Basketball recruiting: Campolindo star decides to stay close to home

With a simple Tweet on Saturday afternoon, Campolindo basketball star Aidan Mahaney announced that he is staying in Moraga to play for coach Randy Bennett at St. Mary’s College.

“God is a gael,” Mahaney wrote in a tweet accompanied with a photo of the 6-foot-2 Campolindo senior standing on the McKeon Pavilion court looking at the program’s retired numbers, alongside St. Mary’s assistant Justin Joyner.

“I’m really happy for him,” Campo coach Steven Dyer said. “He’s put in a lot of work to get to this point. St. Mary’s has been in the Top 25 and in the NCAA tournament a lot in the past 10 years.

“It just fit for him.”

Mahaney, rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports, had offers from Stanford, USF, Hawaii and Northern Arizona, according to the recruiting outlet. Cal also had interest, Dyer said.

But Mahaney chose the college just 2.2 miles from his high school campus.

Bennett’s two sons, Chase and Cade, have been teammates of Mahaney’s for the past three seasons. Cade Bennett and Mahaney will have another together this winter.

“His style fits well with them,” Dyer said about Mahaney and St. Mary’s. “They run a lot of ball screen stuff and, in my view, that’s kind of what he’s best at. He’s pretty familiar with their coaching staff, too. They believe in him.”

Mahaney has been brilliant for Campo since his freshman year when the program won a state championship. As a sophomore, he helped lead the Cougars to the Northern California Division I title, which was where that season ended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last spring, in an abbreviated season delayed because of the pandemic, Campo went undefeated and finished No. 1 in the Bay Area News Group rankings.

Mahaney, however, spent most of the spring sidelined, first by an ankle injury and then by an injured hand that he cut trying to dunk a lobbed pass against Bishop O’Dowd.

“The Bishop O’Dowd game was like the most freak injury I think I’ve ever seen on a basketball court,” Dyer said.

He played in only six of the team’s 15 games.

“There were a lot of schools that were interested in him,” Dyer said. “I think some maybe weren’t quite as interested once he got injured last year. But there’s a few, like St. Mary’s and Cal especially, who were in it from his sophomore year all the way to the end. It’s been a long process and I think he’s glad that it’s over.”

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Author: Darren Sabedra