Long before Wildcat freshmen Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett were battling in practice, they were battling as two of the best players in the state of California. Though he spent his senior season at national powerhouse Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, Ashley hails from the Bay Area and crossed paths with Jerrett many times on the prep hoops circuit.
Of course, players of Ashley and Jerrett’s caliber meet all the time in AAU events, but they also led their high school teams against one another in a clash for a state title. It was an epic match, Ashley led the game with 26 points but Jerrett’s La Verne Lutheran team came out with the win after trailing in the 4th quarter.
At the time it was a showcase of two of the best juniors in California and the entire nation, but it was also a glimpse into the future of Arizona’s frontcourt. While only Jerrett had committed at the time, both players shined in the spotlight that day and Arizona fans certainly would have extra reason to grin if they could go back in time to watch that one.
For as many times as they squared off throughout their careers, during their senior season Ashley and Jerrett actually got to experience being on the same side as well. Players as lauded as they are get invited to all the nation’s top all-star games and camps, and Ashley and Jerrett made all the big national stops.
PGU was at the Elite 24 in Venice Beach, CA when Ashley and Jerrett were honored there. Not to mention the McDonald’s All American Game and Nike Skills Academies in Chicago, or the Jordan Brand Classic in North Carolina. It is a rare occurance for two players and eventual teammates to have such an intertwined history, but their similar ascensions through the hoops ranks provided them with a chance to form chemistry on and off the court.
And that’s exactly why it would be silly to ask Jerrett if he was upset by Ashley’s promotion to the starting lineup and his own move to the bench. Everyone competes for playing time, but either player would tell you they don’t care who starts and who comes off the bench for any given game.
Both Ashley and Jerrett are confident in their skills, and they resolved to help make each other better a long time ago. So as fans, we don’t have to worry about any potential for hurt feelings and egos if one of them garners more attention and court time than the other. They go way back.