Desert Pines boys basketball coach Mike Uzan isn’t surprised by the success of his freshman point guard.
Of course, Uzan is a little more familiar with him than most people.
Milos Uzan, the coach’s son, has led the Jaguars in scoring, assists and steals and has them on a 13-game winning streak as they prepare for the Mountain Region tournament, which begins Monday at host sites.
“He’s our point guard,” Mike Uzan said. “He’s one of the better ones out there, and we know it and he gets it going for us. And guys feed off him.”
Milos Uzan averaged 13.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals in leading Desert Pines (20-6) to an undefeated run through the Northeast League. That finish gave the Jaguars a double bye in the tournament, so they won’t play until the quarterfinals on Friday.
Mike Uzan said it’s no surprise that his son has been ready to lead the team as a freshman.
“He’s played basketball with two state championship teams here,” Mike Uzan joked. “So he knows. He sees it.”
Milos Uzan was around the team’s practices and games over the past two seasons when the Jaguars won Class 3A state titles. Now he’s a reason the team is ready to contend at the Class 4A level.
“It feels good,” Milos Uzan said. “I put a lot of time in. It’s just another team I’m leading.”
Milos Uzan is armed with pass-first attitude, but also has the ability to knock down a 3-pointer or shake a defender with a quick change of direction and crossover dribble.
“He’s one of those kids that really don’t have to score; he don’t care about scoring,” Mike Uzan said. “He knows he needs to at times, but he wants to get his team off. That’s what’s important for him, and it showed, because guys get fed off of it and he gets his (points) later.”
Milos Uzan is one of the young guns for Desert Pines, which has two freshmen and three sophomores among its top six scorers.
Sophomore Dayshawn Wiley has averaged 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds, and junior football standout Darnell Washington has given the Jaguars an inside presence with 10.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
“He’s gotten way better than last year,” Wiley said of the 6-foot-7-inch, 255-pound Washington. “Last year he really didn’t like basketball, but now he’s starting to like it, so now he’s starting to be more aggressive.”
Sophomore Cimarron Conriquez is the team’s other double-figure scorer at 11.4 points.
“We’ve got a good bond,” Milos Uzan said. “We’re always with each other. We bowl, we do everything with each other, so the chemistry is a lot better because of it.”
Mike Uzan said that chemistry is one of the reasons he thinks his squad can make a serious postseason run.
“Guys are getting more confident,” Mike Uzan said. “And they just like each other. That makes a big difference. When guys like playing with each other and like battling with each other, you can be real dangerous.”
And because so many of the team’s top players figure to be back next season, the future looks bright, too.
“It’s good, because in the future, I don’t think no one’s messing with us,” Milos Uzan said. “I think we’re going to be probably one of the top teams in the country next year.”
Boys basketball playoffs
Class 4A Desert and Mountain Regions
First round: Monday
Second round: Wednesday
Semifinals: Feb. 19
Championship: Feb. 21