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Local big men come on strong

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst
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Casey Arent found himself in rare company Wednesday night, Feb. 27, in Galt. The Del Oro High senior went to center court for the tip off and had to look up at El Camino's 6-foot-10 senior Andy Shannon. I've never really had a guy out-height me before, Arent said. At 6-9, Arent was a force all season for the Golden Eagles and he had perhaps his finest performance of the season in their final game. Arent scored 20 points against the Eagles' massive front line, affirming the immense improvement he made between his junior and senior seasons. I just had the mindset of out-playing them, Arent said of his performance in the 56-49 loss to the eventual section champions. Eight minutes of sub-par play cost the Del Oro High boys basketball team a shot at its first Sac-Joaquin Section title since 1998. The Golden Eagles were outscored 22-12 in the opening quarter. Despite outplaying El Camino over the final three quarters, Del Oro couldn't climb out of the early hole. Arent is the latest in a line of impressive big men produced by schools in the foothills in recent years. Colfax got excellent production from 6-8 center Matt Harrell last season. Placer's Konner Veteto, a 6-8 center, battled nagging injuries his senior year in 2007. He's now at Summit College Prep in southern California and has verbally committed to UC Riverside. The Del Oro big man hasn't cemented his college plans, but he said he'll likely go the JC route. Arent's sister Becca played two years at Sierra after an excellent career at Del Oro. She's now on the hoops squad at Cal State Stanislaus. My sister really inspired me to play better, Casey said. I've always really been into hoops, but I grew five inches in the last two years and this year I just committed to basketball more than I ever have. Like Veteto, Arent played AAU hoops the summer before his senior season, which took his game to another level. Arent played with many of the Sacramento area's top players on the NorCal Pharaohs club last year. He also skipped out on football to focus on his hoops career. It often takes big men longer to develop the coordination and agility to be effective on the basketball court, where quickness and speed often dominate. I think for us, it's more work, Arent said. Sometimes the big guys aren't as coordinated, but I've been working on that. I think I'm more coordinated than most guys my size. Todd Mordhorst is sports editor of the Auburn Journal.