He was considering BYU, but Mesa, Ariz. big man Payton Dastrup said Thursday he was going to Ohio State to play basketball.
Among his other suitors were Florida, Kansas, Arizona and UCLA.
Yes, he was a big-time recruit. And apparently a big-time Mormon, since he plans to graduate high school next spring and then serve a 2-year LDS mission. Which raises the obvious question: Why didn’t he go to BYU?
There are a lot of factors, but the signing of Jabari Parker by Duke last year, and now Dastrup by OSU, underscores something coaches have long understood: Mormon does not always equal BYU.
Considering players like Eric Mika and T.J. Haws almost automatically committed to BYU, it’s easy to get into the mode of thinking that all top LDS athletes want to attend college in Provo.
BYU is in the conversation with nearly every active LDS athlete, but it’s not a guarantee. Playing in a mid-major basketball conference and as an independent in football has its drawbacks. If you’re a top 100 player, those things factor in.
However, so do the advantages, such as good academics, spiritual support and, of course, plenty of LDS people to date.
BYU has an in with LDS athletes that no one else does. But its challenge is to be “big-time” enough that recruits will go there for that reason alone. Everything else just seals the deal.
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