Mesa captures Summer 64 basketball
championship with defense -
Richard Obert, azcentral sports
Mesa continued its momentum from an unexpected 25-win boys basketball
season and captured the Summer 64 championship on Saturday with a 57-43
victory over Tucson Catalina Foothills in the final at Laveen Cesar
Coach Shane Burcar has no stars, just a roster of blue-collar athletes who
play hard on defense and together on offense.
The Jackrabbits went 6-0 last week, also beating Mesa Dobson and Cesar
Chavez on their floors.
They also beat Chandler, Scottsdale Desert Mountain and Gilbert Highland
on their way to the championship.
"We were happy with our defense," Burcar said. "We pressured people at
half-court and rebounded. We played good teams, too."
Burcar did perhaps his greatest coaching job last season, leading Mesa to
the Division I quarterfinals, before running into a matchup problem with
Phoenix Desert Vista, falling 56-40.
Mesa beat semifinalist Mesa Mountain View 59-44 in the super sectional
This is a veteran team that is playing with chip on its shoulder this
summer, Burcar said.
"We lose four seniors who are very good," Burcar said. "I don't k now if
you can replace them. But the next guys are ready."
They include 6-foot-4 forwards Darius Goudeau and D.J. Henderson and 6-1
point guard David Cummard, who is the nephew of former Mesa star Lee
Cummard, who went on to excel at Brigham Young University. All three
started on varsity last season.
Mesa goes 6-7, 6-5, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 in its lineup, so size isn't a big issue
for the Jackrabbits.
"They've got a chip on their shoulder," Burcar said. "They want to prove
they're pretty good.
"They've known each other since they started high school. They're OK with
not being talked about as one of the best teams. None of them thinks
After losing its first game in the Summer 64 to Phoenix Sunnysloope,
Phoenix Arcadia won the rest of its game to claim the Silver bracket
championship at Cesar Chavez. Arcadia beat Chandler Hamilton in the final.
Arcadia made a surprising run to the Division II final last season, before
losing to Gilbert Christian in overtime.
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GAME DAY GALLERY
- See game day action photos courtesy of photography by Marc Washburn.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW - FORMER
JACKRABBIT BLONDY BARUTI -
After what was described as a worldwide search, ABC has cast Blondy
Baruti, a 6-foot-10 former basketball player from Mesa High, as the lead
opposite Skylar Astin in its untitled NBA buddy comedy pilot. Itís
executive produced by Galavant creator Dan Fogelman, Mandalay Sports
Mediaís Peter Guber & Mike Tollin and Kapital Entertainmentís Aaron
Kaplan. Also cast in the pilot, which is being done with the cooperation
of the NBA and the the Guber-co-owned Golden State Warriors, is Laura
Steinel (Draft Day).
HIGH ALUMNI WHO HAVE GONE ON TO THE NEXT LEVEL -
Jackrabbit tradition is rich with All-State players, Player
of the Year winners and those that have gone on to excel at the next
level, including some that have played in professional leagues around the
world. They include David Van Dyke, Lee Cummard, Aaron Fuller, Graham
Hatch, Donte Medder, Michael Crowell and Hakeem Rollins. Read about these
former Jackrabbits on the
BASKETBALL RECORDS -
Check out the individual
game, individual season and individual career records on the
TO SUMEET - Senior Sumeet Khara
joined the long list of Mesa players who moved onto the next level.
Sumeet took part in Early Letter of Intent Day and will will be headed to
Colorado School of Mines to play basketball.