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October 17, 2002

Are Diarra and Hawkins Bound for Tampa?

Visits to Tampa last weekend clearly left an impression on potential basketball recruits Konimba Diarra and Shawn Hawkins, and both appear close to making a decision on where they'll play their college ball.

Diarra, from Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y., said South Florida is now atop his list and he expects to make a decision next week, following a visit to SUNY Stoney Brook. He has already made an official trip to St. Joseph's.

"South Florida is my favorite," the 6-foot-9 center said Thursday night. "The guys on the team were nice. I have a former teammate there (freshman guard Sheldon Franklin)."

Diarra averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots as a junior at Our Savior.

Hawkins, a 6-6 wing forward from Columbus (Ohio) State Community College and the grandson of NBA Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins, has trimmed his recruiting list to USF and Long Beach State, according to CSCC Head Coach Anthony Gholson.

Gholson, who accompanied Hawkins on his visit to Tampa, said his star scorer was very impressed with USF and enjoyed Friday's Midnight Mania event and Saturday's football game against Southern Miss.

"He's not going to make his other visits," Gholson said. "It's going to be a decision between South Florida and Long Beach State."

Hawkins, who averaged 18 points and nine rebounds last season, was also being recruited by Old Dominion, South Alabama, Georgia State and Eastern Kentucky.

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