PORT ANGELES — All-league guard Nate Despain of Sequim is keeping it local.
Peninsula College announced this week that Despain has signed to play for the Pirates next year.
Despain averaged 18.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game in his senior year with the Wolves and shot 43.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line, making the Peninsula Daily News All-Peninsula boys basketball team and the first team of the Olympic League 2A Division all-league team.
Beyond the stats, however, Peninsula head coach Donald Rollman spoke highly of Despain’s character. He said he had his eye on Despain ever since he was a sophomore.
“Where do I start? Every time I’ve watched him play or practice, he’s the hardest-working kid on the floor. He does everything that right way,” said Rollman.
Rollman also liked how much Despain has improved as a player since his sophomore year.
“From his sophomore year to now, he’s shown that he can play college ball. It’s a credit to his work ethic,” he said.
Rollman said one of the things he liked about Despain is that not only did he score, he made his teammates better.
“He sticks to his role and he makes plays for others,” he said.
Despain said sticking close to home was a big plus for him.
“I love being close to my family. My family is a big part of my life,” Despain said. “Donald is awesome, I know a lot of the players. It’s a perfect situation.”
Despain said signing with Peninsula is a dream come true — A dream he’s had since the sixth grade of playing college basketball.
“Basketball is the game I chose. I fell in love with it. I’m stoked. I’m super excited to have this opportunity,” Despain said.
Despain is just the latest local star to sign with the Pirates. Last year, Marky Adams of Forks was a huge part of the Pirates’ run to the NWAC championship game (Adams has since moved on to St. Martin’s University), Port Angeles’ Luke Angevine was on the team the past two years and Gina McCaulley of Neah Bay was a big contributor this season on the women’s team.
“It’s always nice to have local guys around. [After signing with Peninsula] Marky was in here three times a week working on his speed, agility and footwork. That’s just the kind of kid you want to have,” Rollman said.
Rollman said there could be other local players that he might sign for the Pirates, but regardless of whether he signs anyone, it’s important for the Pirates’ program to have a presence in the community.
“It’s all about being involved and the relationship with the kids,” he said.
Despain said his focus will remain on improving as a player.
“I just want to be the best I can get. I want to see where this journey takes me,” Despain said.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]