Dastrup's road to basketball

In part two of a two-part series with Mountain View High School star Payton Dastrup, he talks about his road to playing the sport of basketball. He also talks about BYU's head coach Dave Rose and the support he's received from BYU's highly rated LDS commits.

Growing up in the state of Arizona, Payton Dastrup didn't set out to play basketball at first. He had dreams of wearing a helmet and pads and slinging a football at "Quarterback U."

"I did grow up a BYU fan," Dastrup said. "It was more for football though because when I was younger I was more of a football kid than basketball. I grew up playing Pop Warner football up until I was 11 or 12. I even went to the BYU non-padded football camp when I was younger and won the camp MVP as a quarterback. I was around 12 or 13 years old at the time. My uncle is best friends with Coach Mendenhall, so I got a chance to meet him and stuff like that and won the camp MVP."

After the camp, however, Dastrup received some bad news.

"So, I come back excited about playing football, and I go to sign up for Pop Warner again and I'm too big," Dastrup said with disappointment. "I mean, I was bummed out. I was like, ‘Aw man! I just won BYU's camp MVP as a quarterback, and I know I have all these skills, but now I'm too big?' I weighed 15 pounds over the standard weight and I wasn't going to drop 15 pounds at 12 years old."

So, Dastrup set his sights on playing a different sport.

"That's kind of where things changed from football to basketball and basketball kind of took off," he said. "I've always been pretty coordinated but my shot wasn't very good. I mean, I would fade away and wouldn't try and draw contact to get fouls. In the ninth grade I played on the J.V team and in my sophomore year I played varsity. It's just taken off from there. I've just been working on my game and working on my shot and it's gotten me to where I am now."

His efforts have placed him in a rare position among high school athletes. He has about 27 scholarship offers, with more to possibly come. One of those offers is from BYU. He's being heavily recruited by a Cougar basketball staff pulling out all the stops.

"They all are," Dastrup said with a slight laugh. "They're all going full guns blazing for me. I mean, Coach Rose, Nashif, LaComb and Pope are all coming for me."

Dastrup gave Coach Rose and his staff glowing praise.

"Coach Rose and his staff, I would say, are one of the more personal, easy-to-get-along-with group of coaches in the nation," said Dastrup. "Not only because they're LDS, but because they understand kids and stuff. For an example, for me, we'll talk about basketball but by the end of our conversation we'll be talking about life, a movie, homework I had, or what I had for dinner and things like that. They're just really personable and don't always talk about basketball but about other things that come with life.

"I've been on two unofficial visits up there to BYU and they've come down to my school and showed me a PowerPoint presentation and a slideshow. Coach Rose is in the top five in winning percentages for his first eight years, and no coach has had more wins than him in the first eight years of coaching. I mean, his winning percentage is unbelievable. He produces great teams. He produces great guards, great bigs and overall great players on and off the court. I really, really like him."

Being LDS and understanding that culture, Coach Rose has a leg up on the competition when it comes to recruiting LDS players, including Dastrup.

"Yeah, that's true," Dastrup said.

The caliber of LDS basketball players that Coach Rose has been pulling in is quite remarkable. Four-star recruit Eric Mika was ranked by Scout as the No. 4 center nationally in his recruiting class. His fellow Lone Peak High School teammate Nick Emery, a four-star recruit as well, was ranked the No. 19 shooting guard nationally. Then there's yet another Lone Peak player in four-star recruit T.J. Haws, who has been ranked the No. 11 point guard.

Make no mistake about it, there's been some gentle persuasion by BYU's commits to get Dastrup to join them. Highly rated forward Dalton Nixon of Orem High School has also expressed his thoughts on the matter.

"My dad and Stephanie Nixon, Dalton's mom, went to high school together," said Dastrup. "In my sophomore year my high school played in a tournament with Dalton's high school and we met up and stuff. That was before BYU had offered and he was committed and everything. I mean, Nick Emery, T.J. Haws, Erik Mika have messaged me a couple of times.

"Even Tyler [Haws] has even messaged me a couple of times. Jaren Sweeney, who redshirted when he was there and is on his mission right now, went to my high school and emailed me a couple of times. Dalton has also talked to me about it, so they're always talking to me about how we would have a great run at BYU.

"Someone posted, ‘Dastrup, Mika, Haws and Emery – Final Four for BYU' and stuff like that. If it were to happen, I know all the guys really well, so if BYU is the place for me, then it would be pretty cool being around guys that I've known for quite a while and are of my same faith."

It won't be long before Dastrup decides to narrow down his list of nearly 30 schools to just a handful of lucky programs.

"My season starts in November, so I'm looking to take my official visits based on my top five or top seven schools that I pick," said Dastrup. "I might take my official visits anywhere from the beginning of September to October, and then using that time between October to probably the first two weeks of November to really sit down and say, ‘Okay, this is what I really want.' Then I'll probably make my decision probably somewhere at the end of October to early November."


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