If you're a college basketball recruiter or a college fan anxiously eyeing the five Most Valuable Players on the 1989 Deseret News All-State basketball teams, you're having to learn sometimes that patience is a virtue.
And if you're a high school hoops aficionado, you're excited about not only the past season and its thrilling state-tournament finishes but for the return of a number of headline-type players.You see, three of the five top honorees - 4A MVP Kenneth Roberts of Bingham and 2A co-MVPs Shawn Bradley of Emery (see accompanying story) and Ryan Cuff of Richfield - are only juniors.
Not to worry, though, as 3A MVP Quincy Lewis of Timpview and 1A MVP Alan Spencer of Duchesne head a whole host of senior-class talent available.
Roberts averaged 23 points and 11-plus rebounds in Region 2 play as the Miners went on to take the 4A title. While those individual figures are impressive enough, Bingham Coach George Sluga said his 6-7 junior frontliner could have racked up even more eye-catching numbers had he not played within the team scheme or not been willing to contribute in a multi-skills manner.
"He's wise enough to know the framework of the offense," said Sluga. "He knows what to do in the complete attack and he just gives of himself."
Lewis earns his honor for being a common denominator in Timpview's repeat championship season - the first back-to-back titlist team in either the 3A or 4A ranks for more than a decade. In fact, the 6-foot two-year starter was the sole major character to return this year - no other member of the '88-89 team had played in the previous '88 title game.
After being a pass-or-cast-off-a-long-set-shot guard last season, he showed a new-found ability to penetrate, pull up with a jump shot, or still pass off. "He became more multi-dimensional in his offense," says Timpview Coach Don Chamberlain of Lewis, who averaged 20 points a game and finished with a championship-game line of 33 points (4-of-7 3-pointers and 19-of-20 from the line), six rebounds, seven steals, and four assists.
In what is not planned as a precendent-setting move, Bradley (see accompanying story) is joined by Cuff as 2A co-MVPs. A common opinion among a number of prep and college coaches, officials, fans and reporters is that Cuff - with his myriad of well-defined fundamentals and a flash of flair - could be the one prepster who could step up to the college level right now and not miss a beat.
The 6-foot-4 junior scored 43 points for runner-up Richfield in the overtime 2A championship game (remember, he was scoreless in the third period) and averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists a game while splitting time between playing guard and forward.
Spencer earns the 1A honor not only for helping Duchesne to its first-ever state championship with season averages of 20 points and 13 rebounds, but also for the Eagles' 1A overtime title affair, where he produced a gritty outing of 25 points and 13 rebounds - despite having suffered ligament damage in his knee in an earlier tournament contest.
"What he really did for us was to take the pressure off - he gave us a place and somebody to go to," said Duchesne Coach Stan Young, citing a season-long inside-out combo of Spencer and teammate Jared Mitchell underneath and the Eagles' Jason Young from the perimeter.
So, while it's window-shopping only for Roberts, Cuff and Bradley and another half-dozen underclassmen who earned first-team honors, another foursome are also unavailable after having signed early letters-of-intent or having made verbal commitments to a college program. Bonneville's Tanoka Beard has signed with Boise State, Spanish Fork's Randy Reid has done the same with BYU, Provo's Mark Durrant has committed with the Cougars as well, and San Juan's Jim Ray is bound for Utah State - but to play football, mind you.
Another notable who knows where he's headed is South Summit's Mark Rydalch, who signed early with Utah and deserves special mention despite the lack of postseason honors. The Deseret News 1988 1A MVP blew out a knee when the season was less than a half-dozen games old but still received kudos from several 1A coaches like the following: "Even though Rydalch did not finish the season, he is the class of the league and deserves to be honored."
The 1989 Deseret News all-state honorees were selected by balloting of Utah's high school coaches, with each of the 100-plus coaches asked to vote for five first-team and five second-team candidates.
Along with a quick review of the 4A and 3A first-team all-state squads are some per-game stats and notable performances.
4A: Joining Roberts on the first-team are five seniors: Beard (22 points, 10 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, 72-percent FG); Clearfield's Russell Larson (21 points, 11 rebounds, 61-percent FG); Brighton's Drew Peterson (19.4 points, 9 rebounds, 59-percent FG); Cottonwood's Travis Warner (school-record holder in assists, 15 points, 9 rebounds, 20 assists in tournament game); and American Fork's Jonathan Miller (17 points, 12 rebounds.
3A: While the 4A seemed heavy on frontcourt talent, the 3A spotlight seemed to be focused on the guards, including Lewis. Other first-teamers were Judge Memorials' Jimmy Soto (28.7 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists); Reid (four-year starter, 2,312 career points, 29 points, 7 assists); Durrant (the 3A's sole unanimous choice, 25 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals); Timpview's Bryon Ruffner (19.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 58-percent FG); and Judge Memorial's Chris Jones (22 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists). Ruffner and Jones are both juniors.