Bejarano signs letter of intent with a heavy heartby Javier Morales on Nov. 11, 2009, under Sports
RELATED VIDEO LINK FROM GOAZCATS.COM: Bejarano’s press conference Wednesday at North High School
Phoenix North shooting guard Daniel Bejarano said he always envisioned signing with a college with his father looking on with pride.
His father, Damian Gosa, was also a basketball standout with Phoenix Carl Hayden before playing at Central Arizona College.
“I know my dad will always be with me in spirit, but I wish I could have seen him here today,” Bejarano said in reference to signing a national letter of intent with Arizona before a gathering of family, friends, teammates, coaches and Phoenix media (including a couple of TV stations).
“It was hard for me talk. I kept pausing, but I was pausing because I kept thinking about him.”
Gosa, who was in the process of mending his estranged relationship with Bejarano, was killed in an apparent home invasion in June. Bejarano recently had his father’s name tattooed to his chest with his father’s jersey numbers in high school (32) and college (40).
“It is a way to have him always with me,” Bejarano said.
The fall signing period started today and Bejarano, 6-5, 200, was the only prospect to sign with Arizona. He originally committed to Texas but changed his mind after the Longhorns showed an interest in other shooting guards in the Class of 2010 and 2011.
The Wildcats may add another recruit during the period — Detroit Country Day School point guard Ray McCallum — but McCallum is undecided and he has indicated he may wait until the spring to sign.
“I’ll try my best to get Ray to join me because it would be nice to have him as a teammate,” said Bejarano, who participated with McCallum in the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp and the LeBron James Skill Academy during the summer. “I only have good things to say about Arizona and the coaches there. They’ve treated me well. They’re good coaches and good people.”
UA coach Sean Miller, in a press release submitted by the school’s media relations department, took the opportunity of Bejarano’s signing to comment on the young guard’s mature and respectful personality.
“”First and foremost, I would describe Daniel as an amazing kid,” Miller said. “He is as energetic, positive and unselfish as any young person I’ve come across. Although I’m confident he will have a huge impact for us on the court, I’m equally as confident that he will impact our university, the community and our family atmosphere even more.”
The UA coaches could not be present at the time of Bejarano’s signing, per NCAA rules, but assistant coach James Whitford phoned Bejarano a few minutes after he signed. Miller followed shortly afterward to congratulate Bejarano and welcome him to the program.
Bejarano said his focus now shifts to his senior year at North, which begins its season Dec. 1. The Mustangs, the defending Class 5A Division II champions, are aiming for a repeat title behind Bejarano, who averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists per game last season. He also shot 51 percent from the floor and scored a career-high 41 points in one game.
He is a three-time Phoenix metro region player of the year and a 2009-10 first-team “Best in the West” selection by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He follows former Phoenix greats who played at the UA, including Jerryd Bayless, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Mike Bibby — all of whom were eventual lottery picks in the NBA draft.
“The main thing on my mind now is winning another state title,” Bejarano said. “I love my team. I love my teammates. We’re like brothers. I want them to be able to play in college also. I will try my hardest to make that happen. They deserve it.”
The one part of his game that he will attempt to improve with North is his ball handling.
“I’ve already started working hard on that,” Bejarano said. “I feel like I’ll get better as the season goes along.”