Mr. Underrated: Dayton Magana (Delta College)
Mr. Underrated: Dayton Magana (Delta College)
The game of basketball has evolved to tremendous heights over the past 10 years, as players have become more skilled while being taller. We have seen point guards at 6’7’, and 7 footers that possess guard like skills. This level of evolution has made it a lot harder to make it through college for shorter guards that are around 6’2’, and even harder for those under 6 foot. Even at the junior college level it has become harder for coaches to take shorter guards, let alone play them in heavy minutes. Despite the evolution of bigger guards Delta College (Stockton, CA) not only took on 5’7 Guard Dayton Magana, but they allowed him to have a big role by running the team.
Dayton Magana is an undersized guard that has been overlooked throughout his entire basketball career. As a sophomore, he started at the point on varsity for Central Catholic High School (Modesto, CA) and nearly led them to the state title game. He made the state playoffs every year as the starting guard, while being one of the top point guards in all of Northern California. His play caught my attention when he was a sophomore and it led to me giving him a spot on our top 17u team for Rampage.
Magana played well for us as he brought a level of toughness and grit that fit perfectly with the players we already had. The most memorable moment was the spring of 2018 in Dallas, Texas at the GASO Live Period event when he hit the game winning basket during our 1st game in Texas. At that moment I knew we had a point guard that was a true winner.
“My experience playing independent AAU was great. It is something that I wish I could go back to and experience it all over again. I’ve met many life long friends and Coaches through AAU. Being independent, we stilled played the top competition. As a player, those are the opportunities you want when it comes to playing AAU. The most memorable times was practice when playing for team rampage. They were very intense and made me better as a player”.
Magana graduated in 2020 when the pandemic took the world by storm. This was a tough time for all junior college basketball players as there was no season that year and high school graduates of 2020 would have to wait a whole year to start their college career. Many players stopped working as hard, and some even retired from the sport. For Magana, he took his game to another level. Training outdoors in 100 degree weather, and training twice a day sometimes. Magana talked about how he was able to stay mentally locked in during the pandemic.
“By reminding myself daily of where I want to get to and accomplish. I saw the pandemic as more of an opportunity than a set back. It gave me a lot of time to work on my craft and develop. It was tough not playing but it really prepared for my freshman season. The pandemic forced me to self-reflect on the things I need to improve on and provided time for me to do so”.
During The 2021-2022 season, Magana put all of the hardwork on display as he was one of best point guards in juco. He led his team to the playoffs, won the conference, and his most impressive accomplishment was when he was announced a member of the California Junior College All-State team. He was the only player under 6 foot to make this team. His game adjusted pretty well from his senior year in high school, to the pandemic year just working out, and into his freshman season in college. There was a lot of excitement going into his 2nd year after winning all-state, but another setback would take place as he would have a season ending injury to his wrist.
Injuries can take a toll on a player’s mental state because you aren’t able to compete and help your team win. It was even more frustrating as Delta missed the playoffs last season with Magana out.
“The injury that occurred last season was very tough for me. It was the first time for me having to be out pretty much an entire season. After receiving all state the season prior, I was ready to do it again. The hardest part was accepting that I wasn’t going to be able to play anymore after putting in a lot of work that summer leading up to that season. It was a very humbling experience and helped me realize that this game could be taken away very quick”.
Magana also discussed how his overall experience at the juco level has been for him, and how the setbacks has actually helped him as a player and a person.
“My experience at the juco level has been a challenge in a good way. There have been many trials and tribulations, but they have helped me grow as an individual and as a player. It has played a major role in making me into the person I am today”.
Magana is off to a great start this year as he was able to earn his year back due to the early injury last season. He is currently in the top 10 in scoring in Northern California Juco sitting at number 6. He also put up a 26 point game and a win against Fresno City College who was ranked number 11 prior to the game, according to Signal the Light Basketball. Magana continues to beat the odds for little guards with his success at the college level.
“The best advice I could give to undersized guards is to be persistent and relentless. There are going to be lots of hardships and doubters along the way. If you stick with it and “roll with the punches”, you’ll get to where you want to be. Another key is to view your “height or size” as an advantage and not an excuse”.
Dayton Magana explained.