While many of the Washington area's top high school basketball players have declared their collegiate intentions over the past few months, one waited until yesterday to make up his mind. Today, Episcopal forward Arinze Onuaku will make his choice official when he signs a national letter-of-intent to play for Syracuse.

Today is the first day of the weeklong early signing period in which high school seniors can sign binding paperwork to accept college scholarships in most sports other than football.

Most top-flight basketball prospects declare their intentions well ahead of time, including O'Connell guard Marcus Ginyard, who prior to his junior season committed to North Carolina.

Among other seniors who previously made known their choices are DeMatha guard Mamadi Diane (Virginia), Potomac (Md.) forward Dante Cunningham (Villanova) and Gwynn Park forward Robert Diggs (George Washington).

Onuaku, who is 6 feet 9 and 255 pounds, waited until yesterday before choosing Syracuse over Maryland, Georgia and Boston College.

"He was very methodical about the whole process," Episcopal Coach Tim Jaeger said. "He filled out a chart for all four schools and the things that were important to him. He said the chart didn't help him much and that he would be happy at any one of those schools. In the end, he went with his gut feeling."