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March 26, 2013

So-Cal PG loves the Bay Area

Though he's loath to admit it, Max Hazzard recognizes the irony in his team's loss to Santa Monica in the Southern Section 1A Championship last week.

After all, Hazzard -- who calls California his "dream school" -- was stung by Golden Bear-signee Jordan Mathews' late game heroics.

"He deserved it," said Hazzard begrudgingly. "He's tough."

But don't feel too bad for Max. The sophomore point guard will likely see Mathews again.

In addition to the Golden Bears, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, and Boston College are just a few of the programs who've already begun talking to the talented prepster.

"I'd love to play in the Pac-12," he told GoldenBearReport. "My favorite schools -- the schools I'd like to play at -- are all in the Pac-12."

That should come as little surprise to those who've followed college hoops over the years.

The Hazzard name goes back three generations, with brother Jacob currently carrying the banner at Arizona. Max, however, has taken a special liking to the Bay Area.

"When I was young, I always wanted to go to Cal because my aunt went there and was always saying 'Go Bears.' Plus, my dad went to Stanford so I thought it would be fun to go to Cal."

Basketball aside, there are plenty of other inducements drawing the youngest Hazzard to Berkeley, least of which is the university's colorful reputation.

"I always wanted to be different," said Max, "so it's been sticking out."

A 6-0ft slasher with impressive vision and coveted handles, Hazzard hasn't had any trouble standing out, despite the fact he plays alongside lauded 2014 prospects Thomas Welsh and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (committed to Arizona).

"I got first team all-[Mission] League this year," notes Hazzard. "I want to win league MVP next year and be first team All-CIF."

Lofty goals, to be sure, but hardly surprising given his fierce competitive streak.

"I want to play against the best this summer," he declared. "I want to play at the Peach Jam like I did last year and I want to play for the [AAU's] 17's."

Luckily for the Cal staff, it won't have to travel far to see him battle the older competition.

"I'm playing for the Oakland Soldiers this summer," said Hazzard. "Berkeley's right there."

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