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Basketball: Gallon’s coach unsure about choice

I talked this morning with Steve Smith, coach at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who admitted he has no new insights into where his 6-foot-9 center prospect, Keith Gallon, is headed to college. Smith confirmed that Cal is among Gallon’s three finalists, but said he hadn’t talked to Gallon since the player returned from a weekend recruiting visit to Mississippi State.

Smith said Gallon — rated as the No. 31 prospect in the nation by rivals.com — has waffled a bit between signing with a school during the fall letter-of-intent period that begins Nov. 12 or waiting until the spring. 

Asked about earlier comments by Gallon that he would wait to sign, Smith said, “That’s what he was planning. I’m not sure (what he’s going to do). He talked about signing early, but if he does that means Cal would probably be in a little bit of trouble because he hasn’t had a chance to visit Cal.”

Gallon has talked about making a visit to the Berkeley campus sometime around the Christmas holiday. Cal currently has no scholarships for next year that aren’t spoken for, but that could change by the spring in the event of defections or early graduations.

“They’re definitely top three,” Smith said of Cal. “It’s just a matter of whether he gets through the early signing period or not.”

Gallon grew up in Vallejo before moving with his family to the Houston area several years ago. This will be his second season at Oak Hill, one of the nation’s top prep-school basketball programs. Gallon also has visited Oklahoma.

Smith said Gallon can become a very good college player. 

“He’s a very skilled guy for his size — he’s a big guy,  6-9 and around 300 pounds,” Smith said. “But he’s very agile, got great hands and feet for a a guy his size. He’s a good paser, shoots it well. He’s very talented.

“He just needs to lose some of the excess weight. He’s lost 20 to 25 pounds this year,” Smith said. “He couldn’t lose any weight last year. This year seems more dedicated, he has more of a desire to lose weight.”

Jeff Faraudo