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JERRY KARPOWICZ

Journal Times

MILWAUKEE — A man is only as good as his word, and that is all Marquette University men's basketball followers have to comfort themselves with in regards to LeDaryl Billingsley, the 6-foot-7 forward from Morgan Park High School in Chicago. In this case, the man is Mike Daniels, Billingsley's stepfather.

"I'm telling everyone to relax," Daniels said via telephone Sunday from Chicago. "He's going to sign."

That's as close to a guarantee as Marquette is going to get until letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered to MU. The spring signing period started April 9 and runs for a month.

Daniels said Billingsley would not be providing any reassuring statements.

"Right now he doesn't want to talk to anyone," Daniels said. "And I'm not going to let him. Don't worry. Just don't worry."

Billingsley made a verbal commitment to MU late last summer. He did not make it official during last fall's signing period because he was concerned about his score on his college entrance test, a concern that proved to be unfounded.

Marquette gave what then was its last available scholarship to 6-10 center Greg Clausen of Dixon, Ill. A scholarship became available in January when Alton Mason transferred because of academic struggles.

Billingsley averaged 23 points and 18 rebounds a game as a senior. He was named to the Chicago Sun-Times' 20-player Class AA All-State team and received All-State special mention in the Chicago Tribune.

Daniels said a report Billingsley wanted to make a visit to another school so that he had something to compare Marquette with was not true. "We're not looking at any other schools," Daniels said. "He's not going anywhere."

Asked what was holding up the signing, Daniels said: "I just think he's nervous."

Daniels said he and Billingsley spoke with Marquette coach Mike Deane and assistant Bo Ellis last week. Marquette coaches cannot comment on recruits until they are signed.

One interested observer who can comment on Billingsley is Brian Wardle, the 6-5 forward from Hinsdale (Ill.) Central who signed with MU last fall.

"I haven't seen him in a while," said Wardle, who has played with and against Billingsley. "Hopefully, LeDaryl will come to Marquette. He's a great player."

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