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ELK GROVE, CA - Malik Pope, the heralded prospect from Elk Grove's Laguna Creek High School, once regarded as one of the nation's top high school basketball athletes, signed a letter of intent to play at San Diego State.

Pope autographed his letter of intent during a District signing on Wednesday morning, alongside 12 other athletes from seven high schools in the Elk Grove area.

The 6-foot-8 Pope, who was ranked by Rivals as the nation's No. 17 player, heads to the Aztecs as the highest touted high school product in the program's history.

Last February, Pope suffered a a freak injury which caused him to miss the rest of the season. During a layup drill, he went up for a dunk, but his left tibia broke underneath him.

In September, it happened again. During an exhibition game in Natomas, Pope again crumbled after attempting to leap during warmups. His left leg, broken again, ending his senior year before the season even tipped off.

"Man, that was one of the hardest experiences of my life, to happen twice," Pope told News10. "Man, and miss my whole senior year. I ain't got a choice but to make the good out of it though, because if I make the bad (from the setback), I'm losing."

Despite the setbacks from the two freak injuries, Pope, who never had surgery to his leg, remained one the nation's top recruits. He was lured by nine finalist programs: Kansas, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Oregon, Gonzaga, Washington, and Cal.

After much thought, Pope wanted to join the Aztecs and join four other Sacramento area players who currently play for San Diego State under head coach Steve Fisher.

While Pope will not play this season, he's walking without crutches, and has been for the past two weeks.

Below is a list of Sacramento area prep athletes who signed letters of intent on Wednesday:

Sacramento: Ayanna Edwards - Arizona St. - Women's Basketball

Sacramento: Chaya Durr - UC Santa Barbara - Women's Basketball

Sacramento: Zonyia Cormier - Cal Poly - Women's Basketball

Sacramento: Simone Sheppard - UNLV - Women's Basketball

Sacramento: Najah Queenland - Pacific - Women's Basketball

Monterey Trail: Jasmine Redmon - Hawaii - Women's Basketball

Florin: Dalayna Sampton - Hawaii - Women's Basketball

Elk Grove: Derek Hill - Oregon - Baseball

Elk Grove: Morgan Evangelista - Bowling Green - Softball

Cosumnes Oaks: Julia Morales - Oakland University - Softball

Pleasant Grove: Sarah Debnekoff - Morehead St. - Golf

Pleasant Grove:Martin Gonzalez - Dominican Univ. - Soccer

Pleasant Grove: Marissa Maligad - Sac State - Softball

Pleasant Grove: Vanessa Washington - Delaware St. - Softball

Pleasant Grove: Aaliyah Pena - U.C. Riverside - Women's Basketball

Sheldon: Anessa Kaylor - San Jose St. - Softball

Sheldon:Zamari Hinton - Sac State - Softball

Christian Brothers: Brandon Hunley - Sac State - Baseball

Christian Brothers: Haley Snyder - Stanford - Softball

Oak Ridge: Josh Wellman - Penn St. - Lacrosse

Oak Ridge: Lindsey Zito - Humboldt St. - Softball

Oak Ridge: Caitlyn Olan - San Bernardino - Softball

Oak Ridge: Austin Root - Sac State - Baseball

Bella Vista: Sara Hibbs - San Jose St - Volleyball

Bella Vista: Brayden Gomez - Abilene Christian - Baseball

Marysville: Brina Buttacavoli - Utah St. - Softball

St. Francis: Anna Baytosh - Chico St. - Volleyball

St. Francis: Karson Bisharat - Central Arizona - Volleyball

St. Francis: Lea Felton - Hawaii Pacific - Volleyball

St. Francis: Alejandra Garcia - Cal Poly - Softball

St. Francis: Hannah Gasser - San Diego St. - Crew

St. Francis:Chole Hakim - UC Irvine - Volleyball

St. Francis: Jacqueline Holben - Cal - Crew

St. Francis: Maddison Johnson - TCU - Swimming

St. Francis: Sophie Kershaw - Georgetown - Crew

St. Francis: Ali Koumelis - Portland - Volleyball

St. Francis: Emily Laskin - Navy - Golf

St. Francis: AnnClaire MacArt - Dartmouth - Swimming

St. Francis: Alexis Martinez - Seattle - Swimming

St. Francis: Noa Nightingale - UC Santa Barbara - Volleyball

St. Francis: Nina Obaldia - Cal - Crew

St. Francis: Jullisa Romani - San Diego - Crew

St. Francis: Megan Sullivan - UC Santa Barbara - Volleyball

Granite Bay: Vinny Esposito - Sac State - Baseball

Granite Bay: Devin Lehman - Sac State - Baseball

Granite Bay: Mitch Hart - USC - Baseball

Granite Bay: Connor Briare - Loyola - Baseball

Granite Bay: Taylor Nelson - Cal Poly - Volleyball

Granite Bay: Maddy Deters - Concordia-Irvine - Volleyball

Del Campo: Sam Long - Sac State - Baseball

Rocklin: Ryan Smith - Sac State - Baseball

Woodland Christian: Anthony Castaneda - Sac State - Baseball

Valley Christian: Jeremiah Moore - Sac State - Baseball

Vanden: Mariah Williams - Nevada-Reno - Women's Basketball

By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10.net
Twitter: @News10Sean

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