Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 at 11:18 am  |  3 responses


This month in high school ballers: Tyler Ulis, Mikal Bridges, Kelsey Mitchell and Payton Dastrup.

In every issue of SLAM, we devote two pages toward the back of the mag to high school ballers in a section called PUNKS. Here’s this month’s PUNKS section in one gallery; use the arrows to roll through the slideshow below and read up on all four of the up-and-comers featured in SLAM 174.—Ed.

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  • randeoertle

    We’re looking forward to seeing him play. Got a great nick name for him if he doesn’t already have it. “PayDay” Dastrup.

  • ZooZoo

    Is there really a “Church of Latter-day Saints?” I though his faith had “Jesus” somewhere in the name. Just wondering…

  • GreekSophistry

    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, AKA LDS, Mormon.

    Lots of LDS people in Arizona. At least this kid is going on a mission early instead of playing for 1 year then going out for 2 like Mika. If I were coaching at BYU, I’d want the kids to do what Dastrup is doing, then you’ll have him for 4 consecutive years. Mika will just be getting into stride then gone for two years. And they don’t get to play hoops. Heck, he might in in Zimbabwe or somewhere.

    Lots of people think the missions are an advantage because the kids are older when they get back. But imagine how difficult it would be to recruit for 2 or three years out. In addition, BYU is very strict academically and they don’t teach basket weaving, so you can’t just recruit on hoops skills alone. They also have a strict honor code, no smoking, drinking, chastity, no criminal behavior. That would hamstring 90% of the college coaches right there.

    BYU is getting a 6-11 guy from SoCal back for next year, Nielsen. Saw him in high school. Tall but looked slow. So the stud Mika will be replaced by a tall, skinny slow guy next year. Poor Dave Rose. But maybe Nielsen will be great. Nobody knows when they go out what they’ll get when they get back.