Bateman Trying to Be a Bruin

The #20-raniked wide receiver in the country, Los Angeles Crenshaw's Kemonte Bateman, who verbally committed to UCLA early, talked to us about the academic work he's putting in so he can live up to that commitment and be at UCLA next fall...

Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw receiver Kemonte Bateman, one of the top prospects in UCLA's class of 2008, is diligently working hard to ensure he can play for the Bruins next fall.

"I've been doing everything I can to get my grades up," said Bateman. "I'm working with tutors to prepare for the SAT, I'm doing everything in the classroom, doing all the work I can, because I'm still solid to UCLA and I want to play there."

Bateman said this Saturday will be his first crack at the SAT this fall. Afterwards, he plans to head to the Rose Bowl to catch his first UCLA game this year.

"I've been watching them, but I haven't been able to get to the games. I've been working on other stuff," said Bateman. "I talked to E (UCLA wide receiver coach Eric Scott) and he said to make sure I'm doing all the work. I'm going to talk to Coach (Karl) Dorrell and Coach (DeWayne) Walker too on Saturday. UCLA is where I want to be."

But though he's trying to do the work to get his academics in order to qualify at UCLA, he's still hearing from other schools and keeping them as options. "I talked to Coach Yarbs (Eric Yarber) at Arizona State and to Coach (Eric) Kiesau at Colorado," said Bateman. "They know I'm committed to UCLA, but said if things change, then to consider them. I may take a trip to both of those schools."

This weekend, Crenshaw has a bye before starting Coliseum League play next weekend. It's been a trying season for Bateman and his Cougar teammates. "I have only three touchdowns right now. We're just trying to make some adjustments on offense. Now Clint (Floyd) is playing quarterback so there have been a lot of changes. I've been playing a lot of defense, though," said Bateman.

Bateman has had a chance to play against a few of his future teammates, and will get another chance when Crenshaw plays Dorsey. "We played against Culver City this last weekend. Antwon Moutra, he's really good and on both sides of the ball. I think he's going to be a pretty good receiver and we're going to have a really good receiving group at UCLA. I went up against Aaron Hester (when Crenshaw played Compton Dominguez), but only on one play. But he's real good, too," said Bateman.

The Crenshaw schedule has been tougher than in recent years, but Bateman sees a silver lining. He said, "Playing these five tough preseason games is going to make us more prepared for the Coliseum League. We have Locke next weekend, then we play Dorsey the weekend after."

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