Aaron Mees had options after his two years as Chandler-Gilbert Community College's shortstop were up, but it was a pretty simple decision in his mind.
Oral Roberts coach Rob Walton won him over and Mees choose the Christian school in Oklahoma over the University of San Diego and Texas Christian.
"He is a fantastic coach and he runs a great program," the 2008 Desert Vista graduate said. "I really liked all of the programs, but he was the difference. He has a lot of experience and I think it was my best option."
Plus, there is this little caveat: Oral Roberts plays at Arizona State this coming season.
"All of us Arizona boys are looking forward to that," said Mees, who is one of three Arizona products on the roster. "That's what makes this program so great. We play a great non-conference schedule that gets us ready for the College World Series.
"One of the first handouts I received when I got here was a list of team goals. First was winning our conference, then regionals, super regionals and the College World Series."
Mees has been on campus for a few weeks now and loves it while adjusting to rain and expectations of playing for a Division I program.
"I am more mature now and I am so glad that I went to a JUCO out of high school," he said. "I have more of a sense of who I am as a player and going to JUCO helps with that transition. The experience can be really intimidating because there is so much to learn, soak in and process."
After playing shortstop for Desert Vista and CGCC, Mees is getting a shot at the starting second base position with ORU.
"I like second base a lot and it is an easy move because I have played before in summer ball," he said. "The best thing is it is easier on my shoulder. I dislocated it twice in high school and the throw is a lot more comfortable."
The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder is coming off a season in which he hit .318 (54 for 170) with 28 runs and 19 extra base hits (12 doubles, 5 triples, 2 HR). He added 23 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
CGCC coach Russ Luce said he has no doubt that Mees will make the transition to the DI level.
"He made massive progress here at our place as a player, but more importantly as a leader," Luce said. "He was our captain last year and had the respect of his teammates and his coaching staff. He is a solid hitter and is a good defender and plays the game without fear."
Mees, who plans to major in communications with hopes of being on the production side of television, said he is a completely different player offensively after playing for former Major League Baseball manager Mike Hargrove in summer ball.
"When I was in high school I was more passive and I wasn't real aggressive at the plate," Mees said. "He helped me out a lot because he said he wanted me to attack the ball. He'd tell me, ‘Don't cheat yourself and just hit the ball hard somewhere.' And that is what I try to do now."