By Stacy Johnson
Nationally ranked basketball player, Payton Dastrup, is a priest in the Mesa Vista Ward, Lehi Stake.
The son of David and Kristen Dastrup and a high school senior, Payton plays power forward for his Mesa Mountain View varsity team and is ranked #3 in the state.
“My high school coach uses me mostly as a back-to-the-basket guy. … I have a good outside shot. I rebound really well offensively and defensively,” Payton says.
The young man was heavily recruited by several schools around the country and had gone on official visits to many of the campuses. He says he felt most comfortable at Brigham Young University when he visited there this past September.
“I have grown up following BYU. I really like the program. The coaching staff is awesome. Coach Rose is a consistent winner, and they are bringing in good recruits as well. They have good classes for the next two seasons.”
However, in November, on “letter of intent” day, Payton made his choice to play for Ohio State University. A few days, questioning his decision, Payton told his father that he didn’t feel right about it anymore.
“I wasn’t 100 percent happy with my choice,” he says.
Payton’s dad helped him sort out his misgivings and, ultimately, six days later, Payton withdrew his commitment from Ohio State and called BYU to accept their offer.
“I did it for me,” Payton says. “I’ve been a BYU fan forever. The coaching staff and guys that I’ll be playing with are a force to be reckoned with.”
As for another decision—that to serve a full-time mission—Payton says, he originally planned to play at least a year of basketball before going on a mission, but the age change for missionaries changed that.
“I’m going on the mission after I graduate from high school this June. … It is something I have been looking forward to since I was 12 or 13. It’s something I have been preparing for.”
Payton’s parents say they have tried to leave that decision up to their son.
“If Payton feels pressure about serving a mission, I hope it’s pressure he places on himself out of respect for the commitment needed to serve diligently,” his father says.
Payton demonstrated his commitment and preparation for sharing the gospel even as he made college visits.
His father says, “Coaches less familiar with the process of serving a mission had questions and we personally had some very meaningful conversations about missions with a dozen or more different coaches.”
The father and son arranged for the full-time missionaries to meet with a few of those coaches to explain what Payton would be doing day to day as he serves a mission.
When confronted by those who question his decision to serve and how it will affect his playing ability by the time he returns, Payton responds, “The rewards that serving a mission offer are 100 times greater than winning a national championship … a mission is not a question.”