Amphi’s Medford 11th Tucson high school product to play in NCAA tourney


Lester Medford (far right) in a 2010 basketball game with Amphi. Also pictured is the Panthers’ Mark Hopkins and Rincon’s Patrick Tofoya (Andy Morales/

Lester Medford played two years at Arizona Western before transferring to Baylor for his junior season this year (Arizona Western photo)

Lester Medford played his first year of college basketball at Arizona Western before transferring to Pima College in 2012-13 (Arizona Western photo)

Tucson’s number of high school players involved in March Madness will increase by one Thursday unless Lester Medford misses Baylor’s team bus to its Round of 64 matchup with Georgia State at Jacksonville, Fla.

Don’t count on that happening because Medford, a former Amphitheater High School standout, is a sharp kid. So sharp that his father, former Arizona football and basketball player Kelvin Eafon, boasts about his son’s production in the classroom as much as the basketball court.

“So proud of him,” Eafon tweeted to me yesterday. “He works his tail off in the classroom 3.0 (GPA) this semester and on the court.”

The number of Tucson products who have played in an NCAA tournament stands at 10. Medford, who led Amphi to a state title in 2011 as a senior, can make it 11 on Thursday.

Eafon takes pride in Tucson-area basketball serving as Pueblo’s coach. He also is as a pregame and postgame analyst for Arizona basketball games on KCUB 1290-AM.

Eafon may be in the awkward position next week analyzing a matchup between Arizona and Baylor in the Sweet 16. If the Wildcats and Bears meet in that round, more than one Tucson-area high school player may play in the same NCAA tournament game for the first time since 1951.

Arizona’s Matt Korcheck hails from Sabino High School.

In 1951, four Southern Arizona products played for Arizona in the 1951 Sweet 16 game against Kansas State: Roger Johnson (Tucson), Bob Honea (Marana), Leo Johnson (Safford), William Kemmeries (Tucson) and Jack Howell (Tucson).

After graduating from Amphi, Medford, a 5’10”, 175-pound point guard, played one season at Arizona Western before transferring to Pima in 2012-13. He concentrated on his academics and did not play for Pima that season.

He enrolled at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, last year and led his team to a 34-3 record and runner-up finish at the NJCAA National Championship tournament. He earned first-team NJCAA All-America honors after averaging 15.2 points, 6.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game over 35 games played.

Medford signed with Baylor and has become an important player for the Bears, starting all 33 games. He led Baylor in scoring twice, against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He averages 7.1 points and 3.2 assists per game. He leads Baylor with 51 steals.

Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:

The most points scored by each Tucson high school product in an NCAA tournament game. Information from research compiled by First published last year in story about Bryce Cotton.

Points Player High School College Opponent NCAA game Year
36 Bryce Cotton Palo Verde Providence North Carolina Round of 64 2014
31 Sean Elliott Cholla Arizona Oklahoma Final Four 1988
17 Dave Feitl Santa Rita UTEP Tulsa Round of 64 1985
15 Roger Johnson Tucson Arizona Kansas State Sweet 16 1951
15 Bob Honea Marana Arizona Kansas State Sweet 16 1951
9 Lafayette Lever Pueblo ASU Kansas Round of 32 1981
9 Lafayette Lever Pueblo ASU Ohio State Round of 32 1980
9 Leo Johnson Safford Arizona Kansas State Sweet 16 1951
4 William Kemmeries Tucson Arizona Kansas State Sweet 16 1951
4 Jack Howell Tucson Arizona Kansas State Sweet 16 1951
2 Matt Korcheck Sabino Arizona Gonzaga Round of 32 2014 publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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