Pendergraph Eager to Improve Stock in AAU Circuit

The Etiwanda high school center and Sun Devil prospect is coming off a highly successful junior year. Nevertheless, he told DevilsDigest that he has put that aside. Pendergraph is looking forward at a shot of redemption during the various AAU tournaments next month, as well as a chance to improve his prospect stock.

Jeff Pendergraph, a 6-8 205 center from Etiwanda, Calif., helped lead his team to capture the Baseline League championship with a 31-3 overall record, and a prefect 10-0 in division. He averaged 10.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg and led the Baseline League in rebounds (288) and blocks (94). Despite all those achievements, he still carries a bitter taste in his mouth.

"We cannot wait to start playing in the (AAU) tournaments next moth," exclaimed Pendergraph who TheInsiders.com has ranked #5 among 2005 west coast centers. "In the spring we (AAU Inland Empire) didn't have some of our main players like Andre Mcgee, and we got out butts kicked. All these people think they can beat us in the summer, and we're ready to show everyone that we're not messing around this time."

Naturally, aside from the desire to redeem himself on the team level, Pendergraph hopes to showcase his abilities and improve his standing with the colleges who will be scouting him. "I got a taste of all the tournaments last year," he commented, "and got my butt kicked. I'm ready to take it back to them…by the end of the summer, I expect more schools to contact me and then I'll have a top five list of schools that I will go and visit."

The Etiwanda standout has already been offered a scholarship by ASU, and made his first trek to Tempe during spring break when he visited unofficially. "Recruiting is going good with ASU," he said. "It's a really hot place (smile). They have a good program, a young team with good players like Ike Diogu. They're only gonna get better…I would like to come for an official visit for a longer period of time." Pendergraph said that he will participate at ASU's team camp this weekend.

Pendergraph fully realizes that he needs to considerably bulk up to play down low at the next level. He does however believe that he has solid skills to build upon. "I'm a good rebounder and shot blocker," he remarked. "I run the court very well. I need to work on my mid-range jumper, facing up, my dribbling, and taking people off the dribble."

UCLA, Pepperdine, Wyoming, and Boise State are the other schools that extended offers. Pendergraph did express a desire to play relatively adjacent to home, but not at any price. "I do want to stay as close to the West coast as I can," he explained. "But if I do stay on the West coast, I don't want to play for a small school. Playing in the Pac-10 would be nice. If I can't play for a big school on the West, then I'll go to the East coast."

The power forward did admit that the recruiting process has been taxing at times, but for now he's just handling it the best he can. "People call me all the time, and I listen to them and what not." He said. "But I also get a lot of letters, and I don't bother opening most of my mail. Between working and practicing I just don't have the time."

"At the end of summer, I'm gonna start narrowing down my choices," Pendergraph continued. "ASU and UCLA are two schools I plan to officially visit. By the end of September I expect to make a decision." He mentioned location and good position coaching as factors that will weigh heavily in his decision. He does seek a program that can develop him as a player, but he's not necessarily looking to be a headline seeker. "I don't have to come in and be the star. I'm gonna work hard and help my team get better." And for Pendergraph it will all start in July…

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