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High school notes: Capital Christian's Lealao weighs Stanford football offer

Published: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 9C

Capital Christian's Nifae Lealao is trying to help the No. 3 Cougars repeat as Sac-Joaquin Section Division V boys basketball champions.

But the 6-foot-5, 275-pound junior also is the latest area big man to be the subject of intensive national football recruiting interest.

Lealao already has received a number of major college offers, including one from Stanford, his dream school.

"Coming behind Arik (Armstead) and Eddie (Vanderdoes), I've been able to witness what they've gone through, and I've already gotten a little taste after my sophomore season," said Lealao, listed as the No. 5 Class of 2014 defensive lineman by one recruiting service. "I understand how hectic it gets."

Attending Stanford has been one of Lealao's lifetime goals, as much for student life (he sings in the school choir and is involved in student government), future business prospects (he and another Capital Christian student are developing a clothing line) and school colors ("I've always loved red") as for the Cardinal's outstanding football program.

But Lealao hasn't verbally committed to Stanford despite admitting he was "in shock" when coach David Shaw offered a scholarship after Lealao attended a camp on campus last summer.

"Ever since I've been a little kid, I've wanted to go to Stanford," he said. "After attending the football camp and seeing the campus, I could envision myself being there.

"But I also realize that picking a college will be a lifetime decision. So I plan to take all five of my official trips (next fall and winter) to explore what else is out there."

Capital Christian boys basketball coach Devon Jones calls Lealao "an amazing kid," and not just because he averages a team-leading 12.4 points as well as 6.9 rebounds for the 19-2 Cougars.

"He's like no other kid I have met in my lifetime," Jones said. "He's a football All-American, yet he's also a great basketball and volleyball player. He's a 4.0 student, sings in the choir, serves on the student council, and when he's not doing all those things, he's in the chapel praying. He's our leader."

Rugged Metro – With No. 1 Sacramento, No. 3 Kennedy, No. 5 McClatchy and No. 11 Florin, the Metro Conference ranks as the Sac-Joaquin Section's second toughest in girls basketball behind the Delta River League.

Even with struggling Hiram Johnson and Valley, the Metro is the best Sacramento's Michele Massari has seen in her five seasons as the Dragons' coach. Kennedy's Dave Parsh, whose Cougars aspire to repeat as D-I section champions, agreed.

"McClatchy is young but up-and-coming," Parsh said. "Florin has been good the last three years; Sacramento's been good forever. There's a lot of tradition in the league and coaching consistency."

Titans' loss – How much has the Antelope girls basketball team missed Tyler Ellis?

Since the 6-1 post and twin of Titans boys star Isaiah Ellis sprained her right ankle in early January, the Titans (14-7, 2-3) have gone 4-4 and fallen out of The Bee's Top 20.

Coach Sean Chambers hopes to have Ellis, averaging 20.0 points and 16.8 rebounds, in the lineup for Wednesday's Capital Athletic League game at Whitney.

"She is ready to get back on the court," her mother, LaShawnda Barker, said in a text. "All she thinks and talks about is basketball. She wants to get back to help her team."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Bill Paterson



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