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Early Signees Beware

Got a phone call the other day from former Potomac (Md.) High and Bowie State basketball coach Taft Hickman, now the coach at Kempsville High in Virginia Beach. Hickman was calling to voice his displeasure with Wichita State University, which refused to release one of Hickman's players from a letter-of-intent after former coach Mark Turgeon left for Texas A&M.

Instead, Wichita State told 6-9 center Denzel Bowles it would hold him to the LOI signed back in October. At the time, Bowles told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot "I just wanted to get this out of the way so I could focus on the upcoming season."

"Why is there an early signing period when you don't know if the coach you're signing for is going to be there in April?" Hickman said. "He just wants out of his commitment. It a ways away. They have a new staff. He felt comfortable with the other staff."

Bowles, who averaged 20.6 points and 10.8 rebounds this past season, cannot be contacted by any other schools without a release from the LOI. It usually is more of a procedural matter in these instances, though sometimes schools refuse to grant the release for various reasons.

By Josh Barr  | April 19, 2007; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Basketball  
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