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Written By AK Murthy
In the midst of Arizona’s magical run to the Elite 8, PGU hasn’t forgotten about the young guns on deck.
It will be a big game for Grant Jerrett and EJ Cooper when their La Verne Lutheran team takes on Brandon Ashley and Bishop O’Dowd for the state title. But it will be an even bigger game for Arizona fans, who will get to see three potential Wildcats on the court at the same time.
Jerrett, Cooper, and Ashley will be playing at the Power Balance Pavilion (formerly Arco Arena) in Sacramento. Both Jerrett and Ashley are consensus top 10 players in the 2012 class, and Sean Miller will be looking to have both of them suit up for his team. Adding Ashley to the 2012 class would give Arizona two of it’s most highly rated post recruits ever, and could be the makings of a dominant class. With Jerrett already committed, adding Ashley and Las Vegas wingman Rosco Allen would have the Wildcats in very good shape looking toward the future. Cooper is part of Arizona’s 2013 class.
Jerrett has had an amazing season thus far, averaging 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game.
“I’ve just been working on being confident in myself,” Jerrett said. “Working on things that I’ve struggled with in the past, listening to Coach Cooper.”
“The best thing for a player is to ignore expectations,” Jerrett said. “Be who you are. Listen to your coach. Be humble and just play the way you’ve been trained to play. That’s one of my main goals, to get better every day and every week and to never be satisfied.”
Though he had to overcome a knee injury, Cooper also helped lead La Verne Lutheran to a 25-5 record, as well as a perfect 14-0 in league play.
“They went through each program and they came to the conclusion that Arizona had more advantages than the others,” Cooper Sr, EJ’s father and coach of La Verne Lutheran, said. “Both of them feel like they can grow as players and young men under Coach Miller.”
“Coach Miller has proven himself to be a great coach,” he added, “and he’s got that program headed in the right direction.”
As their season comes to a close, PGU wanted to take the time to thank both Grant, EJ, and Brandon for everything and wish them luck in the title game and in the future. All three kids are polite, humble, and most importantly they are genuinely good people. They always were very eager to speak with us, as we were with them. They let us know more than a few times that they appreciate all the travel and expenses PGU took on just to see them play and support them. We wanted to extend that same courtesy to both players.
When Jerrett and Cooper face off against Ashley and Bishop O’Dowd, it will be all about business. But after the game, just maybe, they’ll have a few kind words to say to their potential college teammate.