September 2, 2016

Karren now ready

Kevin McCarthy

It will be a most difficult task to locate anyone who can top Nate Karren in his rapture for all things hoops. Matching "watching, talking, playing -- anything basketball and I'm there" is the statement the 6-foot-9 2018 prospect out of West Campus High and the Nor Cal Pharaohs offered in describing his affiliation with roundball.

photo of Nate Karren

"I've been in love with basketball ever since I was a little kid," Karren recalled. "I would see my brother out shooting with his friends and I'd run outside and try to make a basket. Seeing him out there, I wanted to emulate him." Being such a strong influence, Karren joked that his brother will be his agent down the road.

Further illustrating his bond with hoops are his responses when asked to detail his best basketball moments. Karren said, "being on the court at ARCO in the section championships" as well as the camaraderie developed through "talking and being with teammates on the long bus rides. I'm amazed at how much happiness basketball has brought me."

Being 79 inches tall and adding in "my versatility offensively as I can shoot, post-up and pass" has led to Karren becoming a valued talent. "I'm being looked at as a tall three or a stretch four." He attended the Stanford camp in late June and his production with the Pharaohs this summer produced more interest.

The period of June through August provided something of a revelation to him. "This summer was definitely a wake-up call for me. I realized I have an opportunity to be lucky enough to play in college at a high level, but I also realized it will take a lot of work to get there. There's nothing guaranteed in the world of basketball, and I learned to just play and not worry about it. Hearing about looks from different schools is exciting but you can't let that distract you from your ultimate goal. In showing improvement, I just try to incorporate new things into every game. Everyone is in the gym working on new moves, but that doesn't help at all unless you use those moves in a game situation. So trying a new crossover and getting the ball stolen isn't the end of the world, it's an opportunity to learn. I'm excited to see where this process takes me and seeing where my career ends up as a basketball player." He is currently ranked #18 in the NorCalPreps Boys Basketball 2018 Top 40.

Here's Pharaohs Coach Jason Barton on Karren's play: "Nate has a great all-around game with the ability to shoot the ball with great consistency from the three-point line, a back-to-the-basket game with great footwork and an host of post moves, as well as the ability to shoot the midrange and off-the-dribble shots. As strong as his offensive game is, he takes the most pride and puts in the most effort on the defensive side of the game -- stopping his man and playing great help side team defense. Standing 6-foot-9, he has a great knack and timing to garner a lot of blocks from his man as well as helping to protect the basket for the rest of his team. Nate is very long and has exceptionally rebounding aptness."

Barton continued, "Along with his basketball abilities, Nate is a great teammate and is always there to support and pick up his team. He is an honor to coach and the type of player that every coach wants be a part of his program. He is the type of player that you can build a program around.”

About Karren's future, Barton offered, "As far as Nate’s potential, I think that he should definitely be a D1 player. His size and abilities support that as the level of competition he will compete at. His game has aspects of a past Pharaoh alumni who plays in the NBA, Ryan Anderson.”

Asked about his leadership level, Karren said, "I am with West Campus but I didn't have to be a super vocal leader last season because we had eight seniors. It was more by my actions but this season I'll be more vocal."

The Warriors went 29-6 last season with five of those seniors moving on to play college basketball at four-year and two-year schools. The West Campus suffered a very tough season-ending 58-56 defeat at the hands of Palma -- "it tore my heart out" Karren explained. As for 2016-17, "we have a couple of new transfers and we'll be fighting for a playoff spot."

With recruiting, "I'm open to anywhere. I do love the weather in northern and southern California but I want to see where all this takes me."

Karren sports a 3.5 grade point average and scored 1147 on his PSAT. He's in two AP classes this year. As for a major, pre-med is leading "Because I love medicine."

Being a big who can also shoot from outside is an emerging offensive prototype in basketball. Karren certainly fits that bill.