LAS VEGAS – With an 8 a.m. tipoff today, Ray Arvizu knew he needed to think ahead.
So the Arizona Stars coach, who is the mentor of former Wildcat guard Daniel Bejarano, instilled a plan for sleep. First, he took all his players’ video games away on Thursday, and he did not let them nap all day on Thursday. Then he enforced a 9 p.m. lights-out bedtime on Thursday night.
You could say it worked. The Stars awoke at 5:45 a.m., had a light breakfast of fruit… and then beat up on Washington’s Emerald City Pioneers 58-39 in the first game of the day at Durango High School’s main gym in the Las Vegas Classic.
Stars guard Dorian Pickens, a 2014 prospect from Pinnacle High School who is being closely watched by the Wildcats, said it turned out to be no big deal.
“It doesn’t really affect me,” he said of the early start. “It is difficult to get up for the early games but I don’t have trouble getting out here and playing.”
For NAU coach Jack Murphy, the former UA manager and administrative aide, scouting games at Durango is something of a homecoming. He started his basketball career as a high schooler at Durango, before helping out at UNLV and working his way onto Lute Olson’s staff at Arizona.
Murphy, who assisted Josh Pastner at Memphis before getting the Lumberjack job last spring, said he scored a couple of baskets for Durango but was mostly a manager.
“I realized my limitations early on in my career,” Murphy said.
Playing for the Arizona Select, Mesa Mountain View’s Payton Dastrup showed why he’s collecting scholarships all over the West. The big man from the class of 2014 showed off a solid face-up game, good court awareness and has good hands while the Select nearly held off Houston Hoops in another Las Vegas Classic game today.
Already, his talents have prompted the Wildcats to jump on him in March, offer him a scholarship shortly thereafter and enticed him to visit campus in May.
“Payton’s recruiting is blowing up,” Select coach Dwain Schallenberger said. “He doesn’t even list any schools right now because he’s playing so well.”
Had this update on the oft-injured Eric Cooper in today's edition. I've attached an old video about the fathers of Cooper and Nick Johnson during their Banning High School days. It's worth a look if you haven't seen it already...