Mountain View played tough competition in Reno, Nev., and is finding some of the best teams this weekend at home in the VisitMesa.com Basketball Challenge.
Junior center-forward Payton Dastrup wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I’m always in favor of playing the toughest competition possible,” said the 6-foot-9 Dastrup, who came into the showcase averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds and leading the Toros to a 7-4 start. “Even though we may not come out with the result you want, we’re getter better playing better teams.”
This has been a season in transition for Dastrup and the Toros, who last year relied on a talented backcourt and the strong inside moves of Camyn Boone that complemented Dastrup, one of the country’s top sophomores last season. That team won 21 games but lost in the second round of the state tournament.
Point guard was the big question mark entering this season for the Toros.
Lately, coach Gary Ernst has put all-state football player Caleb Nicoll at point guard, and it appears to be helping.
“At the beginning of the season, there were some issues, some questions with the guard play, just being consistent with that,” Dastrup said. “Coach made the switch and put Caleb at the point. Caleb has done well, limiting turnovers. He gets the ball down before the pressure has a chance to set up. We’ve had success at the point. Team turnovers have dropped tremendously.”
Dastrup is up to 17 college basketball scholarship offers, the latest of which came from Texas-El Paso.
He said he wants to commit during his senior year, but he likely will go on his two-year Mormon mission right out of high school.
“I’ll be gone for two years then come back and be eligible for four years,” Dastrup said. “There would be no break. I would like the college to have me for four straight years. If I were to play a year, then go (on the mission), you never know if there is going to be a coaching change. I’d have to learn a whole new system.”
Ernst said Dastrup has been good about not forcing his shot this season.
Dastrup will get a good test tonight when Mountain View plays Toledo St. John’s Jesuit, one of the top teams in Ohio, which features 6-7 wing Marc Loving, who has signed with Ohio State.
“It’s not like he is dominating the game offensively,” Ernst said of Dastrup. “He is trying to get more people involved. That will help him as well. He’s doing good things.”