By JORDAN IKEDA
North Torrance senior shooting guard Nick Valparaiso played a big role in the Saxons victory over the Torrance Tartars on Friday, Feb. 5 at Torrance. Nick, whose mother is Japanese American, dropped 14 points that night, his second best output of the season.
No doubt some of the credit for Nick’s game can be attributed to North head coach Gary Duperon. “Coach works us hard at practice,” Nick told the Rafu Shimpo. “That’s why we win.”
Or maybe it was the orange nail polish the Saxon cheerleaders painted on the ring finger of his shooting hand before the game that gave him some added touch. “They did it for good luck,” Nick said smiling.
Maybe, or rather, most likely, it’s just natural born skill in that right hand, a hand that can not only shoot the corner three with precision, but can skillfully guide a pencil across a blank sheet of paper. “I like to
draw,” Nick explained about his hobbies outside of basketball.
Whatever the reason, Nick’s hot shooting, that included a pair of threes, helped the Saxon’s build an
18-point lead halfway through the third quarter. And he was clearly feeling it. After hitting a corner triple,
Nick threw down the backwards okay sign to let everyone know how many points he had just scored.
“What I like best? Just playing in front of the crowd,” he said after the game, “It’s fun.”
It’s been a steady rise for Nick. After earning MVP honors on the sophomore team two years ago, he filled in as the back up point guard last year. This season, he has seamlessly assumed the varsity starting shooting guard role. As a starter, the 5-10 senior is averaging 8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game and has netted 30 triples, good for second best on the team.
This week, Nick and the Saxons (13-9, 5-3) are looking to finish strong, nab that second place spot and gear up for playoffs.
Next year, Nick will attend El Camino and look to follow his hand’s lead by pursuing a degree in art, possibly graphic design