Patience paid off for former Sacramento High School boys basketball standout Aaron Cameron.
The 2012-13 Metro Conference co-MVP graduated without a scholarship offer and planned to play at Cosumnes River College this season.
But a strong summer showing with a Bay Area-based Amateur Athletic Union team, plus a late coaching change at Cal State East Bay, led to the 6-foot-1 Cameron signing a scholarship offer to play for the Pioneers.
Gus Argenal, who played at UC Davis and was an assistant at Rice, was hired to replace Will Biggs, who retired as the Pioneers' coach in April.
Argenal had been keeping an eye on Cameron. He loved Cameron's attacking style and three-point scoring ability along with the maturity to contribute immediately to a program that has had four consecutive losing seasons.
"The coach is young and looking to rebuild, and I wanted to be part of that," Cameron said. "He's a great guy who knows a lot about basketball."
Cameron, a three-year all-league player for coach Derek Swafford at Sac High, is the school's career three-point leader with 190. Last season, he averaged 12.7 points in helping the Dragons to a 25-9 record, a Metro Conference title and a No. 13 Northern California ranking by Maxpreps.com.
As a sophomore, Cameron made a splash in his first varsity start by scoring 33 points, including eight three-pointers. It came in an 86-85 double-overtime upset of then-defending CIF Northern California Division III Regional champion Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland during the Martin Luther King Classic at Cal.
"It was a whole different atmosphere than your typical high school game with all the fans, all the (college) coaches," Cameron said. "I just wanted to contribute."
At Sac High, Cameron often worked out with former Dragons star guards Chase Tapley, Josiah Turner, Trevon Abraham and Darius Graham.
But the player he looked up to the most was 7-foot Robert Garrett, now at Santa Clara.
"He was a huge motivator, a dedicated player and a nice guy," Cameron said. "He was like a big brother."
Hart to USC Granite Bay right-handed pitcher Mitch Hart, who recently committed to USC, has excelled on the summer showcase circuit.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior played in the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minneapolis and the Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C., and was a member of the Oakland A's squad that competed in the Area Code Games in Long Beach.
Hart was 2-2 with a 1.48 ERA in 23 2/3 innings last season for the Grizzlies.
Et cetera A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at Grant High School for Joe Duarte Jr., a founder and longtime director of the Optimist All-Star games who died July 23 of acute leukemia. He was 84. Duarte, already a member of the LaSalle Club Baseball and Greater Sacramento Softball halls of fame, was inducted into the Optimist Hall of Fame shortly before he died.
The annual National Football Foundation, Sacramento Valley Chapter's high school kickoff brunch will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at Carmichael Elks Club. Cost is $15, and it is open to the public. For information, contact Jim Jorgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 624-4243.
Former Christian Brothers volleyball standout Kayla Neto is playing for a professional team in Basel, Switzerland. The Clarksburg resident and Cal State Fullerton graduate was named the 2012-13 Big West Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Jerry Crews has stepped down after 22 years of coaching Fair Oaks American Legion Post 383. During his tenure as a head or assistant baseball coach, Fair Oaks won six District VI championships.
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.