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Tall guy with whatnot finds hes in demand

Things are looking up for 6-11 Chris Botez, the former Madison High player who went to Chemeketa Community College to get good grades and refine his game.

Botez has been chased by about 25 NCAA Division I schools. He's narrowed his choices to six Ñ Hawaii, Boise State, Utah, UNLV, Texas A&M and DePaul Ñ and will visit three or four.

'I can't make up my mind,' he says. 'It'll come down to academics, and what (the school) can do to help me to succeed.'

'Our most recruited kid in my time here Ñ 11 years,' says Chemeketa coach David Abderhalden, whose team is 21-4 and will play in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament starting Feb. 27.

Botez is averaging 13 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two assists, and is shooting 58 percent from the field. Still, he knows defense and rebounding are his calling cards.

'It's hard to find tall guys who can rebound and play defense and whatnot,' he says.

Botez weighs about 225 pounds, up 20 from when he left Madison.

'I post up harder, and I'm getting better on post moves. I've been working on my hook shot and running the floor,' he says.

Jack is back

Jack Wolfinger, the well-traveled 6-11 Portland pseudo-legend, has been playing decently at NCAA Division III Southern Vermont. He's averaging six points, six rebounds and four assists per game. He has been very good: 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Rivier College; 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Emerson College. And he has been very bad: three points, three assists, two rebounds and nine turnovers against Division I Princeton in mid-January.

'It was the first game back in the spotlight for him,' SVU coach Ryan Marks says. 'Wrong team to force things against.'

Overall, 'He's still a little less consistent than he wants to be, or I'd like him to be,' Marks adds.

No pro scouts have been around to watch Wolfinger play, but agents have been calling to try to represent him, Marks says. Wolfinger, oft-injured, has been nursing a sore hamstring.

Southern Vermont is 16-8 overall and 14-3 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The conference tournament is next week, and the winner goes to the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, Wolfinger's younger brother, Joe, a 6-11 center at Aloha High, has caught the scouts' eyes. Many list him as Division I material. Plus he's a better student than Jack. Among the schools recruiting him are the University of Portland, Idaho, Boise State, Sacramento State and DePaul.

Over and out

For the first time in 13 years, Lewis & Clark won't partake in postseason play. The Northwest Conference voted to simply send its league champion to the NCAA Division III tournament, and Puget Sound has the title wrapped up.

It's been an interesting season on Palatine Hill, with two senior guards out Ñ Josh Green is working on his thesis, Nate Kabanuck had knee surgery Ñ and the Pioneers doing a 180 and going from primarily post-up team to pretty much perimeter. The result: 13-8 overall, and 6-6 in the NWC.

The Pioneers have taken an astronomical 695 3-pointers, making 252 (.363), and depend on fourth players for scoring. John Mietus has returned from a year off to average 22 points and 12 rebounds, among the NWC leaders. Danny Winchester is averaging 15.9 points, but defenses have clamped down on the 3-point specialist and he's shooting just .375 from the arc. Ryan Wells (14 points per game) and Tommy Magnuson (10 points, six rebounds per game) will be the building blocks for next year.

'I didn't see us at the top of the league, anyway,' L&C coach Bob Gaillard says.

The Pios play at Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound this weekend, then finish the season with home games against Linfield on Tuesday and Pacific next Friday, both at 8 p.m. in the Pamplin Sports Center.

Notes

Concordia has won 20 games for the third time in five years and will play host to an NAIA Division II Cascade Conference playoff game on Wednesday. The Cavaliers (20-10, 10-6 Cascade), who play at Albertson tonight and Eastern Oregon on Saturday, have made the playoffs with six seniors. And they've done it without junior Brandon Erlandson, who was averaging 16 points and shooting .462 from 3-point land. The junior from Franklin High suffered a fractured thumb and had season-ending surgery last Tuesday. Seniors Andre Johnson (17 points per game) and Nate Ferrier have stepped up their games; Johnson had 19 and Ferrier 17 in last weekend's 85-82 win over Cascade.

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