But he became enamored with playing in the Big East and with the opportunity to get "solid minutes right away," Collins said.
Gause led South Jersey with an average of 33.9 points per game last season and sparked Schalick, a tiny school located in Pittsgrove, Salem County, to the NJSIAA Group 1 state final. He also led South Jersey in scoring as a junior (30.7 ppg.).
According to Collins, Gause is close to meeting the NCAA's academic-eligibility requirements that would allow him to play as a freshman. The NCAA requires players to have a 2.5 grade point average and an 820 SAT score to be eligible. A sliding scale is used, so requirements can vary.
Gause has a 2.2 GPA, but it could improve to 2.5 if he maintains the A averages he holds in English and Science, Collins said. A 2.5 GPA, coupled with his 830 SAT score, would make him eligible as a freshman.
Collins had thought James Madison was a perfect fit for Gause, but he said he was also happy with Seton Hall and coach Louis Orr. "It's only about an hour and a half or two hours away, I can see him on ESPN, and I can go to Villanova when he plays there," the coach said.
Seton Hall, which has signed four frontcourt players for the 2005-06 season, had been searching for a guard. Provided he is eligible, Gause could jump-start a team that averaged only 62.7 points per game last year and did not have a player average at least 12 points per game.
"They need someone who can shoot - and he can shoot," Collins said. "They only have a couple of guards on their roster, so right now, he's looking at the No. 3 guard [spot] - at the worst."
Seton Hall junior J.R. Morris, who averaged 10.1 points per game as a starting guard last year, has declared himself eligible for the June 28 NBA draft. Another Seton Hall guard, Justin Cerasoli, who averaged 6.2 points per game as a part-time starter last year, has been granted permission to transfer.
"Paul's looking at this as a chance to get solid minutes right away, which is important to him," Collins said.
Gause scored 3,144 points in his career. He was also a standout two-way back in football, and he is believed to be the only athlete in history to be South Jersey's top football and basketball scorer in the same school year.
College basketball's second signing period started April 13 and ends today.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or email@example.com.