Early signing day arrives and one of the top basketball prospects in Arizona, Dane Kuiper of Corona del Sol, made his long time commitment to New Mexico official.
“Signing just means I am one step closer to being there,” Corona del Sol senior Dane Kuiper said on Wednesday. “I love the school and the program and I just cannot wait to get started.”
As mentioned, Kuiper made his commitment a long time ago and has been one of the biggest New Mexico advocates out there ever since. Kuiper traveled to Albuquerque for a tournament with a club team long before he moved to Arizona from Alaska and long before he is the level of player that he is today. He grew a love and passion for that school the first time he visited and that feeling has only grown since.
“I love Coach (Craig) Neal and the staff,” Kuiper explained. “They have been great with me since day one and I feel their style fits my game perfect.”
With the commitment behind him and now the papers signed sealed and delivered, the work is still imminent and there are plenty of things Kuiper has his eyes on to continue to improve his game before he puts on a Lobo uniform for the first time.
“I am working a lot on my ball handling and scoring off the dribble,” mentioned Kuiper. “I also need to continue to stay aggressive defensively and crash the boards.”
Corona del Sol has won three consecutive state championships in Arizona and Kuiper this past season was involved in the most recent. This Aztec team will have a bit of a different look to it as for the first time since this fantastic run of state titles, Casey Benson will not be a part of it. Still with plenty of talent in the fold, Kuiper knows what it will take to continue the success.
“We need to keep getting better as a team,” stated Kuiper. “We have some great individuals such as Marvin (Bagley), Alex (Barcello) and Tyrell (Henderson) but need to continue to get better at working together. We are all really close, hang out on and off the basketball court. So I have no doubt we will be able to.”
With Benson now at Oregon, sophomore Alex Barcello steps in at point guard and from Kuiper’s perspective, this team will not skip a beat.
“Alex and Casey are a lot alike,” Kuiper said. “Alex is very competitive, loves to win and just like Casey. He is already a great leader as a sophomore. I could actually learn a lot from him on what it takes to lead.”
Alaskan Air himself, Dan Kuiper, and his Corona del Sol Aztecs begin their quest for a fourth consecutive state title on November 25th against Chinle.