Zone Read: Hamilton Hazing

After some time off for “spring break” and a week-long Final Four sabbatical, the Zone Read is back. Plenty of interesting things on my mind but nothing bigger or more impactful than what was reported last week at Hamilton High School.

Reality Bites

Hazing isn’t exclusive to just sports. It can happen in several different associations and situations but the long-lasting effects can stretch far beyond weeks or even months. The heinous actions of that handful of players could stem from a number of things ranging from immaturity or background, to possibly even being bullied or hazed themselves at one time or another.

It’s narrow-minded to think this doesn’t or won’t happen in other locker rooms across the state of Arizona–sad, but true. By no means do I believe this is widespread but it’s likely happening, in some form or capacity, more often than you may think by influenceable teenagers who make poor choices.

Fact: high school is a delicate age where teenage acceptance often trumps sound decision making. 

What every prep student-athlete, coach and parent needs to remember is communication and transparency, even in the most difficult of times, is the best path to avoid what has reportedly been going on inside the Huskies’ locker room over the past couple years. 

The Hamilton volcano may have erupted but the lava is still brewing and, according to some people close to the situation, this isn’t the school’s first transgression when it comes to sports scandals.

I’m sensing this damaging situation is far from being resolved so let’s please refrain from throwing stones, especially when some may come from glass houses.

The Football Fall Out

Some Hamilton players have said publicly on social media they are committed to staying in the program throughout this ugly mess.

“There are a lot of incoming seniors who are incredibly upset by the fact that the name on the front of their jersey is going to be [tarnished] from this point on,” ArizonaVarsity.com Publisher Ralph Amsden said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat Wednesday morning. 

Others are already moving on.

The rich get richer. Flynn gives Shaun Aguano another difference-maker defensively for the Wolves after a monster junior season at Hamilton. 

Action Jackson

It isn’t uncommon to see a two-sport star in high school but Austin Jackson is taking it to another level at North Canyon. The state’s top 2017 football prospect and USC commit, did this at a recent track meet at Chaparral High School.

Did we fail to mention he also excelled at another sport during his prep career at NCHS?

The Men of Troy are getting a great one, on the field and off.

Tucson Tower

Salpointe Catholic’s Matteo Mele has seen his college recruitment spike this spring. Don’t be surprised if Amphitheater massive lineman David Watson is the next in line. The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder is nimble enough to be a lead blocker on sweeps, but also stout in stuffing the run inside at defensive tackle.

Beyond his impressive skill set, Watson also holds the intangibles colleges crave.

“David is always looking to get better,” Amphi head coach Jorge Mendivil said to Sports360AZ.com. “He’s super athletic. His football IQ is off the charts. This makes everyone around him better.”

Watson, a three-year starter whose dad played at Arizona and has an offer from the Wildcats, dropped 10 pounds this off-season as he prepares for what I’m sure will be a big senior season. Amphi went 8-3 in 2016.

Welcoming Hosts 

We’ve seen high-end Valley programs make road trips to Nevada, Colorado and California in recent years. Now it’s nice to see high-end programs agreeing to visit Arizona for games. Chandler will entertain one of the nation’s top programs, Jason Mohns’ Saguaro Sabercats will welcome Utah 5A Champion East High School and now Richard Taylor’s Centennial Coyotes will join the fun later this summer.

The visibility and high-level play is real and with the state continuing to grow, I believe the talent in Arizona will only improve. Judging from the recruiting trail, major college coaches certainly agree.