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O’Neal Misses SAT, Heads For NBA Draft

June 6, 1996

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Jermaine O’Neal likely won’t take another test until he goes against Patrick Ewing or David Robinson in the NBA next season.

The Eau Claire High School prep star, who last month said he wanted to attend college if he could qualify, missed his final chance at the admission test and will head to the NBA draft June 26.

O’Neal’s mother, Angela Ocean, said Wednesday the 17-year-old player did not take the Scholastic Assessment Test last Saturday because he was not in town. She would not say where he was.

He was still out of town Wednesday, his mother said.

O’Neal announced May 3 he would make himself eligible for the draft. But he said he would take the SAT twice more before the draft to raise his score the necessary 100 points to qualify for college.

If he got into school, and was not drafted high enough, O’Neal said he would choose among South Carolina, Clemson and Kentucky.

On May 6, O’Neal’s first SAT opportunity, there was a foul-up in test sites and he went to the wrong school. This time, Ocean said her son did not sign up for the exam.

``I’m in shock about the whole thing,″ she said. ``But I’m happy. It’s a great opportunity.″

Spokeswoman Arlene Rohrer from the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., said the June 1 test date was the last time a high school senior could take the SAT.

Ocean said she and her son were preparing to go to New York at the end of the month for the NBA draft. O’Neal, a 6-foot-11 center with good passing and shooting skills, is expected to go in the first round.

Ocean said her son had workouts with several NBA teams scheduled, including the Charlotte Hornets, the Sacramento Kings, the Orlando Magic, the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers.

O’Neal will join Lower Merion (Pa.) star Kobe Bryant and Taj McDavid of Palmetto High School in Williamston as high schoolers who have declared themselves eligible for the pros this season.

Scouts and advisors have counseled O’Neal to stay in school, but the player thought he was ready for a challenge.

Yes, going up against the Magic’s Shaquille O’Neal and San Antonio’s Robinson would be difficult. ``But I know I can do it,″ he said.

Eau Claire coach George Glymph said O’Neal doesn’t have an agent yet, only a financial advisor.

Glymph says he would’ve liked to see his player go to college, but thought O’Neal heard a lot of positive talk about his draft prospects.

``I think that’s what really decided it for him,″ the coach said.

Kevin Garnett, who played three years at Mauldin High School, was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves last season out of high school. Garnett improved as the season wore on and scored in double figures 32 of his last 33 games.

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