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Pritchard's offseason is a short one

The West Linn point guard has played with some of the nation's top players and continues to receive college offers


Photo Credit: VERN UYETAKE - In his first two years on varsity, Payton Pritchard has won a pair of state titles as West Linn's starting point guard.For incoming junior Payton Pritchard, his offseason consists of two weeks in early August... if that. The basketball standout from West Linn has already had a busy summer conditioning and competing with 37 other of the best high school basketball players in the country, trying to make the U17 national team that will compete in the World Championships later this month.

Pritchard missed the cut to become one of the 12 players on the squad but he said the experience has only made him a better player.

“Going against the best competition and that athleticism always helps your game,” Pritchard said.

On top of that, Pritchard also has scores of Division I colleges courting him to be their point guard of the future.

Pritchard has received a handful of offers from schools like Kansas, Villanova, Wisconsin and, recently, Florida State. The Big-10 has been particularly interested in him with both Michigan State and Ohio State stepping up their pursuit.

It's a lot to take in for a player with two more years of high school remaining but it's also something he's fully prepared for.

“It's a nice accomplishment but I know it's not my ultimate goal. It's just another stepping stone,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard has been a basketball junkie from an exceptionally early age and his natural athleticism made him a standout in multiple sports.

Despite excelling on the football field as well, it was an easy call for Pritchard to focus his efforts on the court.

Pritchard's abilities put him on the radar in junior high and he has done nothing to dampen those early expectations.

As a freshman at West Linn, he had the difficult task of taking over the reins as the point guard on a junior-heavy team that had been playing together for years.

Pritchard fit in seamlessly and thrived at getting his teammates involved, showing a maturity on the court that defied his age. He helped the Lions go on a magical run through the playoffs that ended with a dramatic and somewhat unexpected state championship.

During his sophomore year, Pritchard took on an even larger role on the offensive side of the ball, turning into a devastating passer and ball-handler and one of the most lethal outside shooters in Oregon.

He and junior Anthony Mathis made up a virtually unguardable backcourt that steamrolled through the playoffs to a second straight state title.

West Linn didn't lose to an Oregon opponent last year and also finished third in the highly competitive Les Schwab Invitational which featured a few of the country's top high school teams.

Pritchard had undeniably become one of the state's top players and was awarded the 6A player of the year award as just a sophomore.

After a busy start to the summer, Pritchard now has just a few days left in his brief respite from training before he starts to kick it in to gear again in preparation for the high school season.

And, no doubt, more schools will continue to express their interest in his skills and will ramp up the pressure.

“There are a few schools that have been on me from the beginning. I try not to be on the phone too much and I let my parents handle most of that,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard may make another visit or two to colleges in the fall and hopes to narrow his choices down to 10 in the near future but he is in no hurry to commit currently.

Instead, he will continue to do what got him to this level. Practice.

“I'll do a lot of stretching and yoga and I take 500 shots a day, five days a week,” Pritchard said.

This winter, Pritchard will look to lead the Lions to a third straight state basketball championship and he and Mathis will be the unquestioned leaders on a team that graduated three starters and other key role players.



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