In just a few days, Nate Sikma will complete the transition to Division I basketball player. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward, who led Bellevue to the Class 3A state-title game, leaves Monday to start the next chapter of his basketball career at the University of Hartford.
“They have a lot of freshmen coming in with me and I thought that was the best option, because I could just make lifelong friends in the process and play in the style I enjoy,” Sikma said. “That’s kind of what sold me.”
Sikma decided to play for the Hawks after taking a trip to visit both Hartford and the University of New Hampshire in the spring. It was a bit of a surprise that most of Sikma’s recruiting attention came from East Coast schools, but it’s not something he spent much time thinking about.
“I would like to have gotten some more, but I can’t control that,” he said. “I just went out there and played as hard as I could in high school and AAU and it just happened to work out where I got East Coast looks, so I’m excited about that. That’s just how it worked out, so you just have to go with it.
“I had a great high-school experience with basketball, just lucky to even have offers. A lot of kids would love to be in this position, so I’m just taking it with a positive attitude. I’m not going to have any regrets or anything. It’s fine with me. I’m just going to work hard and maybe prove myself and show I can play with anyone.”
As a senior, Sikma averaged 19.6 points and 8.8 rebounds. In a title-game loss to Lakes, he finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds.
“We had a great run,” Sikma said. “No one really thought of us as a contender or anything. We just went out and played hard. That’s all you’ve got to do. If you have good chemistry and you’ve got good enough talent you can go far.
“It was tough to not get that last one, but you’ve got to keep it in perspective. It was just an unbelievable accomplishment.”
Once the season ended, Sikma said he continued to work on his conditioning, getting to the gym as often as he could with his father, Jack, the former NBA center, and his brother, Luke, who played at the University of Portland.
“I’m just keeping conditioning up and working on strength, trying to get in the gym and shoot,” he said. “My dad is in town right now, so I try to make the best of our time.”
Now that an impressive high-school run has come to a close, Sikma is ready for his next challenge.
“I’m just ready to work hard, ready to see a whole new level of competition and kind of try to fit in and blend well with my teammates, build some chemistry going into the new season,” he said.