Bejarano leaves UA basketball; Jahii hopes ASU fits better

Daniel Bejarano‘s basketball resume suffered a serious hit this year.

The former No. 1 college prospect in the state of Arizona is leaving the University of Arizona basketball team after just one season and is in search of a new program.

His resume: 0.8 points and 0.5 rebounds per game, 12.5 percent in field-goal shooting, and 3.8 minutes playing time per game.  No starts.

A year ago, his resume looked much more impressive: top-75 overall prospect in the 2010 class, All-State first team selection, averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds per game, and led his North High School (Phoenix) team to two straight state titles.

But that was high school.  Now he has to rely on stats acquired on the much bigger stage of college basketball.

And right now he doesn’t have much to show.

The combo guard was in big demand his senior year at North and had turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Texas to switch his commitment to the Wildcats and their new coach, Sean Miller.

He had a great work ethic, a winning attitude… and could shoot the lights out.  He was expected to be able to contribute to Miller’s rebuilding effort right from the git-go.

But 3.8 minutes a game is probably not what he had in mind.

He held out hope until the final month of the season, when he realized his chances of breaking into the rotation weren’t going to be realized.  Perhaps he should have been better prepared to accept minimal time his freshman year since he knew when he accepted the Wildcat scholarship that the Cats were returning both experience and talent at the shooting guard spot.

As the season came to a close and he looked ahead to next season, he found himself caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Arizona has three experienced guards returning for next season in Kyle Fogg, MoMo Jones, and Brendon Lavender.  Add to that Jordin Mayes, another sophomore fighting for playing time.

And then he had to consider the incoming crop of recruits that includes two more top-tier guards, Josiah Turner and a local product from Gilbert High School, Nick Johnson.  Turner is the first-ever 5-star recruit for Coach Miller and Johnson was ranked as the No. 8 shooting guard in the country last year.

How’s that for having the deck stacked against you?

The main knock on Bejarano is his defense, which can be improved with enough work.  On the plus side, he’s a hard worker, a solid team player, and has a great attitude.  Even after a season of riding the bench.

Hopefully, his future college will take those attributes into consideration when reviewing his resume.

The natural question arises about whether the 6’4″, 208 lb. combo guard will try to re-kindle interest at Arizona State and take his services to Arizona’s hated rival.  ASU coach Herb Sendek has admitted that he and his staff had their collective eye on Bejarano, long before his senior year in high school.

In fact, they recruited him hard and even offered him a scholarship – which they later rescinded.  Maybe it’s time for another look.  After all, ASU won just 12 games last season and finished dead last in the Pac-10 standings.

Of course, Sendek is also getting ready to welcome a home-grown recruit of his own, Jahii Carson from Mesa High School.  Carson is a four-star point guard who is the No. 10 nationally-rated player at his position.  He, too, is expected to make an immediate impact.

Carson was also heavily recruited by both ASU and UofA.  He chose the Sun Devils because he figured he’d have a better chance of getting playing time in Tempe since the Cats were knee-deep in guards.

Sounds like Carson might have made a better choice of suitors than Bejarano did.  But we won’t know that until the incoming freshman tries to get his own share of court time next season.

And like Bejarano, he’ll find out just how big a step it is to the next level.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics/Luke Adams)