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Merced High's Huddleston, Mann commit

Merced guard Deja Mann, shown here shooting over Pitman's defense, has committed to play at Arizona State next year.
Merced guard Deja Mann, shown here shooting over Pitman's defense, has committed to play at Arizona State next year. SUN-STAR FILE PHOTO

Deja Mann and Allen Huddleston have spent their past couple summers traveling around the country, hopping to different AAU basketball tournaments.

It seems all the travel and countless hours spent in the gym have paid off.

Both Merced High seniors have verbally committed to accept Division I basketball scholarships.

Mann will head to Arizona State and Huddleston to the University of the Pacific.

Huddleston becomes the first Merced boys basketball player to sign out of high school since Jamie Holmes went to Santa Clara in 1995.

"It's a big deal," Merced coach Marcus Knott said. " People have known how talented he is for a long time.

"It's a testament to him, because we've had other good players who were young and talented that didn't pan out."

Mann's excitement has been tempered the last couple days because she knows it will be months before she plays basketball again.

Mann reinjured the same left knee that forced her to miss her entire junior season.

On Wednesday, she underwent surgery to replace the ACL a second time in her left knee, and will be forced to miss another year.

"I've talked to ASU and they support me," Mann said. "I was worried because some schools back out.

"It just solidified that I made the right decision."

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