With his senior year approaching and no college basketball scholarships in site, Intermountain Christian forward Zach Paige figured his best chance of playing in college was to join an AAU team, play hard and hope to get noticed.
His experience with the A-Train Magic took the Lions' best player out of state and out of his comfort zone.
"When you play 1A basketball, sometimes you wonder how you stack up against the really good players," Paige said. "I learned that I'm good enough to play against those guys, but I also learned what areas I really needed to improve upon."
Paige averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds for his high school team last season. He figures those numbers will rise this season as the undisputed go-to guy for the Lions.
"The biggest thing I have to work on is my motor," Paige said. "I can't take any possessions off, and I have to do a better job of pursuing the basketball."
As a sophomore, Paige was part of a Lions squad that reached the state semifinals. He contributed 12 points per game but didn't have the pressure to perform every night because of a solid nucleus around him.
Lions coach Bodie Christensen said it's pretty clear what's expected of his best player since the squad only has two seniors.
"For us to be successful, Zach needs to post numbers in the 20-point, 10-rebound category every night," Christensen said.
At 6 foot 3 and 200 pounds, Paige creates matchup problems for just about every team he'll face this season.
"He's bulky enough that he can bang people around and a good enough outside shooter that he pulls the other team's big guys away from the basket," Christensen said.
• Intermountain Christian senior Zach Paige averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds for his high school team last season.
• Paige's father, Greg, said his son is a team-first player who genuinely wants to make everyone around him better.
• After making the Class 1A state semifinals as a sophomore, Intermountain Christian senior Zach Paige is hoping to get back to the state tournament and do some damage on the big stage.