Nate Tyler named MVP in community college tourney

Former Husky basketball player Nate Tyler was named MVP at a Washington community college tournament last month.

The Chemeketa Community College Storm lost the first game of the tournament to a national junior college team. That team was not allowed to play more than two games in the Edmonds Tournament in Lynnwood, Wash., near Seattle.

Chemeketa went on to defeat Centralia Community College and then Tacoma Community College in the championship. Tacoma was ranked number one in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges. Chemeketa faced Tacoma again in the Spokane Crossover tournament held last weekend, but results were unavailable.

Tyler’s team is now 6-1, its only loss to the national team at the Edmonds Tournament.

“I’m not sure what we ranked in the preseason polls, but we had a good new class come in,” Tyler said. His coach is working the team hard in conditioning, and problems the team had last year are gone. “It’s a good group to work with because everybody takes accountability for themselves.”

Tyler is playing mostly at three guard, small forward. He was going to play a shooting guard but the previous three guard broke his ankle, and Tyler is filling in there. Tyler plays at power forward and inside post as well.

“I don’t mind, but like the Edmonds Tournament, I guarded their 6’5” post player,” Tyler said of the national team. “His arms, they were huge. I was scared.”

But Tyler knew he was quicker and used it to draw two quick fouls to bench the post. He did the same thing in the next game.

“I’ve been guarding taller guys my whole career, so it’s nothing new,” Tyler said. Offensively, Tyler is rarely leading scorer with an average of 13 points per game.

Defensively, he locked down three different players in three different games at the tournament.

He didn’t expect it, but that’s why he thinks he was voted MVP.

In the Edmonds tournament, he held his man, who averaged 15 points, to two points. In the next game, he guarded a man that averaged 18 and held him to eight. In the third, his man, averaging 17 points per game, was held to six.

Even his senior in high school, Tyler averaged only 13 or 14 points per game. His other stats, rebounds, steals and assists, showed much more.

“I was surprised,” Tyler said, because it usually goes to offensive players with 20 points per game.

Tyler is a sophomore at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. He is not sure where will transfer, but he is receiving letters from different places.

In upcoming games, Tyler will face his first former teammate when the Storm face Linn-Benton Community College, where Blayne Watkins plays. Watkins and Tyler played together on the Husky team that took second place at state in 1999.

“Blayne’s tough,” Tyler said. “He doesn’t like to lose. It’s going to be fun. I know it’s going to be touch.”

The two teams will face off in February in Albany then again later in the season in Salem.