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October 3, 2006

Arizona's best staying home

Shooting Guard
6-3, 193, Phoenix St. Mary's

Rivals.com Rankings
Rivals150 for 2007: No. 10 overall
2007 Shooting Guards: No. 3

Career Stats
2005-06 (Jr.) 37.4 8.0 8.5

Watch the latest highlights of Jerryd Bayless in action
1: What NBA player do you pattern your game after?
I pattern my game after (Dwyane Wade) and Jay Williams.

2: What's the best part of your game?
The best part of my game is my mid-range game.

3: What do you still need to work on?
I still need to work on everything! To be a complete player you must keep improving on everything.

4: Who is the best player you have ever played against?
The best player I have ever played against is Mike Bibby.

5: What is your greatest sports moment?
My greatest sports moment so far was being part of the gold-medal winning under 17 USA team. To be able to represent your country and win while doing it is a memory that will always stick with me.

6: What is your favorite way to get ready for a game?
To get ready for game I just try to relax and get in a focused mind-set.

7: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself being successful in whatever path I follow.

The University of Arizona has a habit of landing the best players in its state. Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Mike Bibby are some of the notable Arizona prep stars who went on to have great careers in Tucson. As good as these three players were, they were not as good as 2007 commitment Jerryd Bayless.

"Without a doubt, Jerryd is the best high school player ever in Arizona," said Bayless' head coach David Lopez of St. Mary's High School.

Lopez ought to know. He has been coaching high school basketball in Arizona for the past 30 years, the last 14 years at St. Mary's.

"We had (Mike) Bibby in our conference, so I saw a lot of him," Lopez said. "And there is Richard Jefferson. I've seen them all, but Jerryd is the best. He has the complete package. It would be nice if he could get a state championship to go along with his accomplishments, and he has the pieces around him this year to possibly do that."

Bayless' gaudy scoring numbers attest his ability. As a junior last season, he scored 1,045 points while averaging 37.4 points per game. He came up only 25 points short of Mike Bibby's single season scoring record for the state of Arizona.

Over the 75 games of his career, Bayless is averaging just a hair under 25 points per game. If he can muster up 1,129 points next year, he will overtake Bibby as the state's career scoring leader.

Athough Bayless is an explosive athlete and outstanding scorer, the beauty of Bayless' game is the progress he has made in becoming a more complete player.

"Jerryd is becoming a better point guard," said Lopez. "He constantly works on different parts of his game and has a great desire to become a complete player. To me, what is more impressive than his stats is his desire to compete and get better."

The numbers back up Coach Lopez's sentiment. While scoring all those points last season, Bayless was also dishing out 8.5 assists per game.

Bayless has also made a strong impression beyond the state of Arizona. He was an integral part of the USA's 18U World Games team that won the gold medal. Bayless averaged 11 points per game and providing strong leadership. He also stood out at the Nike Skills Academy over the summer.

"Jerryd gets such great elevation on his shot," said former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who participated in the Skills Academy. "He can get to a certain spot on the court, either in the post or the mid-range, and then just elevate over defenders. It is his play in the mid-range which separates him from the other guards in his class."

Rivals.com is unveiling its preseason Elite Team for the Class of 2007. Comprised of the nation's top high school basketball stars, the Elite Team is broken down into position-specific first, second and third teams. These stars will soon be signing with the top college basketball programs en route to the NBA. We will announce one player each weekday from Oct. 2-20.

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