Pete Padgett, who's father was the Head coach at Cal 30 years ago, spend last season as an assistant at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Now he's back at Reno, and he's looking forward to spending the next two seasons coaching his son.
"When the opportunity presented itself (to take the Santa Barbara position) I was actually in my car driving to San Diego," he said. "I'd always wanted to coach at the Division I level so I excepted the job immediately. But I really missed seeing David play during last season, so I'm glad to be back."
David Padgett is a 6-11 center/forward who can play with his back to the basket or step out and hit the perimeter jumper.
"I'm lucky I can do both," David said. "My jump shot is coming around, but I need to work on my ball handling."
David is a self-described gym rat and he spends a lot of time in the school gym. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't touch a basketball," David said. "Since my dad has the keys to the gym, we can go there whenever we want."
While at the gym, his father focuses on improving David's skills.
"Big kids in particular have a tendency to improve slower offensively," his father said. "But we work real hard on perimeter skills. We spend a lot of time working on ball handling. Obviously, David is the tallest player on his high school team, but he runs the floor very well and he plays inside and on the perimeter with his team."
At 230 pounds, Padgett is not a string bean-type but he's not the prototypical banger either.
"He weighs 230," his father said. "But I don't think he'll ever be the kind of big guy that can play at 275 or 280. His post game is pretty good, but I want him to be able to step out and play facing the basket. To do that he needs to work on his perimeter skills to be a better player."
During the summer Padgett played at the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, NJ. Then he moved on to the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament and the Best of Summer at Loyola Marymount, playing on the Pump ‘N Run at both events. Richard Chaney, a 6-4 two-guard from Compton (Verbum Dei), Calif. was Padgetts' teammate. Arizona aggressively recruited Chaney until he verbally committed to the University of Utah last month.
During the time the Arizona coaching staff was evaluating Chaney, they were also making it known that they were very interested in Padgett.
"I think Coach Olson was at everyone of David's games," the elder Padgett said. "In fact he even told me ‘you're going get tired of seeing me around.' But I've known Coach Olson for long time and it's great to have a school like Arizona showing interest in David."
Although Arizona is showing much interest, I wouldn't expect an early commitment.
"And I can tell you this," his father went on to say. "David is extremely interested in Arizona, but I don't think he has a favorite yet. In fact, we haven't even talked about it."
Many coaches have made the trip to Reno to watch Padgett workout during this recent contact period.
"Arizona and UNLV have been here," his father said. "And of course Nevada - because it's the hometown school - they've been in. Kansas was scheduled to come, but they had to re-schedule because of the bombing (of the World Trade Center and Pentagon), so they will be in later. Stanford, Utah, Iowa, UCLA and Purdue have all said they are coming."
When Arizona assistant coach Jay John recently made the journey to Reno, it made a lasting impression on the Padgetts.
"The effort coach John made was phenomenal," Pete Padgett said. "I can't tell you how impressed I was. Because the airlines were grounded, he had to make an 8-hour drive from Los Angeles to get here. That's not an easy drive."
David Padgett said he'd like to make an unofficial visit to Arizona during this upcoming basketball season.
"I've already (unofficially) visited Cal and Stanford," David said. "Because they're only a few hours drive from my home. I'd like to visit Arizona and UCLA, but it's hard during the season because of our games."