Centennial’s Vozzola commits to USD

Centennial High School senior-to-be boys basketball player Ben Vozzola said Friday he gave an oral commitment to the University of San Diego on Thursday.

Vozzola, a 6-foot-5-inch combo guard, chose the Toreros over scholarship offers from Fresno State, Santa Clara, Arizona State, Washington State, Colorado State, Utah, UNR, Northern Arizona and Portland.

"I’m pretty excited," Vozzola said. "It’s a good decision."

Vozzola said he chose USD partly because the coaching staff wants him to contribute immediately.

"The coaching staff was great and I could make an impact as a freshman," he said. "They don’t want me to change my game.

"It’s close to Vegas and my family. They can go to a lot of games. It’s a good fit for me."

Vozzola starred recently on the summer circuit at the Reebok Summer Championships, leading Branch West Prep (Calif.) to the A Division title game.

Vozzola, who mentioned being named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year as a goal, said USD was attracted to his versatility.

"I can play multiple positions," he said. "I’m versatile. They think I’m ready."

Bob Gottlieb, director of the Branch West program, said Vozzola’s play over the summer gave his already-rising recruiting star a boost. Branch West Prep was 6-2 at the Reebok Summer Championships and 5-2 at the ensuing Double Pump Basketball Best of the Summer Tournament at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.

"His play this summer spoke for itself and got him recruited," said Gottlieb, a former head coach at Jacksonville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Gottlieb called Vozzola a "major-league shooter" who is more likely to play shooting guard than point guard.

"I’m really happy for Ben," Gottlieb said. "He certainly earned it. He became one of the highest-recruited players in the West over the summer."

Vozzola led the Bulldogs to a 16-14 record and fourth-place finish in the talent-rich Northwest League last season. He’ll be the cornerstone of the team next season under new head coach Todd Allen.

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