Once upon a time, nearly everyone had to wait their turn. In high school sports, it often meant a freshman or sophomore watched while juniors and seniors took to the field, floor or court; kids who’d been in a given athletic program for a few years, and, thus, “earned” their playing time. That’s not often the case anymore for several reasons, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It could be a testament to how talented and deep Arizona’s high school basketball pool has filled out: Five out of more than a half-dozen kids from across the East Valley have not only earned roster spots and playing time on elite programs, but, in many cases, are essential pieces to potential championship puzzles during the 2013-2014 state tournaments. There are many more youngsters who were key contributors for teams who, unfortunately, were left out of the playoff picture, and more are coming up the ranks. But it takes a lot to crack the rotation as a freshman on some of the state’s best teams. Namely, it means not playing like a freshman.

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