by Joey Crandall

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September 20, 2012
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Basketball: Myers narrows college search to six schools

These are fast times for Douglas High basketball standout Hunter Myers.

In between preparing for his senior season and studying for his jarring load of coursework, the 6-foot, 7-inch reigning Northern 4A Player of the Year has been gearing up to make a decision he's been dreaming of making ever since he first picked up a basketball.

Somewhere in the next seven weeks, he'll make the final determination on where he'll be playing his college ball.

"It's been a lot of talking on the phone, a lot of thinking," Myers said. "I put in a lot of research on my own. My family and I went into it with the thought that these schools are going to show me the best they can show me. If I don't like the high points they're showing on the front end, then I won't like going to school there."

With that in mind, Myers recently narrowed his list of college choices down to six schools.

This, though, is hardly your average basketball recruitment.

For as hard as Myers has pushed himself on the basketball floor, his efforts have been equaled -- if not surpassed -- in the classroom. Directly because of that, he was able to blow the ceiling off his college academic pursuits.

The final list reads like a "who's who" of top schools in the United States. In no particular order, Myers will choose between Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, Lehigh and UC Santa Barbara. All six are ranked in the top 50 nationally in terms of academics according to U.S.

News. Princeton and Harvard share the top spot in the rankings. Stanford is in the top 10.

"Academics has been big, definitely a deciding factor in what colleges I considered," said Myers, who plans to major in engineering, most likely in the mechanical engineering discipline. "Academics has been a big part of my life, throughout my life.

"It influences the way I am, the way I conduct myself. I always wanted to push myself as hard in the classroom as I have on the court, just to keep as many doors open as possible. The top six schools for me were the ones with the best combination of basketball and academics in my eyes, for my taste."

Myers grades (He is the top student in the senior class with a 4.5 GPA) certainly turned heads along the way, with one Ivy League assistant last year going on the record with a national recruiting Web site saying that Myers was "the smartest athlete he'd ever seen."

His play over the first three seasons of high school ( he averaged 17.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game, along with hitting 24 3-pointers as a junior in helping lead Douglas to the state tournament) garnered some college interest, including a scholarship offer from the University of Nevada after his sophomore season.

"That (the Nevada offer) was big for me," Myers said. "It made this a reality, that I can actually play at this level. I said to myself that if they wanted me, and my game hadn't matured yet, I had to keep working hard to see what else would happen."

He enjoyed a breakout tournament with the Nevada Wolverines club last spring in Las Vegas, though, and that's when things really started to heat up.

"We had upwards of 20 schools calling, trying to get a spot on the list," Myers said.

Myers participated inthe Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, Calif., in June and came away with rave reviews.

He came away ranked the No. 91 best high school basketball player in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Nevada for the class of 2013 by

Dave Naha of the College Scouting Service called Myers "deceptively athletic and quick off the floor," a "spot 3-point shooter with good release," and a "good rebounder with some toughness." Naha rated Myers as a high-major prospect.

Myers said some schools backed off by July, and others simply weren't the right fit. He is pleased, though, with his final six.

"It's every little kid's dream to get to this point," Myers said. "The motivation to actually want to make it happen, to put in the endless hours of work in the gym, it was a lot. It's humbling to get to this point.

"This is a really amazing opportunity to be placed in and I'm trying to make the most of it. Whichever college I choose, it won't be a bad choice, academically or basketball-wise. My personal goal is to make a decision before the season starts, before the November signing period."

He will visit Stanford this week and travel to Harvard Sept. 28 and 29. Santa Barbara has already been to his home and he's waiting to see what else happens from here.

"I just want to thank (Nevada Wolverines coach and former University of Nevada standout) Garry Hill-Thomas especially for basically being my mentor the past four years," Myers said.

"I'm thankful to my parents for their help and support.

"And I'm thankful to the community at large. They've supported me all the way through basketball. It's a big opportunity and I hope I can take advantage of it."

Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.

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The Record Courier Updated Sep 20, 2012 04:27PM Published Sep 20, 2012 04:25PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.