March 21, 2015

Nuno earns next destination

Kevin McCarthy

6-foot-7, 250 pound forward Rico Nuno has committed to Eastern Washington, winners of the recent Big Sky Conference tournament which earned the Eagles entry into the NCAA Big Dance tournament.

photo of Rico Nuno

This latest element, like most in his basketball life, happened fast. “I was being recruited early which was great,” Nuno explained, “but there wasn't much I could do until I was cleared by the NCAA.”

He tripped to Cheney, Washington, a town of 11,000 or so southwest of Spokane (Half Moon Bay's population is similar), a couple of weekends ago and showed interest and was given a week to decide. The week consisted of many sleepless nights and conversing with close friends and family, mostly his mother. Then he made his decision.

What were the deciding factors? “I met the team and I liked the camaraderie of the players and the way the young coaching staff related to the players. It's a more of a Euro style and I think I'll fit in well.”

Eastern Washington Coach Jim Hayford is known for advising prospects that he'll determine what they do best and position them accordingly and, yes, Nuno received that same message. “He told me he'll figure out what's the best I can do. He understands my skills set and how I can stretch out the floor.”

This is very similar to how Nuno was utilized by DVC Coach Steve Coccimiglio. “Coach Coccimiglio was very open to using me away from the basket.” Nuno sometimes played point center, if you will, feeding teammates down low and also connecting from outside. He averaged 2.5 assists and shot 36% from beyond the arc this season for DVC.

How did Nuno develop his unique-for-his-size skills set? “I think it was by playing other sports, I was a catcher in baseball and a quarterback in football. I'm not the quickest or most athletic but I have good vision and passing ability.”

Eastern Washington loses guard Drew Brandon (out of Sierra College) but 6-foot-4 Tyler Harvey, the Co-MVP of the Big Sky Conference, and 6-foot-8 Venky Jois return for their senior seasons. The 26-9 overall, 14-4 in conference Eagles averaged just under 25 three-point attempts as a team this season.

His academic interest right now is kinesiology.

What does Nuno see as the differences in playing prep basketball and college hoops? “There is much more getting prepared in the off season and the scouting reports contain so many more details.”

He obviously adjusted quickly. Expect that process to continue with the Eagles.