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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bayless faces Tucson High in McKale

    Jerryd Bayless
    Jerryd Bayless

    Arizona basketball fans can get a taste of the future Wednesday night in the comfort of their own city. The Wildcats’ newest attraction, St. Mary’s High School guard and UA signee Jerryd Bayless, will showcase his talent in McKale Center as the Knights face Tucson High School at 7 p.m.

    Bayless, the No. 10 prospect in the 2007 class according to the recruiting service, has been double- and triple-teamed all season for a St. Mary’s team that has four sophomores and a freshman.

    “”Every place that we play, it’s a full house, and we kind of have a target on our back because of Jerryd, so the (younger players) are handling it pretty good,”” St. Mary’s head coach David Lopez said.

    McKale Hoops

    Who: Jerryd Bayless (Arizona’s top recruit of 2007 – No. 10 nationally) of No. 3 St. Mary’s High School (4-3) vs. Tucson High School (2-4)
    Where: McKale Center
    When: Wednesday 7 p.m.

    Despite going 4-3 in their first seven games, the well-traveled Knights – they’ve been to Illinois for a tournament and are headed to Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey later in the year – have received the numbers they expected from Bayless. The senior scored 42 points and dished out 15 assists in a 89-85 loss Friday against undefeated No. 2 Phoenix Desert Vista and has averaged 33.2 points per game in his last four games.

    “”Every year he just keeps improving more and more, and just when you think you saw it all, you haven’t seen it all,”” Lopez said.

    With Bayless having signed with the Wildcats, Lopez said Arizona was cooperative in scheduling the varsity-only game in McKale Center, and No. 3 St. Mary’s was more in tune with playing in Tucson on a school night before Friday’s contest at Tucson Salpointe in which the St. Mary’s freshman and JV squads will also play.

    “”It’s an honor more than anything else,”” Lopez said. “”He could have went the season without it, but he was kind of anxious to show his talents to some Tucson people.””

    The Knights grueling schedule has taken its toll, but Lopez said he is confident St. Mary’s will get better as the season rolls along.

    “”Probably playing weaker teams would help,”” Lopez said. “”I think we are improving, it’s just our level of competition is right up there. Every game seems like a playoff game with other teams, so it’s got to make us better.””

    St. Mary’s previously saw Tucson High School in the summer, and Lopez came away feeling that the Badgers “”were the best Tucson team around.””

    Tucson is led by junior Brian Hill, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound wing who scored 20 points in a 62-52 loss to No. 5 Mesa Dobson but managed just four points in a 81-53 over Amphitheater on Monday. The Badgers have been hurt by not having 6-foot point guard Kelly Gibson, who twisted an ankle after the second game of the season against Canyon Del Oro and hasn’t played since.

    As for the man everyone in Tucson has been waiting to lay their eyes on, Bayless has improved since last year, Lopez said.

    “”He’s just got a good mannerism about him,”” Lopez said. “”He’s got good maturity, and he knows what’s needed when. He’s a coach out there, and he’s very coachable. I can’t say enough good things about him.

    “”He’s just a complete player out there whereas before he was not.””

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