That’s not the case his last year in college. He and six other seniors will try to postpone 25-year Coach Bob Thomason’s retirement for at least another game. But to do so the 15th-seeded Tigers (22-12) will need to upset second-seeded Miami (27-6) in Austin, Texas, on Friday afternoon.
The 6-foot-4 Beatty, a starter who played his first two college seasons at Barton (Kan.) Community College, made six of seven three-point attempts in Pacific’s 71-68 win over UC-Santa Barbara in the Big West Conference quarterfinals. He scored a career-high 26 points that game and also led the team with eight rebounds. The Tigers knocked off Cal Poly (by two) in the semis and UC-Irvine in the Big West final.
Beatty, averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds, has hit 26 of 54 three-point attempts (48.1 percent) after making only 15 of 60 tries (25 percent) in his first season at the Stockton, Calif., school, which is in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
I caught up with Beatty on the phone earlier this week to ask him some questions about his DuVal days:
Best high school basketball memory: “Winning the MVP in the county all-star game, 4A vs. 3A, my senior year [in 2009]. I hit two threes in the beginning of the game and remember having a real good dunk when one of my teammates threw it off the backboard. I kind of had the feeling that if we won the game I could get the MVP.”
Favorite high school gym other than DuVal’s: “Probably Eleanor Roosevelt, just because that was our rival. It was five minutes from my school and every time we played there [once each his junior and senior seasons] it would get real packed. I never actually won there, but it was just the experience there and I had a couple of good games.”
Most embarrassing high school basketball moment: “I would have to say at home, I believe against High Point, I had a breakaway dunk and I missed it. A wide-open dunk.”
Favorite high school victory: “Playing Eleanor Roosevelt at home my senior year and they were ranked in the state and we weren’t and we beat them after coming off a loss to [C.H. Flowers]. It was a packed game and we beat them.” That 69-60 victory, with 15 points from Beatty, came in the second game of the season. The previous season Eleanor Roosevelt had thumped DuVal by 75-33 and 72-37 scores.
Best player I faced in high school: “I’d probably give it to Delonta Boyd, the big man for Wise. Every time we played he kind of had a big game against us and nobody could really check him. I remember him killing us every game.”
Best piece of basketball advice that you got in high school: “My senior year when half my team got kicked off for grades I remember my coach [Artie Walker] telling me, ‘Don’t turn in the season now. You still have something to fight for if you’re looking forward to playing college basketball. We can still do a lot of things this year.’ That kept me motivated to keep playing hard and to try to get to the state championship.” DuVal was rolling along before the suspensions.
High school loss that stung the most: “The first-round playoff loss [58-54] my senior year to Northwestern. At the end of the game I fouled out and they ended up hitting two free throws to go up two points and win the game. I wasn’t in at the end of the game to help my team. That one hurt for awhile.”
Piece of advice for high school players: “Stay focused on what you want to do. If you’re really serious about playing basketball, you just need to practice and stay in the gym and really focus on academics because that kind of messed me up. I wasn’t eligible to go Division I out of high school and had to go the junior college route. Even if you’re a top player, you won’t be able to go Division I unless you have the grades for it.”
What do you miss the most about high school basketball: “Probably just the freedom, not having any worries. In college, it’s more of a business. You have to worry about the media and everything is always in the public eye. In high school, I was just a regular kid playing basketball. Basketball is still fun, but it was more free and relaxing in high school.”
Best thing about college basketball: “Just the intensity and the level of play. You always want to play against the best people, so playing in college you’re always getting tested mentally and physically against the best players.”
Worst thing about college basketball: “The time management part. You have so much to do with film and practice and weights and community service. It’s kind of hard to manage my time with class and practice and everything. I love it though, so I don’t mind it too much.”
What do you think of when you hear the words March Madness: “First love. I always wished I was in it. I have to say it’s a dream come true.”