February 25, 2013

Give Nunez the ball

Kevin McCarthy

College coaches always offer that besides the requisite basketball skills they also look for recruits who are winners, who rise to the responsibility of leadership and who play tough. Well, 6-foot-1 2013 backcourter Guillermo Nunez certainly fits the wish list.

photo of Guillermo Nunez

Nunez, who plays for Coach Scott Thomason at Sierra High in Manteca, is again the leading scorer for the Timberwolves who currently stand 23-4 overall, 13-1 in the Valley Oak League. He's averaging 20 points a game on a team that generally puts up 60 or so points per contest. He is a 'bunch' scorer in that it looks like defenders have him under control and then he bursts out with a rain of points.

Thomason enthusiastically backs Nunez, a three-year varsity starter, with an spectrum-covering endorsement: “He's our go-to guy and all he does is win. Guillermo has a quiet confidence and is just really good. He can score off the dribble and is a good three-point shooter and he also is strong academically and comes from a great family.”

Thomason did say Nunez needs to get stronger for the next level -- he checks in at 165 pounds -- but that's an element applicable to 99.9% of high schoolers moving on.

He added, “We won 26 games in a row last season and 16 in a row this one (along with two straight league titles) and Guillermo played a big part in those.”

Alternately, Nunez performed as a quarterback and a strong safety during football season, with both positions requiring quick-thinking, guidance of both the offense and defense in this case plus gritty determination. Not surprisingly, his squad finished 10-2 overall, 6-1 in league action and he was named the league co-utility player of the year.

Another factor to consider is academics.

“I completed my high school requirements at the end of my junior year,” Nunez explained. Three years of summer school attendance paved that road to college eligibility and he still maintained a 3.7 grade point average.

Bay Area Hoosier Coach Philippe Doherty offered this on Nunez: “Guillermo is a great kid who plays multiple sports in high school. As far as basketball goes, he is a good shooter who has a good feel for the game, is coachable, has a high IQ and a skill set that translates into winning. He is a highly intelligent player who can also handle the basketball. Since Guillermo is also a quarterback on the football team, it translates into basketball when it comes to seeing the floor and having a feel for what is happening on the court.”

At the next level, he has interest in studying psychology and also prosthetics

Asked what he believes to be his best strengths on the court, Nunez a little too humbly offered, “my mid-range shot and coming off ball screens and scoring.” But get him the ball in the open court and he is, as one coach called him earlier this season, “brutal.” Nunez also displays excellent court vision and facilitation skills. Defensively, he puts his experience as a strong safety to good use on the hardwood via pass interceptions and the willingness to take and play through physical banging.

He also has performed in different roles on the court.

“With Sierra, I'm more of a scorer but with the Bay Area Hoosiers, I was a point guard.”

Currently, Sonoma State, Notre Dame de Namur and Stanislaus State are showing the most interest in Nunez but none have offered as yet.