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June 15, 2012
Arizona hosted 2014 Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View big man prospect Payton Dastrup for an unofficial visit Thursday. It was a good trip for the 6-foot-9, 225-pound prospect who picked up on offer from head coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats before the visit was over.
The rising junior's father, David, accompanied him on the trip and the pair was impressed with its face-to-face meeting with Miller and the staff.
"It was a great visit," David Dastrup said. "We've had some conversations on the phone over the last six weeks or so, and today (Thursday) was finally the day that worked out for us to make the trip down there. So we were excited to get down there and put some personal experiences to the conversations we've had on the phone.
"And it definitely didn't disappoint at all."
For the Dastrups getting out on a visit to Tucson meant getting to interact with the coaching staff and get a better feel for the program as a whole. In that sense the trip went about as smoothly as is possible.
"There weren't any awkward or silent moments where people didn't know what to say," David said. "It was real natural with no lapses in the conversation. Coach Miller and the coaching staff were real clear and direct about their feelings and opinions of Payton and the type of basketball player he can evolve into if he continues his high school career.
"And they've expressed very clearly that, based on what he has achieved and accomplished to this degree in his young career, they felt Arizona is a good fit for him to expand and extend his desire to pursue basketball.
"And that's exactly what they followed that up with on our visit."
Even though Dastrup has the size and ability to play in the post, he also has quite the skill set when moving up and down the court. Because of that ability, his father feels UA would be a good fit should he end up with the Wildcats.
"I think Payton's strength is a high-paced tempo," he said. "In his high school setting, it's obviously a more controlled, half-court setting and he's done well with that. But I think Payton's athleticism and size can create mismatches when the team is in transition, because a lot of guys his size might not have the athleticism to keep up or to move quite as quickly.
"And again I think that creates some mismatches that if you're in the half-court set it might be diminished a little bit, because people are already in their positions and ready to defend. Whereas in transition it might be a little more difficult."
As a parent the elder Dastrup had his own questions he wanted answered about his son's possible future with the program, and he said the staff did a good job of explaining things and making him feel comfortable with where the program is headed.
"I think the ability to relate to the kids, and hearing from them what their vision is," he said. "I'm much more aware now of the investment coach Miller has for Arizona basketball. I don't think I ever wondered how long he was going to be there, but what I came away with was that he's there to stay.
"And obviously time will tell, but I feel very comfortable knowing that there is some stability there at the coaching position for someone who's got two years of high school. You're looking for something that can be stable and consistent for my son to be able to rely on and not have to worry about as he moves forward."
Dastrup still has plenty of time to decide where he be playing his college basketball, but the Wildcats positioned themselves well for the future with Thursdays visit.
"I think that they are a national brand that is recognized for their success," he said. "And I know that coach Miller is building on the legacy that Lute Olson had established. Anybody who considers the value of an opportunity to play collegiate basketball has to take an offer from Arizona seriously and use that to measure the other opportunities by.
"So I think the opportunity that was extended today with the offer by coach Miller will continue to play a factor in the decision-making process that Payton has. It's not going to be something that is dismissed lightly and not taken into serious consideration."
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