By Jeremy McDonald
HILLSBORO, Ore.– It was no surprise that when South Salem’s Jaden Nielsen-Skinner’s Senior Year concluded, that he would be getting a call to play in the premier All-Star game in the 25th-Annual Northwest Shootout in 2019 and be one of the ten athlete’s to wear the Oregon All-Star Team jersey on Game Day.
For the Portland State University-commit, who added Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-League and All-State honors to his resume, it was nice to play with guys he’s faced over the past four years instead of facing them on the other side of the court.
“It’s great, I’m happy to team-up with guys I don’t ever get to play with. It’s great to come out any play together,” said Nielsen-Skinner. “I think it’s just more fun to show what we can do with each other. But yeah, I’m happy I got to come out here and play with everyone. It was really fun.”
Some faces he was familiar with featured Bend’s Brian Warinner, Mountain View’s Chase McClain as well as Tigard’s Stevie Schlabach who he faced twice this season with a Saxons team that finish fifth in 6A.
But, two of the tallest kids on the team that got the lucrative invite, weren’t 6A guys. Geez, they were the lone non-6A players on the Oregon Roster and one of them tipped it off against Washington Saturday night in six-foot-eight Kaleb Anundi from Stayton High School.
“It was awesome with me and Riley (Nichol) being the only 4A guys here and just being. To come here was an honor,” said Anundi, who was joined by six-foot-eight Nichol from the Eagles. “Obviously the game didn’t go the way we wanted to and getting to know everyone, it was great.”
Going in five-minute waves, Anundi started with the Oregon All-Stars jumping out to a 11-4 lead before Washington chipped away at the lead when Nielsen-Skinner and Nichol’s shift came in for the second five-minute time period.
But the Oregon Big Men had their hands full with Gonzaga-Commit Anton Watson and McDonald’s All-American Jaden McDaniel. Something that was spectacular said Nichol.
“It was a lot of fun because I’ve never seen anybody that could dunk that hard, but it was cool. I wish them luck on wherever they end up going in the future,” said Nichol of the talent in front of him.
The competition is what these kids thrive on as Washington pushed their lead to double-figures in their 120-102 win Saturday entering in the early going of the second half. Oregon cut it to 11 before Washington push the lead over 20 into the final minutes of the game.
Nichol added a three-ball with nine points, five boards and one blocks. Anundi finished with three points, three rebounds and two blocks for Oregon.
Nielsen-Skinner, who finished with eight points, two rebounds and four assist and a three-pointer, admits that this game is a good taste of what is to come when Training Camp and the PSU season kicks off next season.
“It’s fun competing with better competition,” said Nielsen-Skinner. “I think coming out to playing against the best kids from Washington is a pleasure and is a good advantage for next year,”