The rosters of NCAA tournament-bound basketball programs on the West Coast are dotted, albeit lightly, by East Valley prep stars.
The local product most likely to have an impact on the men's tourney is Arizona sophomore center Channing Frye, a Chandler resident who led Phoenix St. Mary's to the state title in 2001. Frye has averaged 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Wildcats.
Frye's high school rival, Paradise Valley resident and Phoenix Brophy graduate Nick Lewis, has averaged 8.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game off the bench as a sophomore center for the University of San Diego.
Arizona State has a pair of locals in senior forward Donnell Knight, a Corona del Sol product, and junior guard Kenny Crandall, a Mountain View grad. Highland grad Austin Ainge is redshirting his freshman season at Brigham Young.
The East Valley is better represented in the women's tournament. Junior forward Nicole Powell, a Mountain Pointe graduate, leads Stanford into the tourney. She is averaging 18.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and is a finalist for two national player of the year awards. Big West player of the year Lindsay Taylor, who led Chandler to the 1999 state title, is a junior center at UC-Santa Barbara. Highland grad Amy Bastman, a junior guard at Utah, is sitting out the season with a knee injury.
HOME RUN COUNT
Mesquite catcher Chad Miller leads local baseball players with a whopping nine home runs in 13 games. Desert Mountain softball catcher Stefanie Ewing has five in eight games to top the female sluggers.
Mountain Pointe, which has had some pretty good power hitters in recent years, including Joe Mather, has yet to hit one home run in its first 12 games. Marcos de Niza and Gilbert’s softball teams, which are 6-3 and 8-5 respectively, also do not have a home run from any of their players this season.
PERMANENT FOOTBALL COACH
When Dale Nicol took over as Cactus Shadows' football coach midway through last season, Nicol never figured on keeping the job permanently.
"I wasn't going to do that," said Nicol, who is the Falcons' athletic director. "I didn't think that was an option."
That was before Nicol had chats with the principal and school superintendent. They told Nicol he could wear both hats. Last week, the school board approved his hiring as the football coach.
The Falcons were 2-2 last fall under Nicol.
NEW VOLLEYBALL COACH
Mountain View has selected a girls volleyball coach for next season, hiring former East Valley standout Katie Roberson.
Roberson replaces Karrie Platt, who resigned to relocate out of state. Roberson was a standout player at Marcos de Niza in the 1990s and has recently served as a club coach and the junior varsity coach at Marcos de Niza. ‘‘She’s pretty good and we’re looking forward to having her lead the program,’’ Mountain View athletic director David Hines said.
TURNING THE CORNER
Mesa High’s baseball team is 3-6 as it continues play this week in the Central-East Valley-Fiesta Tournament at McClintock High School.
The Jackrabbits have been hammered three times — by Desert Mountain, Chandler and Horizon. With better play late in games they could be 6-3.
‘‘We’ve been blown out three times, but in our other three losses we’ve lost in our opponent’s last at-bat,’’ Mesa coach Steve Gourde said. ‘‘I’m a little disappointed because we have a lot of seniors.”
Senior Sean Scott leads Mesa in hitting so far with a .484 average. He also leads the team in RBIs and doubles.
YOUNGEST CRUM COMMITS
Horizon junior volleyball player Chevon Crum has verbally committed to attend Pepperdine University. Crum is a 6-foot setter.
Crum's oldest sister, Cassidy, is a sophomore at the University of Arizona. Her sister Mariko, a senior at Horizon, already has signed a letter of intent to play at Long Beach State.