This past spring, 6-foot-10, 230-pound Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View 2014 center Payton Dastrup seemingly came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the top center prospects in the country.
This past weekend offered another opportunity to see Dastrup at the Arizona Preps Fall Showcase. Here's an evaluation of Dastrup from the event:
One of the most skilled centers in the 2014 class, a camp like this can be difficult for a post, as it's tough to get the touches in the paint he would normally get in AAU or high school. That said, Dastrup played hard as always and had some nice moves under the basket, including an up an under that that would get his defender off balance. Dastrup is a really capable shooter for a big kid and that was on display, stepping out to hit some shots from beyond the arc. Dastrup did a nice job on the defensive glass and his big body makes it tough for guards to get into the lane when he's in there.
Dastrup is heading into his junior season with some goals in mind.
"I've got to keep getting more physical," Dastrup said. "I can't shy away from contact and I need to do better at drawing fouls. I have a goal for the season of drawing 12 foul shots a game, as well as one and-one per quarter. If I do that, I feel like I'll be able to get teams out of their comfort zone."
With basketball season almost here, Dastrup feels as if he's ready for a big year.
"Our team is working really hard," he said. "I've tried to become the leader of the team and push everybody in conditioning. I'm getting bigger from lifting weights throughout the off-season. Everything is going really well."
While Dastrup has a long list of offers, he mentioned Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, BYU, Florida, Virginia, USC and California as the schools showing him the most interest.
The local schools have spent a lot of time recruiting Dastrup, and he broke down his thoughts on both of them.
Arizona: "I like that they have an established program. Coach Lute Olson was there and now Sean Miller has taken over and has a good incoming recruiting class with (Kaleb) Tarczewski, (Grant) Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Gabe York. I think they're going to do really well. I went down there and played against their guys recently and just really like their program."
Arizona State: "It's close to home; it's about a 10 minute drive from my house. If I were to go there then my family could easily go to games. Coach (Herb) Sendek has hired a couple new assistant coaches and I got to meet with them, which was a really good experience to get a feel for what they want to bring to the program. I also got to play with their guys."
As of now, Dastrup doesn't plan on rushing a commitment.
"I'm probably not going to make a decision until next season," he said.