Wednesday began the NCAA Fall Signing Period across the state with many of the top-rated boys prospects in Arizona signing their national letters of intent with their respective programs. I have billed the 2014 class of boys prospects in the state as the top class ever in the state of Arizona. While there are still many of the state's top student-athletes in the class still remaining unsigned for the spring evaluation period, many of the top-rated senior prospects got it done on Wednesday.
I spent my evening at the home of 6-foot-3 senior guard Tate De Laveaga as he signed his national letter of intent with Northern Arizona University - giving head coach Jack Murphy and his basketball staff their first signee of the 2014 class.
De Laveaga worked very hard over the past several years to develop as a player physically and mentally in preparation for the college level. While being celebrated by many friends and family, Tate would receive kind words of love and appreciation from his family, while giving praises to the people who had helped him throughout his high school career. It was an emotional and rewarding evening for a family that had been through a lot over the years.
"You pushed me to be the young man I am today, and I know you will be successful in everything you do," Tate's older brother Kye De Laveaga told him during the evening.
Very few prospects improved as much or more than De Laveaga from their sophomore to junior seasons, as he gained 15 pounds of muscle and, as a result, saw his overall game soar as a player. As a result of his rapid development as a player while playing against much stronger competition at Westwind Prep, De Laveaga earned several scholarship offers early.
Throughout the last spring and summer, and while already committed to a division-I program before the club season, De Laveaga would lead his club program to two different exposure tournament championships, including the Double Pump Hoop Fest in California, and a semi-final tournament finish in the Double Pump Spring Classic in Nevada.
De Laveaga is currently finishing his senior year while taking classes at Pinnacle High School - sitting out his senior season due to AIA transfer rules.
Also joining De Laveaga during the early signing period, scheduled to sign national letters of intent with their respective schools of choice are South Mountain High School's 6-foot-8 senior forward Zylan Cheatham (San Diego State), Sunnyslope High School's 6-foot-10 senior post Michael Humphrey (Stanford), Mesa Mountain View HS 6-foot-10 senior post Payton Dastrup (BYU), Corona Del Sol HS 6-foot-9 senior post Connor MacDougall (Arizona State), Corona Del Sol HS 6-foot-3 senior point guard Casey Benson (University of Oregon), Dobson HS 6-foot-4 senior guard Kodi Justice (Arizona State University), Dobson HS 6-foot-5 senior guard/forward Ryan Richardson (Weber State University), Highland HS 6-foot-6 senior forward Jake Toolson (BYU) and Gilbert Christian HS 6-foot-7 senior guard/forward Sam Jones (PENN).
Congratulations to each of these young men on their amazing accomplishment of signing a college basketball scholarship from our staff here at Arizona Preps.