When you look at the 2014-15 Mesa Jackrabbit Basketball team, one thing you might notice is that they aren’t the tallest team you will see take the floor. But once the game starts, their size is one of the last things you pay attention too.
The reason? Their hyper-aggressive defense gives offensive players fits to the point that it is next to impossible to get off an easy, high percentage shot. They also have a post presence who plays much bigger than he is inside.
Junior forward for Mesa Darius Goudeau is listed at about 6-3 or 6-4 and about 190 pounds. He is the prime example of hard work and effort putting any talk of a size deficiency for the position he plays. He guards the tallest players on the opposing teams, sets the screens on screen and rolls and controls the ball on the low block.
“You’ve just got to work and hit someone,” explains Goudeau. “I am not as tall as a bunch of people so you just have to work harder than them.”
“Yeah, he is 6-3, with the heart of a 7-8 guy,” mentioned Mesa Head Coach Shane Burcar. “He’s our key…We’re not a big team, but I think we play a little bigger than we are.”
Normally the hard work and energy guys are role players and not known as the primary scorer. But Goudeau happens to be both for the Jackrabbits averaging about 16 points and nine rebounds per game.
From Goudeau’s perspective, it is just about what player is hot on a given night that makes them successful.
“It’s just whoever can score that night,” Goudeau stated. “If it’s me, it’s me. If it’s a teammate, it’s a teammate.”
The Jackrabbits expect to be a top four seed in the state playoffs which are set to get underway next week having just four losses on the year going into the Sectional final game. They are one of the hottest teams in the state having won seven in a row and believe they are really clicking at the right time.
“We’re pumped man,” said Goudeau. “We are ready to go every single game.”
“Our guys are playing with confidence right now,” added Burcar. “It’s huge for us. We just got a first round bye and our first game is going to be at home. You look at the top 24, 25, 26 teams, every game is going to be a fist fight right now.”