VANCOUVER — Union High School senior Cameron Cranston wants to attract more opportunities, and he is willing to take another year before making a decision regarding his choice to play college basketball.
Cranston, the Class 4A boys basketball state player of the year this winter, told ClarkCountyToday.com Thursday that he will be attending a prep school in Kansas with the goal of earning a scholarship at a Division I or II program for the 2018-19 season.
“It was a tough process. I had some options. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful for the other options. I just wanted another year to develop, work on my body. I wanted one more year so my options can expand a little bit more,” he said.
Cranston plans on enrolling in Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, just outside of Wichita. Although he already is academically eligible for college, he said he will take some college classes and try to improve his test scores.
Sunrise Academy’s post-grad team plays about 30 games in a season, going up against other prep schools and junior colleges. A year at a post-grad program does not count against eligibility. Cranston will retain four years of college athletic eligibility.
“I want to get quicker, especially lateral movement, get better on defense,” Cranston said.
He could use a year to tone on his body, he added.
“I don’t want to get too big, but maybe some curls for the girls,” he said with a laugh, flexing his biceps muscle.
Cranston played varsity all four years with the Union Titans. His sophomore season, the team just missed making the state championship game, falling in the semifinals before taking home the third-place trophy. As a junior, the Titans finished fourth at state.
His senior year, Cranston made the game-winning shot in the semifinals. The Titans would settle for second place.
A 6-foot-6 guard/forward, Cranston averaged better than 19 points per game for the season. He was voted the 4A state boys player of the year by The Associated Press. At state, he averaged more than 21 points per game and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“This school has been pretty good to me,” Cranston said of Union. “I’m definitely a Titan for life. I wouldn’t trade any of this high school experience, on or off the court, for anything.”
The recruiting process, though, was a struggle. Athletes often share stories of being misled. Cranston did not want to get into any specific details but noted it has not been easy.
“Some coaches tell you how good you are, then they drop you and never talk to you again. That really sucks sometimes,” Cranston said.
“I try to take a more positive outlook on it,” he said. “It’s something you have to persevere through. You have to look at the man upstairs and know He has a purpose for everything. Just stay the course He has paved out for you.”
That road leads to Kansas.
Sunrise Christian is looking forward to having him there.
“He fits who we are, our culture, on and off the court,” said Achoki Moikobu, Sunrise Christian’s coach of the post-grad team. “He’ll represent Sunrise appropriately. And as everyone knows, scoring is in his DNA.”
Cranston said going to a post-grad team prior to college is becoming more common.
“In the basketball world, it’s pretty known. People are doing it quite a bit nowadays. Can’t really go wrong going to prep school,” Cranston said. “Different life experiences. Meeting new friends.”
Union coach Blake Conley did his research, as well, trying to help one of his players. The prep school, Conley said, will give Cranston an opportunity to work on his individual game, to become a more versatile player.
“He’s not closing any doors,” Conley said. “Hopefully, he will have more choices.”
That is the long-term plan.
Cranston said he has always dreamed of playing Division I college basketball. That still could happen, but he also has accepted the possibility of going elsewhere.
“I want to see myself change, improve. If that doesn’t take me to a Division I school, there are some very good Division II schools I’d be happy to go to,” Cranston said.