If there were a local boys basketball player of the month award for January, Rincon/University's Asha Esprit would have won it.
The 6-foot-6 University High senior averaged 29.4 points and 13.0 rebounds in nine games. He scored a career-high 38 points on Jan. 22 against Tucson and snagged a season-high 17 rebounds at Marana on Tuesday.
And basketball isn't Esprit's No. 1 priority: his education is. He has a 3.5 weighted GPA, got a 2,100 on his SAT and a 28 composite on his ACT.
The Star sat down with the three-year starter to find out more about him:
What kind of player would you describe yourself as?
A: "I'm just a banger in the post I guess, and a driver. The biggest two ways I score are just catching it on the block and just going to the bucket or catching it at the elbow and driving. And if they don't give me too much space, I'll shoot it from 15 or 18 feet."
How is life in the classroom?
A: "I have a lot of fun in school with my friends just learning things. ... There are classes I really enjoy and I'm really academically motivated. I like to learn things I'm interested in and that's why I decided to go to UHS, all the academics are great and really putting me on the right track for college."
What are your college plans?
A: "I just started playing basketball in the eighth grade and it's taken off a lot for me and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I've really started to love it lately and I definitely want to continue playing in college.
"As far as college, being academically motivated and athletically motivated, I'm looking for the right balance between the two. I want to find a school that I can be challenged academically and develop as a player."
Where do you think you'll rank among the recent greats in Tucson such as Bryce Cotton, Tim Derksen, Michael Perez and Terrell Stoglin?
A: "I wouldn't personally want to put myself on any level necessarily, but I do consider myself a good player and I do want to be able compete with players like that and I would love to be mentioned in the same sentence with guys like that."