Cougar Hoops Recruit Jake Beitinger

<b>Jake Beitinger</b> may not be a familiar name to most BYU basketball fans, but he should be. The 6' 8" forward out of South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Washington, has definitely caught the attention of BYU head coach Steve Cleveland and his staff.

Beitinger, who is LDS, averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds as a junior, leading led his South Kitsap team to a 5th place finish in the Washington 4A basketball tournament. He received All-State honors and was named First Team All-League.

The Washington athlete shared his thoughts about BYU and other colleges hot on his recruiting trail.

"I've talked to Coach Cleveland and also his assistant who played in the NBA, Coach Toolson. They're both cool."

Beitinger confirmed Cleveland and his assistants have attended several of his games this past season.

So how good is he? His performance this past season in a head-to-head match-up against Bremerton High's Marvin Williams provides an indication. Williams is a 6' 9" phenom recruited by virtually every top program in the country including Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina.

In his match up against Williams, Beitinger scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, leading South Kitsap to a decisive 61-45 victory over Bremerton. Williams, who averaged 24 points and 12 boards on the season, did not fare so well in the game, finishing with just six points on 0-5 shooting from the field.

Asked about Williams, Beitinger said, "I've played against Marvin a few times, going back to 8th grade. He's always been real athletic, real long, and he's grown quite a bit. It's a fun match-up to play against him and definitely a big challenge."

Commenting on the recruiting process and the schools pursuing him, Beitinger said, "I'm still just kind of feeling out the recruiting process. BYU's not real high on my list right now, but I' haven't ruled out any colleges. I'm looking at number of PAC-10 schools which is where I would preferably like to play at this point. I've talked to most of the PAC-10 schools, including USC, Oregon and University of Washington the last few days."

He added "I'm not planning to commit any time soon, but I would like to commit before I start the season so I don't have to deal with the pressure next year."

Other top LDS players who grew up in PAC-10 country --including Mark Madsen, Casey Jacobsen and Julius Barnes -- also opted to sign with PAC-10 schools over BYU in recent years.

One thing for certain is Coach Cleveland has his work cut out for him to convince the refreshingly frank Beitinger to come to Provo.

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