Simply watching Daniel Deane play basketball this year was exhausting enough. Now imagine what it must have felt like to be Deane, who treated every offensive and defensive possession from Day 1 like the state championship was on the line.

In Deane's mind, diving around for loose balls wasn't just dirty work for guards and bench players, and no rebound was impossible to get. Nope, the 6-foot-8 Judge Memorial center turned intensity into an art form this year.

"I've never coached, and I've never seen at the high school level an inside player play as hard as he does, and that's been the key for us all year," said Judge coach Jim Yerkovich.

On the 20th anniversary of the Deseret Morning News Mr. Basketball award, Judge's University of Utah-bound center was the elite player in the state all year and is the obvious pick for the 2006 Mr. Basketball award.

Deane becomes the seventh Mr. Basketball award winner to sign with the Utes and the first since Alta's Josh Olsen in 2003.

Deane's rise from a tenacious sophomore big man to a poised senior superstar was a process that didn't happen overnight but was one that Deane worked on constantly.

When Deane first arrived at Judge, Yerkovich obviously loved his height and athleticism, but he believed Deane relied too much on natural ability.

"Defensively, he got himself in trouble by not being fundamental," said Yerkovich.

Despite averaging 12.8 points his sophomore year and 18.4 points his junior year, Deane often found himself in foul trouble because he only knew one speed — all out.

Maturity is what ultimately helped slow Deane down.

"He just went through a maturation because of time, becoming a senior, and just learning to play under control more and control his emotions more," said Yerkovich.

Even though his scoring dropped off a little bit (16.1 ppg) his senior season, Deane's tenacity helped Judge finish with a 24-1 record and claim the school's first state title since 1980.

"He picks us up with intensity, and everybody kind of jumps on his back, and I think that's why we had the season we had," said Yerkovich.

That was never more evident than during a double-overtime, 81-76 quarterfinal win over Logan — easily the game of the 3A tournament. Deane blocked five shots in the first quarter alone, and was well on his way to a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks.

His numbers dipped a bit in the semifinal and championship games, but it didn't really matter. Deane's defensive presence in the paint more than made up for it.

Deane, who lives in Park City, took official recruiting visits to Utah, Kansas, Stanford and Gonzaga but ultimately decided to follow in his father's footsteps and stay close to home. Greg Deane played at the U. from 1975-79.

Utah coach Ray Giacoletti is no doubt thrilled to be getting a player with Deane's assertiveness and tenacity, particularly on the boards, where the Utes were an average rebounding team in 2005-06.

"I think he has a chance to be a special rebounder at the next level and maybe even a level after that," said Yerkovich, who observed that Deane is a potentially better rebounder than other 6-8 guys who are "making very good livings playing basketball."

Mr. Basketball award winners

2006: Daniel Deane, Judge (Utah)

2005: Jackson Emery, Lone Peak (BYU)

2004: Tai Wesley, Provo (Utah State)

2003: Josh Olsen, Alta (Utah)

2002: Brody Van Brocklin, Davis (SLCC)

2001: Jared Jensen, Fremont (BYU)

2000: Garner Meads, Brighton (BYU)

1999: Tim Henry, Mtn. View (SLCC)

1998: Tony Brown, Mtn. Crest (Utah State)

1997: Britton Johnsen, Murray (Utah)

1996: Jeff Johnsen, Murray (Utah)

1995: Jeff Johnsen, Murray (Utah)

1994: Alex Jensen, Viewmont (Utah)

1993: Ben Melmeth, Judge (Utah)

1992: JaRon Boone, Skyline (Nebraska)

1991: Justin Weidauer, Cottonwood (BYU)

1990: Kenneth Roberts, Bingham (BYU)

1989: Shawn Bradley, Emery (BYU)

1988: Matt Bowman, Timpview (UVCC)

1987: Kurt Miller, Ben Lomond (New Mexico)