The early bird got the

gusano

.

Gusano is Spanish for worm and Long Island University, which was the first to show sincere interest, is where Miguel Bocachica, a 6-6, 185-pound forward at Imhotep Charter by way of George Washington, will be playing his college ball.

The official visit was made in October. The decision was made last night.

"I made an unofficial visit to Fairfield, and also heard from St. Peter's, La Salle, Quinnipiac and Hartford," Bocachica said. "Long Island has been there all along, going back to the summer. They never lost interest. That meant a lot to me.

"They said they see me as a versatile player. As someone they can just throw out there on the court, and then have me produce. They like how I shoot it and how I'm now taking better shots. And that my defense is much better. That's one thing about Imhotep. If you're not playing defense, you're not getting on the court."

A side benefit to attending LIU for Bocachica: His good buddy, Northeast product Sean Evans, plays for nearby St. John's.

While acknowledging he was in no hurry to commit, Bocachica, who lives near Rising Sun and Magee, is breathing a sigh of relief.

"I can settle down and just play," he said. "One thing you don't want to do is wait around until Conshohocken [postseason all-star tournament] and not even know if you're going to come away with a scholarship.

"LIU was nice to me all along. And when I made the visit, everything felt right." *