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Eldorado’s Gentry visiting Texas, Alabama on spring break

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Spring break scatters the thousands of students in Albuquerque Public Schools to all corners of the country for vacation.

Zach Gentry, too – although his is a working vacation. He’s on a prolonged scouting trip.

Eldorado’s Gentry was in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday and Thursday for an unofficial visit with the University of Texas – and then he’ll make his way to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a weekend visit with Alabama.

Gentry, the Eagles’ junior quarterback and one of the country’s hottest prospects, will attend Alabama’s A-Day Game on Saturday.

“I’ve been talking regularly with Coach (Lane) Kiffin and Coach (Nick) Saban. There’s a mutual excitement for me to get there to Tuscaloosa and check everything out. I’m looking forward to the visit,” he told the website TiderInsider.com.

Gentry already had a slew of high-profile programs offer him a scholarship, but then his profile took a decided uptick when Saban and the Crimson Tide offered last month.

The fleet-footed, strong-armed Gentry (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) already has taken unofficial visits to Tennessee and Oklahoma State.

He’ll arrive in Tuscaloosa today to tour the campus, then soak up the A-Day game Saturday.

Eldorado junior quarterback Zach Gentry (11) was scheduled to travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to visit the Alabama campus today and Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Eldorado junior quarterback Zach Gentry (11) was scheduled to travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to visit the Alabama campus today and Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

“It was necessary to (take some early visits),” Gentry told the Journal on Wednesday night by phone from Austin. He said he sat in on a UT quarterback meeting earlier Wednesday. “When I think about my future, spending four and possibly five years somewhere, I want to make sure it’s the most comfortable decision for me.”

He received a facilities tour at UT on Thursday. He flies out today to Birmingham, Ala., then on to Tuscaloosa.

Gentry indicated that he likes the direction of the Alabama offense under new offensive coordinator Kiffin, which could include more throwing.

In either event, Gentry said he believes he’ll choose a school by early summer.

“Unless I get a really, really strong feeling and like the situation at the school,” he said. “But I think I’d go back home and take a few weeks to reflect.”

Other schools that have offered Gentry include Louisville, San Diego State, Maryland, TCU, Northwestern, Nebraska, Oregon State, New Mexico and New Mexico State.

KING TO ARIZONA: Clovis boys basketball coach and La Cueva alum Matt King has left the Wildcats.

Although it was more or less a done deal a week ago, he was able to finally confirm to the Journal on Monday that he has accepted a job as the boys basketball head coach at Sandra Day O’Connor High in north Phoenix.

King led the Wildcats into the 2013 Class 5A state championship game, where Clovis fell to Las Cruces. He described SDO as a young program.

“I’m excited to be a part of building it,” King said. “It reminds me a lot of Volcano Vista and La Cueva when they started.”

FINALLY, AN ANSWER (WE THINK): ESPN’s Sport Science Division a few days ago ran a piece that addresses an issue that drives baseball purists crazy – players diving into first base.

The piece concluded that a player running through the bag will reach the bag faster than a player who dives, or slides, into it. The margin? According to ESPN, it’s about 3 inches, or roughly the diameter of a baseball. Enough to make the difference on a bang-bang play, that’s for sure.

However, that 3-inch margin took into account a player who basically dived and landed his left hand directly on the bag without kicking up much dust.

Players who initiate a slide even earlier than that will encounter ground friction that will further slow their time to first base, ESPN’s piece asserted.

THIS AND THAT: Sandia Prep softball coach Leonard Garcia recently hit the 200-win milestone for his career. He has also coached at West Mesa. … Speaking of the Mustangs, they have a new girls basketball coach: Manny Otero. He replaces Brett Jones, who had coached the team for the past 10 years. The Mustangs are coming off a winless 2013-14 season. … The Albuquerque Invitational track and field meets are Saturday at Milne and Wilson stadiums. Most of city’s APS programs will be at one site or the other. … Both tennis and golf’s Albuquerque Metro Championships are next week. Golf is Monday morning at Desert Greens in Paradise Hills. Tennis begins Monday afternoon at the Jerry Cline complex and Albuquerque Academy. The boys are at Jerry Cline on Monday through Wednesday, then shift to Academy the rest of the week. The girls will be at Academy every day. The singles and doubles finals are a week from Saturday.

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