Tucked up in the corner rafters of Cyprus High School’s gymnasium is a banner that shows all the years the boys basketball team has won a state championship. There’s just one year on there: 1955.
Ending that 68-year drought was something this year’s team, led by star point guard Quentin Meza, was really keen on achieving. The team ultimately came up short of that goal in the 6A semifinals, but in some ways the team led by Meza accomplished even more regardless of the final outcome.
“He gave the community something to be proud of,” said Cyprus coach Tre Smith about Meza. “I want to be a coach of a program that people love our team and they love to see our team play, and that’s what Q provided for our community. They brought a community together that had one common interest and that was to see us have success, and see these kids have success, and that’s what it was all about.”
Throughout his senior season, Meza was the main attraction whenever he stepped on the court. He leaves behind an incredible legacy and a major dent in the UHSAA record book and is this year’s Deseret News Mr. Basketball recipient, the 37th in the history of the award.
He was a four-year starter at Cyprus, leading the team in scoring all four years, and during that time the program went 72-29 with four playoff appearances and two region championships. In the four years prior to Meza’s arrival at Cyprus, the team went 32-63.
This season, he became just the eighth player in state history to surpass the 2,000 career point plateau as he ultimately finished fourth on the all-time list with 2,123 career points. He also ranks third all-time with 603 career assists.
He arrived a scoring point guard, but by the time he departed he did everything for the Pirates.
“I really think his understanding of the game has really developed. His leadership, his commitment, his mental make-up, his toughness,” said Smith. “He’s a kid who was kind of off the radar for the most part so he needed to prove himself, but he wanted to prove himself. I always knew he was the type of guy that was more than capable.”
Regardless of the opponent, he put up big numbers and led Cyprus to wins all season with a 23-5 record this year. He finished the season averaging 24.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals. He had eight double-doubles.
For someone who stood just 5-foot-2 in the seventh grade and was almost always the smallest player on the floor, he never in his wildest dreams could’ve imagined the high school career that would unfold.
“It’s nothing I ever dreamed of coming into high school, but now that I’m done it will be something I can always look back on. I was the fourth leading scorer in Utah basketball ever, so I think that’s pretty cool,” said Meza.
He said the confidence coach Smith gave him beginning with his freshman year became a huge part of his continued success.
“He’s always showed complete confidence in my. I’m the coach on the court. I listen to what he says, but he also gives me the freedom to call the plays or if I see something he’ll listen to me,” added Meza.
Through the years, Meza said he’s become more athletic, which has allowed him to play better defense but then also be able to finish at the rim despite bigger defenders.
At 6-foot, Meza is definitely undersized in the eyes of college coaches and as a result the offers have been minimal. He hasn’t signed anywhere yet, and he’s hopeful for more offers over the next month or so once college coaches start finding out which players will and won’t be taking advantage of their extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19.
“I definitely feel like I’m good enough to play almost anywhere, but with COVID it’s been really hard for my class cause if you’re not one of the super highly-recruited guys you’re kind of stuck waiting to see what the players are going to do in college,” said Meza. “For me I just keep working. I know something’s going to happen and something’s going to come, and when it happens I’m going to be ready to play where ever I go.”
He proved he can compete against the best as Cyprus played five games this season against teams from Region 4, largely regarded as the best in the state. In those games he averaged 25.4 ppg.
Meza could’ve explored options of playing at a bigger school or even a prep school to increase his exposure, but that never once entered his mind.
“I’ve known all these guys since I was third, fourth grade, and we’ve always played together. I think it builds more chemistry and you have a better bond with your team if you play that long,” said Meza. “Super glad that I stayed here for my four years because did a lot of great things that nobody’s ever done here.”
That group packed Cyprus fans into the Dee Events for its quarterfinal and semifinal games, and seeing the sea of blue and yellow in the student section and around the arena is something he won’t soon forget.
“That was really cool to see how many people and little kids our basketball team inspired,” said Meza.
He’s hopeful that trend will continue with the foundation he helped lay, especially with a brand new Cyprus High School being built a bit further south in Magna on new land.
“When I first started here, we weren’t filling up those stands,” said Cyprus coach Tre Smith, who just finished his ninth year at the school. “Q really puts some bodies in the stands and people from the community came out and supported our team, and Q was the driving force of that.”
37 years of Deseret News Mr. Basketball recipients
2023 — Quentin Meza, Cyprus
2022 — Collin Chandler, Farmington
2021 — Ethan Potter, Layton
2020 — Dallin Hall, Fremont
2019 — Rylan Jones, Olympus
2018 — Rylan Jones, Olympus
2017 — Jaxon Brenchley, Ridgeline
2016 — Frank Jackson, Lone Peak
2015 — Jesse Wade, Davis
2014 — T.J. Haws, Lone Peak
2013 — Nick Emery, Lone Peak
2012 — Jordan Loveridge, West Jordan
2011 — Tyrell Corbin, West
2010 — Kyle Collinsworth, Provo
2009 — Tyler Haws, Lone Peak
2008 — Tyler Haws, Lone Peak
2007 — Morgan Grim, Riverton
2006 — Daniel Deane, Judge
2005 — Jackson Emery, Lone Peak
2004 — Tai Wesley, Provo
2003 — Josh Olsen, Alta
2002 — Brody Van Brocklin, Davis
2001 — Jared Jensen, Fremont
2000 — Garner Meads, Brighton
1999 — Tim Henry, Mountain View
1998 — Tony Brown, Mountain Crest
1997 — Britton Johnsen, Murray
1996 — Jeff Johnsen, Murray
1995 — Jeff Johnsen, Murray
1994 — Alex Jensen, Viewmont
1993 — Ben Melmeth, Judge
1992 — JaRon Boone, Skyline
1991 — Justin Weidauer, Cottonwood
1990 — Kenneth Roberts, Bingham
1989 — Shawn Bradley, Emery
1988 — Matt Bowman, Timpview
1987 — Kurt Miller, Ben Lomond