High School Sports

He’s played against some of the top players. MC freshman Devin Day is unfazed.

One-on-one with Modesto Christian freshman guard Devin Day

Modesto Christian High School freshman guard Devin Day has been an integral part of the Crusaders success this year.
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Modesto Christian High School freshman guard Devin Day has been an integral part of the Crusaders success this year.

Only a freshman, Modesto Christian guard Devin Day plays like an experienced veteran.

In a recent game against a tough league foe, Day came off the bench and knocked down three 3-pointers in the first quarter of a 89-80 victory over St. Mary’s.

“He is a confident kid but he doesn’t have an ounce of cockiness in him,” Crusaders coach Brice Fantazia said. “He just goes about his business. He looks the same on the court if he is 0-for-10 or 10-for-10. He doesn’t get rattled by playing against older kids.”

Some of those “older kids” Day has played against, especially in the first two weeks of the season, are some of the best players in the country.

Against Santa Margarita in November, the Crusaders (15-4, 6-0) faced off against senior forwards Max Agbonkpolo and Jake Kyman.

Agbonkpolo signed with USC and Kyman with UCLA and both are top 20 players in the state, according to 247sports.

Day also played against Gonzaga Prep and senior forward Anton Watson at the HoopHall West Classic on Dec. 7. Watson signed with Gonzaga and is the No. 2 player in Washington, according to 247sports.

“It was cool to play against the best players in the nation right off of the bat,” Day said. “In AAU, we didn’t really have games where we were playing back-to-back games against big superstars on each team.”

Fantazia has been coaching Day since he was 11 years old in the Chuck Hayes AAU program and said his 6-foot-3 sharpshooter is used to the spotlight.

“In eighth grade, he played on the 16U CHB team last summer and played really well,” Fantazia said. “There were times where 15 college coaches are watching the games and at that age, you just get used to the moment.”

Before a recent practice recently, we went one-on-one with Day:

MB: What were your expectations entering this year?

DD: At the beginning of the year, we didn’t really know who would be on varsity and it was kind of up in the air.

MB: How did you first get involved with basketball?

DD: My dad played college basketball at Southern Utah and he got me into it. I am a better shooter right now but he was probably better.

MB: What are some of your early memories of basketball?

DD: When I was younger and still today, my dad and I would go to the park or gym and I would shoot and he would rebound for me. I get a lot of shots up and it’s just awesome to get that support and advice.

MB: Who is your favorite NBA player and team?

DD: My favorite NBA player is Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. He is super exciting to watch and brings a lot of energy. I have been a Jazz fan since they got Mitchell.

MB: What is your favorite food?

DD: Chipotle and Little Caesars. I like the burritos from Chipotle.

MB: What do you like about this team?

DD: We have a lot of talent. In the St. Mary’s game, we were able to put it all together and show everybody what we are capable of. If we continue to do that, we will go far in playoffs and win state.

MB: What needs to happen for MC to win a section and state title?

DD: We have to play with better chemistry and just trust each other more.

Modesto Christian MLK Showcase: The Modesto Christian girls basketball team is hosting the MLK Showcase on Saturday.

Eight games are scheduled in the event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

“He (MLK) is huge for society even today and we do the tournament to honor him and hopefully get some good basketball going,” Fantazia said.

Modesto Christian boys will face off against Vanden at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of a Dec. 29 contest the Crusaders won, 72-62.

“Vanden is a top 10 team in NorCal and we got to come out ready to play,” Fantazia said.

MC is ranked No. 5 in the Sac-Joaquin Section by MaxPreps while Vanden is No. 6.

Other local teams participating in the tournament are: Gregori, MC, Pitman, and Turlock girls teams and Ceres, Modesto, Patterson, and Ripon boys teams.

2019 Modesto Christian MLK Showcase at Modesto Christian High School

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ticket Prices: TBA

9:00 a.m.GirlsArgonautGregori
10:30 a.m.GirlsPitmanElk Grove
12:00 p.m.GirlsMt. EdenTurlock
1:30 p.m.BoysEnterpriseCeres
3:00 p.m.BoysModestoPatterson
4:30 p.m.BoysBradshaw ChristianRipon
6:00 p.m.GirlsBradshaw ChristianModesto Christian
7:30 p.m.BoysVandenModesto Christian

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.