Gaona: Ex-Amphi star Medford sees glimpse of future

2014-03-28T00:00:00Z Gaona: Ex-Amphi star Medford sees glimpse of futureBy Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Like most college basketball fans across the country, Lester Medford spent Thursday night in front of a TV set, watching the Sweet 16 games of the NCAA tournament.

Medford may have been getting a look at what his future possibly holds.

The Amphitheater graduate and sophomore at Indian Hills CC in Ottumwa, Iowa, is signed to spend his final two college seasons with the Baylor Bears, who lost to Wisconsin in the West Regional semifinals before the Arizona Wildcats beat San Diego State.

The 5-foot-11-inch Medford told me earlier this week it gives him a little bit of a chill knowing that he could be playing in the NCAA tournament next year, rather than watching it on TV.

“It’d mean a lot with all the hard work I put in,” Medford said. “Finally getting to achieve one of my goals is just a blessing.”

Getting to this point and earning a spot on a Division I program didn’t come easy for Medford, who helped Amphi win the 4A-II state title in 2011 and was named the Star’s Player of the Year that season.

Medford spent his first year out of high school at Arizona Western College and was named an NJCAA second-team All-American and the Region I Freshman of the Year but then he returned to Tucson and redshirted the following season with Pima College to focus on improving his grades.

Then Medford headed to Iowa for a fresh start at Indian Hills, and it paid off: He played in every game for the Warriors and helped them reach the NJCAA championship game last Saturday. He averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game and shot 40 percent from three-point range. Furthermore, it helped him earn a chance to play major college basketball.

“I wanted to play pretty bad,” Medford said. “I wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I went to a Division II or an NAIA or anything like that. I wanted to go to a high major.

“I’m looking forward to getting the exposure and playing against big-time competition to see where my skills are at.”

While Medford is clearly looking forward to reaching the next level, Amphi coach Ben Hurley also has plenty to celebrate: Medford will be joining former high school teammate and San Francisco sophomore Tim Derksen at the Division I level. Perhaps one day, Hurley will get to see both playing in the NCAA tournament in the same year.

“It’s neat to see him achieving that dream, even though it was kind of a long, winding road,” Hurley said about Medford. “He stuck with it, he persevered and to see him reach the goal is special.”

Rison deserved chance
to coach Rangers

Although former NFL star Andre Rison owes substantial amount of child support, becoming Rincon/University’s football coach could have been a step in the right direction for the school and him. While Rison’s past does raise some questions, he could have been a great answer for a program in need of serious help: Rincon is coming off an 0-10 season and hasn’t been to the state playoffs since 2006.

The fact that Rison pleaded guilty to owing more than $300,000 in child support two years ago and was placed on five years’ probation rather than in jail shows he’s not a danger to the public. Also, that he has not violated the terms of his probation shows he’s been on the right track. A coaching gig, at Rincon of all places, could have been the next step in his repent.

But since Rison didn’t clear TUSD’s hiring protocol, the Rangers are in dire need of a coach with spring football just weeks away. Rincon is not alone: Sierra Vista Buena is still also trying to find a coach after Ryan Scherling stepped down following two playoff seasons with the team.

Quick hits

  • Heading into Indiana’s game in the third round of the Women’s NIT on Thursday night, Flowing Wells grad
  • Lyndsay Leikem
  • , a freshman for the Hoosiers, was averaging 4.5 points in 15.6 minutes a game.
  • Canyon del Oro grad
  • David Metz
  • , a senior at Division II Western New Mexico, shot a 9-under 207 on Tuesday to win the 54-hole Cal Baptist Invitational by three shots for his first collegiate tournament victory.
  • Desert Christian golfer
  • Nick Latta
  • recently signed with The Master’s College, an NAIA Division I private institution in Santa Clarita, Calif., that competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com

or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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