yourself on TV, but I don’t go (online) and look at my bio and my stats.”

He’s currently eighth in the overall point standings and is the top rookie in NSCS. Larson has three top-five and six top-ten finishes in 2014. NASCAR fans now know his name.

As he answers questions matter-of-factly, Larson occasionally flashes that engaging smile that has attracted a growing number of fans at the 30-plus race tracks he’s competed at over the past couple years since he began driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.

About 200 of those fans showed up a couple hours later when Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis awarded Larson the key to the city in a ceremony on the steps of City Hall. Many were wearing the red and white colors of the Target #42 Chevrolet race team.

Larson once again spoke warmly about how he was honored – and a bit shocked – that a few months after the Elk Grove City Council voted to begin a “Key To The City” award he would be the first recipient of that honor.

“It is pretty cool,” he said. “I am surprised no one else has gotten (the key) before. I hope (the key) will open up some bars later at night (laughs). I don’t know what the key will open. That is just so cool to be recognized.”

Larson attended Elk Grove Elementary, Edna Batey Elmentary, Kerr and Albiani Middle Schools and then two years of high school at Pleasant Grove. His racing schedule by time he was age 16 was getting so demanding that he finished high school via independent study and earned his diploma in Januaray of 2010.

This week Larson was back in northern California to prepare for Saturday’s K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway. On Sunday he’ll be back behind the wheel of his Target #42 Chevrolet NCSC stock car for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, also on Sonoma Raceway’s road course.

After 14 years of racing on the dirt ovals around northern California, the weekend races will be Larson’s first at Sonoma, so he won’t have any home court advantage over the rest of the NCSC drivers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Stories of 2013/2014

The firework stands are now erected in retail locations around Elk Grove. That’s the sure sign we are now into summer and it’s time to reflect back on the past twelve months of sports in our city. Most were memorable events took place on the field or the court, however this year, we had a handful of sports stories away from the competition, particularly our top story of the 2013-2014 school year:
1.    Sheldon Basketball Sanctions

The four-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions were hit hard by graduation and thus the door seemed open for many area basketball players to transfer to the Elk Grove Unified facility and try to keep the hardcourt program atop the heap.

The problem was the way those students, or more correctly their parents and some tournament team coaches funneled the boys to Sheldon.

Three of the prospective Huskies players were ruled ineligible for the entire season in November. Two of them were making their second high school transfer and according to CIF rules, when you do that, you are ineligible for one entire year.

The third player, the CIF and Elk Grove Unified officials discovered in its investigation, played in the summer basketball program in 2013 while still a student at another EGUSD school.

The investigation additionally found four cases of providing fraudulent information to CIF and when Section commissioner Pete Saco came down with his ruling on Jan. 25, those boys were ruled immediately ineligible. They cannot play in a CIF-sanctioned game until Jan. 25, 2015.

The Huskies’ team was made ineligible for the post-season in 2014 and put on probation through 2016. Plus, the Section placed strict guidelines on how non-school teams use the Sheldon facilities in the future.

Sheldon head varsity coach Joey Rollings was suspended four weeks during the season.

       2.   Derek Hill Drafted First Round By Detroit Tigers

He was called the best centerfielder coming out of high school since Torii Hunter by Major League Baseball Network commentator Harold Reynolds. Derek Hill thrilled Elk Grove High School baseball fans for three years with numerous running and diving catches along with showing great speed on the base paths.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hill Signs With Tigers, Gets $2M Bonus

Instead of becoming a Duck, former Elk Grove High School standout Derek Hill will become a Tiger.

The recent EGHS graduate signed a professional baseball contract Sunday with Detroit, the Major League club that selected him in the first round June 3.’s Jim Callis reported Hill received a $2 million signing bonus for being the 23rd overall pick.

Hill had signed a NCAA National Letter-of-Intent to play collegiately at Oregon.

He spent last weekend at the Tigers’ Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla., before being assigned to one of the minor league clubs. 
Derek Hill, now catching flyballs for the Detroit Tigers

"There are similarities with Derek's style and when Torii (Hunter) came out of high school," said David Chadd, vice president of amateur scouting. "I think there are similarities to Austin Jackson.

"He's got a lot of energy. He has a lot of running ability. I don't like comparisons, I don't think they're fair at a young age, but I certainly think the style of play compares."

During live televised coverage of the MLB Draft, commentator Harold Reynolds called Hill, “the best centerfielder in the entire draft.”

Carda Named All-American

UCLA pitcher Ally Carda, who played locally at Pleasant Grove High School, was named NFCA First Team All-American Wednesday.

Additionally, Carda, a junior, was named the Pac-12 Conference’s Player of the Year this season.  On the mound she was 32-5 with a 1.90 ERA and had 230 strikeouts in 220 2/3 innings.

UCLA's Ally Carda
But, Carda’s outstanding season didn’t end in the field. At the plate she had a .394 batting average with 13 home runs and 55 RBI’s. He led the Bruins with 69 hits. 

The Bruins, thought to be a favorite to make the Women’s College World Series, were upset May 25 in back-to-back losses to Kentucky in the Los Angeles Super Regional. UCLA ended the year 52-8, the most wins by the Bruins since 2003.

Alyssa Tiumalu, who was also a teammate of Carda’s at Pleasant Grove, concluded her college career at UCLA by batting .248 with six homers and 24 RBI’s.

Kyle Larson To Receive Key To City

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis will give NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, an Elk Grove resident, the key to the city in a special ceremony Wednesday.

Larson, a 21-year-old rookie on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup (NSCS) circuit, will be in town to promote the upcoming Toyota/Save-Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

This year Larson has two top-five and five top-ten finishes on the Sprint Cup circuit, along with two wins in the Nationwide circuit.

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson
Larson will be the first recipient of a key to the City in Elk Grove. According to a city news relase, the program was established in 2013 as a symbolic gesture of appreciation to honor outstanding contributions of notable Elk Grove natives and residents. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Mayor Davis, the Elk Grove City Council and residents of Elk Grove,” Larson said. “When I started racing go-karts around Elk Grove I always hoped to end up in NASCAR, but knew it would take a lot of time and effort to get there. Although my racing frequently took me out of town, I’m proud to call Elk Grove home and proud to represent the city when I race. Being the first Elk Grove native to be recognized with a Key to the City is really special, and I look forward to giving the people here more to cheer about in the future.”

Larson is a native of Elk Grove and a graduate of Pleasant Grove High
School, and has been racing since he was seven.

He currently is tenth in NSCS point standings and is the top rookie on the circuit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Davis To Sign With Houston

J.D. Davis, a slugging third baseman and pitcher the past three seasons for Cal-State Fullerton, has agreed to a contract with the Houston Astros of the American League. Davis, a 2011 graduate of Elk Grove High School, told me this afternoon he'll officially sign his contract tomorrow in Houston and then he's off to play for Tri-Valley in the New York/Penn League.

Davis was selected in the third round of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft on Friday. He will earn a signing bonus in the area of $780,000 with considerations for tuition to continue his college studies at a later date.

He led the Titans in 2014 with a .338 batting average, .523 slugging percentage, .419 on-base 

JD Davis, now a part of the Houston Astros' farm system
percentage as well as 27 extra-base hits. He was, for the second year in a row, named to the 

All-Big West first team. 

Davis played much of last season in right field, but as he told me on Saturday, the Astros 
want him to move up their system as a third baseman where he played at Elk Grove.

In his three seasons at Cal State Fullerton, Davis played in 159 games, starting 149, and batted .308 with 175 hits. He scored 87 runs and collected 33 doubles, six triples and 14 home runs to go along with 113 RBI. He drew 77 walks and stole 10 bases.
On the mound, Davis went 5-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 35 appearances, making eight starts. He tallied 11 career saves and struck out 48 batters in 66 and 1/3 innings pitched while issuing just 14 walks.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sheldon Relay Team Third At State Track Meet

Mishaye Venerable will know better next time.

The Cosumnes Oaks long jumper had just finished 12th in the finals of her event at the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis on Saturday, a bit perplexed at why her best leap was a full foot shorter than what she recorded in Friday’s preliminaries.

“In the practice I just was, well, off,” Venerable explained. “I just guess I got over-excited.”

She admits it – she was a bit caught up in the moment. The best track and field athletes in California were in the same place and this being her first time was well, overwhelming.

“I felt pressured today,” Venerable said. “There was a record set in the event and that was running through my head at the same time.”

Marguax Jones of Redlands established a State Meet record with a jump of 20 feet, four-and-3/4 inches breaking a mark set in 1993 by Marion Jones of Thousand Oaks who would go on to become an Olympian.

The best leap Venerable could muster Saturday was 16 feet, four and ¼ inches, good for 12th place. In the Section IV meet, she won the long jump with a mark of 17 feet, ten inches.

But, there must have been something in the air around the long jump pit because Franklin High School’s Jorden O’Neal was also well short of her preliminary mark. In the finals O’Neal jumped 18 feet, one-half inch, to end up ninth in State.

O’ Neal had a best mark of 19 feet, four-and-3/4 inches on Friday in Clovis.

But, late Saturday the CIF track meet officials offered an explanation: They said all preliminary round marks were discarded because of “a measurement error.” They did not specify what that error was.

Johnson, Deacon Taken In 3rd Day Of MLB Draft

The third and final day of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft started early Saturday with round 11 and selections came lightning quick. Everything was over by mid-afternoon Pacific Time after the 40th round of picks.

Two Elk Grove-area players were taken Saturday: former Franklin pitcher Jordan Johnson and ex-Elk Grove catcher Jared Deacon. Both were drafted by the San Francisco Giants.

Johnson was a 23rd round selection, the 688th overall, by the Giants. Johnson just completed his junior year at Cal State - Northridge.

Deacon recently graduated from Fullerton State and was a 33rd round draft pick. In the 35th round the Giants took Granite Bay pitcher Mitch Hart. 
Jared Deacon

Grant High School left-hander Cameron Avila-Leeper was selected in the 29th round by the Minnesota Twins. Avila-Leeper, if he doesn’t sign to go pro, may end up throwing for Cosumnes River College next season.

St. Mary’s slugger Jed Sprague was taken in the 37th round by the White Sox. His father, Ed, is the head coach at UOP and is a former Major Leaguer with the Cardinals and Blue Jays.

In total, 1,215 players were selected by Major League Baseball clubs over the three-day draft, more than half of them were pitchers. The players will have until July 18 to accept or deny their offers to go pro. 

Intriguing selections by the teams included San Diego’s 28th round selection - former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, now a member of the Cleveland Browns. Manziel never played baseball while in college at Texas A&M. Ryan Ripken, son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., was selected by the Nationals in the 15th rounds. Mariano Rivera’s son, also named Mariano, was taken in the 28th round by his father’s club, the Yankees.

O'Brine Earns 12th in State In Discus Throw

by Steven Shaff, St. Francis H.S. Ass't A.D.

St. Francis senior Kayla O’Brine finished 12th in the discus with a throw of 126-9 at the CIF Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon.
It was nice to come here and finish my senior year strong,” said O’Brine, who advanced to the finals with a throw of 142-6 in the prelims on Friday. 
St. Francis' discus thrower Kayla O'Brine

The Elk Grove product was one of three throwers competing in the finals for the second consecutive season. She also finished 12th as a junior and was a three-time qualifier overall.

Stamatia Scarvelis from Dos Pueblos won the event with a throw of a 163-7.

O’Brine, who will compete for the UCSB Track and Field program next year, had a season-best of 147-1 at the Arcadia Invitational. The throw ranked second in the Sac-Joaquin Section and fifth in the state entering the state meet.

She won the Delta River League title and recorded nine first-place finishes over the course of the season. She also finished  third at the section meet and second overall at the Masters meet to qualify for the state championships.

Friday, June 06, 2014

State Track Meet Underway

The CIF State Track and Field Championships are now underway at Veterans' Memorial Stadium in Clovis. Today all preliminaries will be run. In most events, the top nine will move on to tomorrow's finals. There will be four heats in each event and those winners will advance as will the next five best times or marks.

Here is the schedule of today's qualifying.

Check back here for how our eight individuals and four relay teams fair this weekend in Clovis.

You can also watch the live streaming of the events HERE.

Davis Drafted At Top Of ThIrd Round Friday

--> Major League Baseball's First-Year Player draft picked up early Friday afternoon, Eastern Time, with the third round and immediately the Houston Astros took former Elk Grove High School and current Fullerton State third baseman/pitcher J.D. Davis.

A 2011 fifth-round pick of the Rays out of Elk Grove, Davis turned down pro ball to attend play collegiately for the Titans. Three years later, called him one of the better two-way talents in the Draft. 

Davis said Friday the decision to turn down the Rays three years ago and attend Fullerton was one of the best moves he's ever made.

"Obviously, it was the competitive competition I saw at Fullerton," he said. "Traveling around and seeing other programs, traveling with teammates and getting that experience. It's made me grow up and become more mature."
CS-Fullerton's J.D. Davis

Davis was drafted as a third baseman, a position he played at Elk Grove and only occasionally at Fullerton. This year Davis played in right field. Matt Chapman, the Oakland A's top draft choice on Thursday, was the Titans' third baseman this season.

"They've already said they want me as a third baseman and want me to go up through the system as a third baseman," Davis said.

MLB Network analyst Jonathon Mayo said Davis was attractive to the Astors because his right-handed power is hard to ignore. 

"He controls the strike zone well and could hit for a solid average to go with his pop, with almost all of his value as a position player coming from his bat," he said.

Davis admits that being drafted by Houston was a bit of a surprise particularly since his agent had been getting contacts during the first and second rounds from the Orioles, the White Sox, Diamondbacks and the Cubs.

"We were watching on TV last night and I didn't get picked but my agent was checking back and forth with me on which team was interested," he said. "It was a waiting game and then after a night of, well, feeling a bit bummed out, my agent said there were lots of teams interested. Then, sure enough, the Astros picked me and I didn't know there were going to."

He's home for a few days now but while playing at Dry Creek Golf Club Friday Davis told the Citizen he expects negotiations with the Astros will begin soon.

"The slot money (likely signing bonus offer) is $784,000 so we'll start there," Davis said. "They said 'We'll get back to negotiations in little while,' so I expect to have everything finished in a week or so."

There were 16 high schoolers and 18 college players taken in the opening round of the Draft. Davis suggests any high school senior drafted beyond the third or fourth round turns down the pro offer and goes to college to continue playing baseball.

"My advice to them is that unless the money is life-changing, money they can set aside to help them throughout their entire life, to stick to going to college," Davis advised. " I can tell them it was one of the best experiences in my life."

It's likely Davis will be sent to the Tri-Valley franchise in the New York/Penn League where he would be re-joined with Herd teammate Jake Rodriguez, a sixth round pick of the Astros last summer.

If needed, Davis is also a prospect as a pitcher in the pros. MLB.Com wrote, “Davis has power in his arm, too. As a reliever, he has worked at 92-94 mph with his fastball and 82-84 mph with his slider, and saw time this spring as Fullerton's closer.”

Also on day two of the Draft the Giants took Rocklin pitcher Logan Webb in the fourth round. 

The Phillies took Rhys Hoskins, a Sacramento State first baseman and former Jesuit Marauder, in the next round, the fifth. 

Rounds 11 through 40 will happen on Saturday.

Hill Drafted In First Round By Tigers

Elk Grove High School's talented centerfielder Derek Hill was selected in the first round Thursday - the 23rd over all pick - by the Detroit Tigers in the opening night of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.

Hill became the only Elk Grove Unified graduate to be a first-round baseball draft selection directly out of high school. In 2008 former Laguna Creek pitcher Casey Weathers was taken in the first round by the Colorado Rockies following his senior season at Vanderbilt University. An injury knocked Weathers out of baseball a little more than a year ago. 

He also is the first Sacramento-area prepster selected in the first round since Tony Torcato was taken by the Giants in 1998.

MLB Network analyst John Hart called Hill, "the best defensive centerfielder in the draft." 
Derek Hill returning to first base during a game against Laguna Creek

"The big question, as with many high schoolers, is how good will he be," Hart said. "How far will his bat come?"

Hill was in the MLB Network's "Studio 42" along with a handful of prospective top draft choices for the live televised selection. He and his parents sat in a mock dugout and were on camera immediately after Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the Tigers selection.

Hill then donned a Tigers' hat and jersey, hugged his parents and went to the podium area to shake hands with Selig and members of a Detroit contingent that included former Tiger centerfielder Chet Lemon.

"It sounds so amazing," he told the live national TV audience. "I can't wait to get out there and get with the guys."

Hill also remarked how happy he was joining Detroit because his favorite player is Torii Hunter, the Tigers' current centerfielder.

Following the selection MLB analyst Harold Reynolds showed a video of Hill batting and remarked, "He can swing the bat. Hill has grown into his body over the past year. His gift is being able to get the baseball (in the outfield)."

Reynolds also called Hill the best centerfielder in high school since Hunter.

Hill is the first outfielder drafted by the Tigers in the opening round since they selected Cameron Maybin in 2005 draft.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, Hill  hit .500 with 11 doubles, seven triples, 29 stolen bases and 30 RBIs this past season for the Herd.

"Derek is an excellent hitter, a great defensive outfielder and has electric speed," said David Chadd, the Tigers' vice president of amateur scouting. "We're pleased to have the opportunity to add him to our organization."

Hill signed a NCAA National Letter-of-Intent with Oregon University in November, but will likely forego college because of the huge signing bonus he will be offered by the Tigers. One media source in Detroit thinks it may be around $1.5 million.

Hill is a cousin of former New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry and the son of Orsino Hill, a scout in the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization.

Orsino played 12 years in the minor leagues as an outfielder with the Reds, Expos, Pirates, Cubs, White Sox, Athletics and Angels.