Masai Dean Jr. committed to Brian Peabody’s program at Pima College on Friday becoming the second player from the Dean family to join the Aztecs in recent years.
Marcel Dean, a standout at Cholla High School before Masai Jr. starred there, played at Pima in the COVID-19-shortened 2020-21 season after originally playing at the Tohono O’Odham Junior College.
Their father is Masai Dean Sr., who coached them at Cholla.
Peabody and his assistant Marsharne Flannigan were instrumental in luring Masai Jr., who contemplated joining his brother at Kansas Wesleyan.
Committed! Go aztecs🤍💙@PimaMens_bball @coachflannigan_ @PeabodyBrian #JUCOPRODUCT @JUCOadvocate @JucoRecruiting pic.twitter.com/1v0ze6XtO5
— sai (@masaidean2) April 7, 2023
Marcel has spent the last two seasons at Kansas Wesleyan after playing a five-game schedule with the Aztecs in 2020-21.
“We as a family were really pleased with Marcel’s stay at Pima,” said Masai Sr. “He was able to go play at Kansas Wesleyan. I think Coach Peabody runs a great program and we are excited to have Sai be a part of the program.
“With great coaches like Coach Flannigan on the staff, I look forward to watching his development. There is a lot of kids that want to play college ball in Tucson so Sai having the opportunity to keep playing, play for a great program and stay home is a great deal for our family.”
Masai Jr., a 6-foot-1 and 155-pound guard, was selected the AllSportsTucson.com Player of the Year after averaging 21.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He finished his Cholla career with 1,295 points.
Masai Jr. will join former Gilbert Mesquite standout guard Cohen J. Gonzales, who averaged 25 points a game.
Gonzales, the Desert Sky Region Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-region selection, committed to Pima on March 25.
He is the son of Mesquite girls coach Candice Gonzales, who coached the Wildcats to the 2016-17 state championship. Shaylee Gonzales, who has played at BYU and Texas, was on that team.
His father, Josh Gonzales, heads the Team Arizona basketball club. He played on the Mexican All-Star team in 1998 with former Pima standout Horacio Llamas.
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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.