Renardo Sidney to announce college decision

On Sunday, a very big kid will make a very big announcement.

Fairfax High's Renardo Sidney is widely considered one of the ten best high school prospects in the nation. He first started to generate attention as an eight grader while living in Mississippi. As a 6-11 senior, Sidney has led the Lions to a No. 2 seed in the City Section Division I playoffs.

USC was on Sidney's short list, and Trojan head coach Tim Floyd was spotted at the Fairfax-Westchester game a month ago. But, as of today, it looks like USC is out of contention.

UCLA is still a top choice -- assuming he can make the grades. Sidney hasn't taken the SAT, a requirement for admission to the Westwood campus. Even if he announces for the Bruins, he'll still have to pass the test.

Arizona State and Virginia also are possible destinations. Some of the online scouting services list Texas, UNLV, and Mississippi State as long-shots.

Sunday's announcement is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Fairfax High.

-- Adam Rose

Photo: Fairfax's Renardo Sidney dunks against Westchester last month. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times.

USA Basketball names prep squad for Nike Hoop Summit

USA Basketball has set the roster for the 12th annual Nike Hoop Summit that tips off April 11 in Portland's Rose Garden. The game will pit nine of the country's top high school players against a World Select Team made up of top international players who are 19 or younger.

The squad named Tuesday includes nine of the nation’s 25 highest-ranked prep players. It also includes three returning athletes -- DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, Ala., LeFlore High), Leslie McDonald (Memphis Briarcrest High) and Mason Plumlee (Christ School in Arden, N.C.).

The 10-man roster is filled out by Avery Bradley (Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.); Derrick Favors (South Atlanta High); Abdul Gaddy (Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash.); Xavier Henry (Oklahoma City Putnam City High); John Henson (Tampa, Fla., Sickles High); Mike Moser (Portland, Ore., Grant High); and John Wall (Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C.).

The head coach will be John Olive (San Diego Torrey Pines High). Olive was an assistant coach in 2008 when the U.S. team beat the international squad, 98-79. Antwan Harris (Minneapolis Washburn High) will serve as assistant coach.

The World Select Team roster will be announced next month. It will draw 11 players from FIBA’s five geographic zones: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

-- Greg Johnson

Pete Carroll gets another chance to be 'The Closer'

Manti Te'o

It's the final week for high school football recruiting before next Wednesday's signing day, and this is the week USC Coach Pete Carroll usually earns his big bucks while serving as the male version of Kyra Sedgwick from TNT's "The Closer."

In other words, Carroll is great at closing the deal on top prospects who haven't made their decision, and this weekend, USC is hosting perhaps the No. 1 linebacker prospect in the nation in Manti Te'o from Honolulu Punahou.

It's a huge advantage that USC gets Te'o's last recruiting visit, and it would be stunning if Carroll doesn't do what he does best -- convince Te'o that USC is the place for him. Te'o is also considering UCLA and Notre Dame.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Manti Te'o of Honolulu, right, is one of the top prospects in the nation. Here he runs for a touchdown in a game last November. Credit: Jonathan Bello / Honolulu Advertiser

Times' Eric Sondheimer wins broadcasting award

In a post yesterday, The Times' Eric Sondheimer wrote about the awards handed out by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters.

That included awards for Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton and Rory Markus.

What Sondheimer hadn't mentioned is that he too won an award from the group -- the Prep Sports Award. Ben Bolch, who attended the awards luncheon, blogs about it on Varsity Times Insider.

-- Debbie Goffa

High school football stars on display

Matt Barkley On Sunday, ESPN will televise the Under Armour High School All-America High School football game from the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando at 5 p.m. PT.

USC and UCLA fans will be able to see several players who have committed to their teams.

For the Trojans, playing on the White team: Santa Ana Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley; Calhoun (S.C.) County wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey; and Agoura High offensive lineman Kevin Graf.

For the Bruins, also playing on the White team: Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos quarterback Richard Brehaut; Carson High receiver Morrell Presley; and Kapolei, Hawaii, offensive lineman Stan Hasiak.

According to the ESPN recruiting information, several players from both the White team and the Black team are still considering USC and/or UCLA: Salt Lake City Cottonwood offensive lineman John Martinez has USC and UCLA as well as Louisiana State, Ohio State and Oklahoma on his list; Pleasant Grove (Utah) Timpview offensive lineman Xavier Su'a Filo lists USC and UCLA plus Notre Dame, Brigham Young and Louisiana State; Scottsdale (Arizona) Saguaro defensive lineman Corey Adams has USC, Arizona State, Nebraska and Ohio State; Honolulu Punahou linebacker Manti Te'o has UCLA, USC and Notre Dame, Stanford and Brigham Young; Sanford (Fla.) Seminole wide receiver Andre Debose names Florida, Louisiana State, Miami, Georgia and USC; Wheaton (Md.) Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins has USC plus Penn State, Notre Dame, Miami and Stanford; Miami Gulliver Prep linebacker Frankie Telfort is down to USC and Florida; Sanford (Fla.) Seminole defensive back Ray Ray Armstrong is considering USC, Florida State, Florida, Louisiana State and Miami.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Mater Dei's Matt Barkley. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Catch CIF state football championships at Varsity Times Insider

San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's warms up prior to a Friday afternoon CIF game at Home Depot Center.

Southern California is enjoying a nice dose of football weather this week, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The CIF state football championship bowl games are being played this weekend.

Two games are on tap tonight at the Home Depot Center, so stop by Varsity Times Insider for the latest game updates and commentary.

Three-time Southern Section champion San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's (14-0) plays Hamilton City Hamilton (10-2) in the first-ever CIF State Small Schools Bowl at 4:30 p.m.

Corona Centennial (14-0) will play Concord De La Salle (12-1) for the CIF State Division I title in a rematch of last year's game at 8 p.m.

Also, each of tonight's games, as well as Saturday's games, will be broadcast live by Prime Ticket.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's warms up prior to a Friday afternoon CIF game at Home Depot Center. Credit: Austin Knoblauch / Los Angeles Times

Plenty of high school football playoff action tonight

St. Bonaventure running back Patrick Hall. I realize the Lakers' 16-2 start and Sean Avery's recent antics can be distracting, but don't forget there are a bunch of high school football playoff games tonight. You'll definitely want to stop by the Varsity Times Insider tonight for updates and scores from games around the Southland.

Eric Sondheimer will be sending in updates from the City Section Championship Division semifinal showdown between L.A. Crenshaw and Harbor City Narbonne and I'll be live blogging from the other semifinal game between Woodland Hills Taft and San Pedro.

Mark Medina will be blogging from Manhattan Beach, as Mira Costa attempts to block Palmdale from its second consecutive Western Division title appearance. We'll also have updates from the Northern Division semifinal between Ventura St. Bonaventure and Saugus thanks to my colleague, Steve Galluzzo.

Also, be sure to check out Ben Bolch's preview on all of this weekend's big semifinal matchups.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: St. Bonaventure running back Patrick Hall breaks off a run against L.A. Jordan on Sept. 18. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Wake-up call: Dodgers, Rays, Kings, Condoleezza Rice

Chad BillingsleyFirst things first: Tonight is Game 5 of the NLCS, and Chad Billingsley is scheduled to be the Dodgers' starting pitcher against the Phillies. We know what has gone on for the last few days. The throw behind Manny Ramirez's head, Billingsley not retaliating. Manny not visibly reacting when the ball "slipped" out of Brett Myers' hand but certainly reacting later. It's no surprise that Billingsley's game fell apart shortly after that. The pressure was from his teammates in the dugout. As ex-L.A. Times baseball writer and now Yahoo columnist Tim Brown says: Billingsley's "hardball manhood was challenged. ... It’s all petty. It’s all childish. But it's real in those clubhouses. ..."  Our own Bill Shaikin calls on Billingsley to stand strong and live up to the name of his hometown. The game is on Channel 11.

Crushed at Fenway: The Tampa Bay Rays ability to score almost at will (13-4 was the score) left the Fox announcers reeling, and by the eighth inning, they were speaking glowingly, almost adoringly, of the young Rays. The Rays now lead the series 3-1 and seem to own the ever-fickle momentum. Yes, it was a bad night for the Red Sox, but they never gave up. Particularly Kevin Youkilis. Game 5 is on Thursday. 

Crushed on ice: The Kings are now 1-2-0. By the end of Tuesday's game, the score was 6-3. As Helene Elliott notes this morning in her column, the Kings powered past the Ducks because the Ducks mostly sat in the penalty box. Again. Ryan Getzlaf leads in penalty minutes with 15, and Chris Kunitz is next with 12. And that's in only three games. Times staff writer Dan Arritt blogged from the game last night too, recording the onslaught. At one point, there seemed to be so many shots on goal, it reminded me of Tuesday's "In the Bleachers."


Just crushed: Much is being made of how the Estero High (Florida) football team lost to Naples High 91-0. The Naples Daily News has an online poll, and as of this writing, 992 votes have been tallied and 62% say you shouldn't blame Naples if Estero is just that bad. And 37% said Naples Coach Bill Kramer and his Golden Eagle should be ashamed.

Just in: The Sporting News' Mike Florio reports that "a league source tells us that an outside-the-box name is being mentioned as a possible candidate to replace the late Gene Upshaw as executive director of the NFL Players Assn. And the below-the-radar (for now) candidate is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice." She may be looking for a new job, so no surprise she turns again to the NFL. As Florio notes, she admitted in 2002 that she was interested in being commissioner. Maybe it was leaked to Florio to, as they say, "test the waters." It would be an interesting choice, that's for sure.   

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Staring at the ball didn't help Chad Billingsley, who was pulled early in Game 2. Credit: James Lang / U.S. Presswire

What does Pete Carroll do after a loss?

USC coach Pete Carroll Go to Hawaii.

That's what USC football Coach Pete Carroll did last week after his used-to-be-top-ranked Trojans were upset by 25 1/2-point underdog Oregon State on Sept. 25.

But he wasn't vacationing.

Carroll and USC linebackers coach Ken Norton were on the recruiting trail to take a look at Punahou High linebacker Manti Te'o, whose team was playing at Aloha Stadium last Friday night.

Carroll surely liked what he saw. Te'o made 10 tackles as Punahou limited Kamehameha High runners to only 49 yards in 29 carries in a 28-6 victory.

Wonder how many times Carroll and Norton thought, "We could have used this guy against Jacquizz Rodgers!"

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: USC coach Pete Carroll speaks at news conference on Sept. 23 Credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport-US Presswire

Corona Centennial 9th in U.S. poll

Corona Centennial quarterback Taylor Martinez goes back for a pass against Mater Dei.

With a 47-35 victory over Mater Dei, Corona Centennial is No. 9 in the National Prep Football poll this week. Concord De La Salle, which took advantage of Loyola mistakes in a 27-21 victory, is No. 8.

Long Beach Poly, No. 1 in the Times rankings, is No. 12.

Mater Dei dropped out of the top 25.

The poll:

The National Prep Football Poll is compiled by high school sports journalist Jamie DeMoney with input from sportswriters, experts, and coaches. The national Top 25 and regional Top 10’s follow with won-loss-tie records through Sept. 21:

Photo: Corona Centennial quarterback Taylor Martinez goes back for a pass against Mater Dei.  Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

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