April 18, 2013

No 'me' in Nordquist

Kevin McCarthy

In an era when 'watch my mixtape!!!' and 'look at my latest dunk video!!!' dominate the jibber jabber, Cole Nordquist of Pleasant Grove High (make that state champion Pleasant Grove), goes about his business -- that being supplying whatever is needed for his team to be atop California Division I prep basketball.

photo of Cole Nordquist

To recap, Coach John DePonte's Pleasant Grove squad beat Santa Monica 73-57 in the state finals on March 22, powered by an absolute team effort which included 13 points and nine boards from the 6-foot-3 Nordquist. For the season, he averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and steals and 1.4 blocks per game

What was Nordquist feeling when the last buzzer of his high school hoops tenure sounded?

“Overjoyed,” he answered.

Nordquist continued, “We kind of flew beneath the radar even though we were playing good ball, and we peaked in the playoffs. Everyone had the same goal.”

Being the type of player whose benefit extends beyond his basketball skills, Nordquist offered, “leadership” when asked what he brings to the court. He added, “I also play pretty aggressively on the defensive side of the ball. That's what this team needed me to do the most and I think I'm a natural defender. I have a strong desire to do whatever it takes to win.”

Jason Jennings, his Play Hard Play Smart Black coach, is emphatic about his player: “Cole is the all-around best player still unsigned. He's a winner and a bouncy athlete who does so many things well. He can post up against smaller guys, even bigger guys and he can also take the bigger ones outside for a shot or a dribble-drive.”

Nordquist also plays his best in big games -- witness his output in the championship victory over Santa Monica and his 31 points and 12 rebounds on February 13 against Dakari (San Diego State) Allen, D'Erryl (San Diego State) Williams and Darin (Washington) Johnson-powered Sheldon High.

To date, he has been offered by Hawaii Pacific University of the PacWest Conference. The Sea Warriors are based in Honolulu and match up with northern California conference members Dominican University, Holy Names and Academy of Art University and Notre Dame de Namur so Nordquist will be back home at times should he decide to accept that invitation.

Teams are looking for him to play some sort of combination of the one, two and three positions.

To a query regarding how much he has developed since his freshman season, Nordquist responded, “Oh man, a lot. I was just out there as a freshman but got better every year. I have an offensive game now and understand how a team works and operates.” He credits DePonte for aiding in the growth of his knowledge.

Early on football was also a sport he participated in but that was dropped after his sophomore year. A passion for the pigskin just wasn't there so “it became all basketball for me.”

Academically, he owns a 3.0 cumulative grade point average so he is set in that aspect. Nordquist is looking to major in fire science in order to become a firefighter.

Anyone looking for by-his-actions team member, one ready, willing and able to do the dirty work necessary to win games?