Adding height and backcourt depth to the Cal Poly men’s basketball team, second-year head coach John Smith announced the program’s 2020 National Letter of Intent signing class on Thursday afternoon.
Set to join Cal Poly ahead of the 2021-22 season are 6-11 center Matur Dhal (Tempe, Ariz. / PHHoenix Prep) and 6-2 combo guard Daniel Esparza (Whittier, Calif. / Veritas Prep).
Matur Dhal (F)
As a junior during the 2019-20 season at PHHoenix Prep (stylized with two capital Hs), Dhal averaged 13.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Two seasons ago during his sophomore season at Paradise Honors HS (Surprise, Ariz.), Dhal posted 11.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per outing to earn program Offensive Player of the Year honors.
A native of South Sudan, Dhal intends to major in psychology.
“We’re very excited to add a versatile big who can provide a spark with his athleticism and his length,” Smith said. “Matur is probably one of the fastest post men in the country end-to-end for 94 feet and his motor doesn’t stop. For us to continue to play an up-tempo style, we need mobile post players and Matur is just that. He has a huge upside and his development under coach John Ortega’s program has been tremendous. We feel he will be a key contributor right away.”
Daniel Esparza (CG)
A four-year letterwinner at Sonora HS (La Habra, Calif.), Esparza broke a 19-year-old program single-game scoring record with 45 points during a 77-62 win against Troy HS of Fullerton (Jan. 10, 2020). He helped Sonora HS to a 24-6 overall record last season and a Freeway League title with a 10-0 mark.
Esparza, who intends to major in business administration, moved on to Veritas Prep for the 2020-21 season and has led the program in assists nine times through the opening 20 games. He scored a season high 24 points during a 95-78 victory against Eduprize (Nov. 8).
“(Daniel Esparza) is one of the toughest competitors that we’ve seen in his class,” Smith said. “We’re fortunate to add him to the Mustang family as he provides instant depth and versatility at the guard spot. He’s an unselfish, high-character, driven student-athlete that fits the model Cal Poly covets. His ability to stretch the floor with his outside touch and high IQ makes for a phenomenal combo guard that can move from the point position to either wing spot at any time. I’m excited for our future with him as a Mustang.”
As a program, Cal Poly is scheduled to open the 2020-21 season at the Nov. 25, 27-28 U.S. Bank Pilot Invitational, hosted by Portland. Cal Poly’s portion of the competition begins on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. against Portland.
Provided by Cal Poly