It would be easy for Payton Pritchard to become wrapped up in the hype surrounding him. Just halfway through his high school career, the Class of 2016 point guard reports an impressive list of scholarship offers.
The Oregon floor general has watched his recruitment really take off this spring with a a strong performance for Team Fast on the Adidas Gauntlet AAU circuit. He was scheduled to visit Villanova on Saturday but received good news from the Wildcats before stepping foot on campus.
"(Villanova Coach) Jay Wright called me (Friday) because he won't be there tomorrow (Saturday). It worked out bad. He has to go to a Nike event. He called me to offer me the scholarship today because he won't be there tomorrow," Pritchard said.
Pritchard, who has led West Linn (OR) High to two straight Class 6A state titles, felt good about his chances of landing a Villanova offer. He was just a little surprised that it came on Friday.
"They said they liked what they saw of me this spring. They said it would probably happen (on the visit)," Pritchard said.
The Wildcats joined Washington, Oregon, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Butler, Villanova, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin as schools to offer Pritchard a scholarship, he reported. He visited Indiana and Butler during a tournament in Indianapolis this month and stopped at Villanova while in the region for the Mary Kline Classic this weekend. He arrived in Philadelphia after competing in an event in Orlando last week.
"I'm just working on my game like I always have. Working hard is what got me where I am today. I'm going to continue to work on my weaknesses. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish. There are bigger goals than just collecting scholarship offers. It's great that all of these colleges are looking at me, but I want to keep going. I want to make the USA Team. Last year, I made it to the final cut," he said.
Pritchard is well traveled and isn't limiting his options to schools close to his Northwest home. He's looking to choose a college sometime during next year's AAU season.
"It's not really about where the school is at. Of course I want it to be in a nice area, but it's more about finding the best fit for me. There are a lot of great schools out there so I'm going to try to get to as many campuses as I can between now and when I commit," he said.
Scout.com ranks the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Pritchard as the No. 19 point guard nationally in '16. He could continue to rise up the charts with stops at the Adidas Nations event and the NBA Players Association Camp on his summer schedule.
"I'm trying to keep an open mind and just go through the process. There are some schools that I've seen that I like but it's still pretty early," he said.
Pritchard has planned an unofficial visit to Wisconsin later this summer. He has yet to set up any other campus stops to date.
Iowa began talking to Pritchard's father within the last few months, he said. He likes how Iowa utilizes its point guard and plays an up-tempo style.
"I've talked to Coach (Fran) McCaffery. He just said that he likes how I play. He thinks that I'm a winner and do a good job leading my team. He likes my overall game and that I do whatever it takes to win," Pritchard said.
Pritchard points to academics as a key component in his decision making process. He's leaning towards a business major.
"I'm also looking for a place that can make me better as a player. I want to go somewhere where they're known for developing players. I'm looking for a family atmosphere on the team and a fan base that's really supportive of the program," he said.