It is funny sometimes how life can come full circle.
For Daniel Bejarano, there may have been some unplanned hurdles along the way but today, he is working out for NBA teams leading up to the 2015 Draft.
Out of North High School in Phoenix, Bejarano was not just one of the top prospects in Arizona, he was one of the top on the west coast and was on his way to Tucson to play for the University of Arizona after winning two consecutive state titles at North.
He joined the Wildcats program during a time of transition having just gone through a coaching change with Sean Miller who was diligently working to turn this program who had dealt with coaching uncertainty for three years and make it his own. Bejarano opted to transfer from the program and joined the Colorado State Rams for the rest of his career.
“I never got down,” Bejarano said. “A lot of things happened to me in my past. Up and down but just staying ready. Having the confidence and just believing in myself. That’s the biggest thing.”
“Something might hit me and I might go down, but I’ve got to go straight back up and keep it going,” he added.
Bejarano with the Rams went on to have a fantastic collegiate career. During his first season in Fort Collins, he came off the bench and was ultimately named the Mountain West’s Sixth Man of the Year. During his second season he was put into the startling lineup and earned Mountain West second-team all-conference accolades finishing 52 points shy of 1,000 for the season. Last season, he was one of the leaders on a team that just missed out on the NCAA Tournament.
This summer, Bejarano has been getting some work with some NBA teams during Pre-Draft workouts. His first was with the Denver Nuggets and after that, it was back in his hometown of Phoenix with the Suns. A humbling experience getting to work out for a team he has always been a fan of.
“Man I have been a Suns fan throughout my whole life,” he explained. “Jason Kidd, [Leandro] Barbose, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, you know I can keep going and going. I am just blessed to be here, be around and talk to everybody.”
“I was impressed when I saw his rebounding numbers for a guard,” mentioned Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough after his workout. “He is an athletic guy, he’s strong, he came here and competed. He obviously bounced around a little bit during his college career but for him to be able to come in and be versatile, he’s a traditional two-guard I guess but with his strength and athleticism, he’s able to guard bigger guys on switches and things like that. It was good to see him, we appreciated him coming in and it’s always good to have local guys in the mix.”
While playing on the Suns practice court in front of their front office executives and head coach Jeff Hornacek is a dream opportunity, he is taking the process seriously and staying motivated so that he can have the chance to achieve his ultimate goal of suiting up for a NBA team.
“I am all business and basically just trying to be professional,” stated Bejarano. “I am excited but not trying to be too nervous. I saw my Mom, she was excited but I told her “hey Mom, it’s just straight business!” So it’s good.”
Playing professional here in the U.S. or overseas will remain to be seen over the next several weeks but bottom line, the Phoenix basketball standout has grown up and developed into someone who will have that opportunity after an impressive career to this point.