Being overlooked didn’t undermine Prayer’s hoops dream
He played JV as a junior and barely got off the bench as a senior, yet Prayer never lost hope that he could play at the next level. Even when others didn’t.
Prayer, of West High fame, worked two jobs after he graduated in 2016 to help pay his tuition at Impact Basketball, a prestigious training program in Las Vegas that serves as a prep school.
It was like he learned the game all over again. A year later, it was like the 6-foot guard was a different player. A college-ready player.
“I was put in the right hands there,” he told me. “I got the training and exposure I needed. Playing against to JCs, and playing against top prep schools like Findlay Prep and Wasatch Academy, teams you wouldn’t see in Alaska. It gave me the exposure I needed.”
Prayer fine-tuned his shooting stroke and caught the attention of Presentation College, which signed him on his 19th birthday.
“This is definitely a dream come true,” Prayer said. “It’s an amazing opportunity. I never thought it would have happened last year with the position I was in.”
He credited former coach Mike Wyne at West for keeping him on the right track.
“He’s a big reason why I kept my head high. He really believed in me. He kept pushing me even at when I was at the bottom; and he always mentioned that I will get my chance,” Prayer said.
“It’s funny because last year I specifically remember me telling myself, ‘Even though you’re a kid at the end of the bench, with hard work and reps you can really make it out.’ And I did. It’s crazy.”
Prayer was neither all-state nor all-conference at West. His only varsity start came on Senior Night, when he pumped in a career-high 18 points against Bartlett.
“So pretty much I was that kid that didn’t get an opportunity in high school, moved to Vegas and got some opportunities,” he said.
Presentation College liked his 3-point shooting ability and Prayer liked the coaches, the campus and town of Aberdeen, South Dakota.
“I talked with my parents about it and they were comfortable,” he said. “The coaching staff checked on me every day to see how I was doing, and he did a great job recruiting me. I thank my parents, and God for giving me a second chance.”