North High’s Daniel Bejarano will play at Colorado State

It looks like Daniel Bejarano has found some love in Colorado.  The all-star guard from North High School wasn’t getting enough love in Tucson – and not nearly enough playing time.

So the prolific shooting guard, who was the top college basketball prospect in the state when the University of Arizona offered him a spot in their program, picked up his basketball and departed the program after a disappointing freshman season.

He played eight games and was averaging less than four minutes, while posting stats of 0.8 points and 0.5 rebounds a game.  Not what he had anticipated when signing on with the Wildcats

Now it appears he has found a new home at Colorado State University, where he will sit out next year and then have three years left to give the Rams.

As we pointed out in an April 28 article on this site, Bejarano would likely be picked up by a Division I school, but it will be one that plays on a stage smaller than he would have enjoyed in the Pac-10

CSU plays in the Mountain West Conference.  Still a Division I program, but not the Pac-10.

The Rams, a 19-13 team last season, play in front of an average home crowd of 4,879 fans in Moby Arena.  In Bejarano’s former home, McKale Center, he was enjoying crowds that averaged over 14,000.  Arizona leads the Pac-10 in attendance, filling 99 percent of the facility’s 14,545 seats every home game.

Colorado State doesn’t have the tradition and national stature of the Wildcat program on which to draw attention to the program.  But a new coach is trying to change all that, and the program has been steadily improving during the four years that Tim Miles has been directing Rams basketball.

Last season was the first winning record in four years.  The 2010-2011 squad was just the 10th team in CSU history to secure 19 wins in a season.  And the 9-7 finish in conference was the school’s best in the 12-year history of the Mountain West Conference.

So, it’s not Arizona basketball.  But it’s probably a good landing for the young guard who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds during his senior year at North, leading the central Phoenix school to two straight state titles.

Maybe he will be able to begin living up to the lofty stature the recruiting services gave him coming out of high school.  He was ranked as the No. 40 overall prospect by one service and the No. 13 shooting guard in the nation by Rivals.com.

Bejarano is actually the second transfer into the CSU program from a D-I school.  Colton Iverson, a 6’10” center from Minnesota, will play his final year of eligibility with the Rams.

Iverson will be joining Bejarano in sitting out next season, per NCAA guidelines.  So their impact won’t be felt until the 2012-13 season.

If the CSU program continues improving next season, adds a Big Ten center to the roster, and Bejarano gets a redshirt season under his belt, the youngster from North High may be able to step into a good opportunity in 2012.

And then he’ll get the chance to show what he can do with some playing time.  It will just be on a smaller stage.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics/Luke Adams)