Dean’s List: Cholla’s Masai Dean Jr. joins brother Marcel in 1,000-Point Club in career

Masai Dean Jr. (2) celebrates with his Cholla teammates after eclipsing 1,000 career points with a 36-point performance in the Chargers’ 80-62 win at Sunnyside (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Southern Arizona has featured high-profile siblings through the years like the Bates brothers (Marion, Michael and Mario), Dosty sisters (Whitney and Sybil), and most recently, the Berryhill brothers (Stanley, Savaughn and Shamar) and Bourguet clan in football (Trenton, Coben and Treyson) and multi-talented sister Rylen.

The 7-foot Jung brothers (Brian and Mark) from Canyon del Oro played in state championship games in the 1970s and were prolific scorers.

Brian broke the city scoring record with 1,688 points in 1975. Mark averaged 28.3 in 1978 when CDO won the state championship. Brian’s 53 points against Nogales that season broke the city record.

Masai Dean Jr. goes up for two of his 36 points in the win over Sunnyside (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Masai Dean Jr. eclipsing 1,000 points in his career with a season-high 36 points Thursday night in an 80-62 win at Sunnyside means he and his brother Marcel have the distinction of each becoming 1,000-point scorers.

Marcel finished with 1,314 career points from 2014-18 at Cholla High School.

On top of that, their father Masai Dean Sr. was one of Barry Wilson’s top players at Tucson High School in the early 1990’s. The elder Dean was not sure if he surpassed 1,000 points during his time with the Badgers, up to when he was a senior in 1992-93, but at least he knows he played a significant part in his sons reaching that mark as their head coach.

“It’s an elite (1,000-point) club he’s in,” Masai Sr. said of Masai Jr. “At least he can be compared to his brother. They can sit at home and talk about being in that club.

“I’m just proud of the guy. That guy works hard. He does a good job … He’s self-motivated. I don’t have to sweat him. I think he’s grown into a leader this year. He’s done a good job. A pretty proud dad moment tonight.”

Cholla’s Masai Dean Jr. was 17 of 22 from the line against Sunnyside in the 80-62 win (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The younger Dean achieved his 1,000th point fittingly on a strong move to the basket and scoring over a Sunnyside defender early in the second quarter.

The game was not stopped, which usually happens when a milestone achievement is accomplished at home. This was at Sunnyside’s gym. The Dean family along with many fans in the stands later displayed a large banner among Cholla fans that signified Masai Jr. achieving 1,000 career points.

“I’m blessed,” Masai Jr. said. “I’ve got teammates that put me in a position to win. I’ve got family, I’ve got friends that push me every single day. I’m nothing without them, so I’ve got to give them all the credit.”

He can recall the first points he scored as a freshman. It was one of three 3-pointers — “a deep 3,” he said — that he made while scoring 10 points in an 81-66 win over Palo Verde on Nov. 27, 2019.

His scored in double digits in his first five games. Since the second game of his sophomore year, he has scored in double-figures in 40 straight games, including a career-high 42 against Cienega last season.

“(Eclipsing 1,000 points) means it’s one hell of a journey,” the younger Dean said. “I’m happy we’re on a (four-game) winning streak right now. All four years have been a blessing. … Working out every day, working on my craft. This is the result — that’s all it is.”

Cholla has featured prolific scorers over the years, including Sean Elliott (844 points scored as a senior in 1984-85 and 31.3 scoring average both were single-season 5A state records at the time) and Chuck Overton (school-record 2,535 points).

Cholla’s fans and family of Masai Dean Jr. hold up a banner signifying his scoring milestone achievement (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

In more recent years, the Chargers have featured the likes Abram Carrasco (1,210), Myles Gantt (1,007) and the Dean brothers.

The younger Dean is now 292 points shy of reaching his older brother’s career mark.

“I might be the only guy in the house without a thousand,” Masai Sr. joked of his sons’ career scoring achievements.

He can look at this way — he played a significant role as a dad and coach to be part of his sons’ combined 2,336 points.

Marcel, who played with Pima College after graduating from Cholla, is now a junior at Kansas Wesleyan.

Cholla coach Masai Dean Sr. with his son Masai Jr. in the background (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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Cholla (6-1) outscored Sunnyside 34-26 in the second half to hold off the Blue Devils (2-6), who lost earlier this season to the Chargers in the Dick McConnell Thanksgiving Classic at Pima College.

Adrian Perez contributed 19 points and Fabian Escobedo added 14 points behind four 3-pointers for Cholla.

Sunnyside was led by 12 points each from Julian Matters and Michael Quiroga and 11 points from Xavier Leyva.

Cholla next plays Flowing Wells at home Wednesday while Sunnyside plays at Catalina Foothills on Monday. Games start at 7 p.m.

Although falling behind by 15 points early, Sunnyside never let Cholla pull away until the final minutes (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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