It has been an exciting ride for Pinnacle High School guard Drew Bender who has been one of the top players, on one of the top programs in the state for the last two seasons.
This summer, Bender has been working as hard as ever as he is hoping to help lead Pinnacle to their first state championship in basketball, despite how successful the basketball team has been since the school opened back in 2000.
“We’ve been there,” Bender mentioned. “In those big games we have to play harder. Sometimes we don’t bring it in those big games and I think that’s something we’ve got to do.”
On top of gearing up for next season, Bender individually put himself more on the map nationally as he, along with Jaron Hopkins, Payton Dastrup, Paul Watson, Casey Bensen and others from Arizona participated in the Pangos Top 100 Camp in Long Beach, CA back in June.
“It was awesome,” Bender said. “It was great to see all of the great players there like Payton (Dastrup), Casey (Benson), Jaron (Hopkins) and Paul (Watson) there representing Arizona which is always good.”
After Pangos In June, Bender took a big recruiting trip for ten days which included Creighton, Drake, Colorado and Utah. There were a few things that Bender was looking for on those visits.
“Just how at home I felt,” explained Bender. “There were certain places where I can say I can see myself being there in a couple years and can see myself being a big part of that team and a part of that family.”
On top of those schools Bender visited, he has also received interest from Air Force, Dartmouth, Houston Baptist and NAU.
Obviously winning a state title is on the top of Benders to do list. But there is one thing in particular that he is hoping to accomplish before all is said and done for high school hoops.
“I just want to know that I gave everything I had and gave my teammates everything I could give them,” said Bender. “If we fall short of a state championship then so be it. I just want to play this year, have fun and make it a year to remember.”
For more Arizona high school hoops, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.