June 14, 2013

Nunez lands a ride

Kevin McCarthy

Sierra High's Guillermo Nunez has aced the basketball court, the gridiron and the classroom for some time now what with back-to-back league championships, big individual numbers (19 points, four rebounds plus three assists an outing), and a 3.7 grade point average. If there remains any element of justice in this crazy world, verification of such would be provided by his landing of a basketball scholarship. Such proof has been provided.

photo of Guillermo Nunez

The 6-foot-1 Nunez has signed with Rocklin-based William Jessup University (WJU). The Warriors reside in the California Pacific Conference (SPC) alongside Cal Maritime, Menlo, Pacific Union, Simpson and UC Merced.

The Stockton Record Player of the Year and the Manteca Bulletin's Co-MVP for this past season, Nunez was succinct and self-effacing when replying to a query regarding what he wants to do at William Jessup, he said, “Win and get better.”

So why WJU?

“William Jessup is an excellent fit for me and the basketball coaches really helped make the decision easy. I felt that they were looking out for my best interest and I knew that I would be able to focus on my academics and pursue my love for basketball with the Warriors. I am thrilled and excited about my freshman year at WJ. I have been working extra hard physically and preparing myself mentally for the upcoming basketball season.” Warrior Assistant Coach George Hernandez was especially instrumental in the recruitment of Nunez.

In the classroom, Nunez has it mapped put: “I plan on getting my Bachelor of Business Administration and I will focus on the business side of my degree and finish on my Master of Pharmacy.”

The WJU Warriors went 11-17 overall in the 2012-13 season but came on midway to ultimately post a marvelous 8-2 record in league play, taking the league regular season championship.

Interim Head Coach Jeff Bussell, who took over the team in December 2012 but will soon be returning to his sports information director position, was effusive in his praise of Nunez.

Bussell explained, “We feel blessed to get him. He led Sierra [High] the last couple of years, he has a high basketball IQ, he can shoot it and he makes good decisions. We call him a triple threat -- academically, athletically and spiritually.”

“Guillermo has the demeanor of two different people as on the court, he is an aggressive attacker but off the court, he is as nice a person as you could want,” he added.

Bussell also alluded to Jekyll and Hyde performance of the Warriors last season.

“We hit the bottom of the barrel in December We had a couple of injuries and only eight guys. But we began to gel, all five of our seniors really stepped up and we became a team.”

William Jessup won 10 of its last 13 games and Bussell was named CPC Coach of the Year.

If a season turning point is actually identifiable, the Warriors lost 85-83 on January 2 to host Southern Oregon University, after leading the game most of the way. The Raiders were then the 12th-ranked NAIA team in the nation and finished #10 in the postseason poll. The defeat gave the players a sense of what they were capable of accomplishing rather than viewing it as a lost opportunity.

Nunez will be a contributor in continuing that team camaraderie. He and William Jessup are a match made, if not in heaven, then Rocklin.