By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Sprague Sophomore Gavin Nguyen was just one of four freshmen on the Olympian Varsity roster in 2019, splitting time between Junior Varsity and Varsity during his first-year at the High School level.
Nerves were there, but within a few weeks the comfort level increased. Some of the upperclassmen like Brett Hassoun and Bryson Kievit have taken the underclassmen under their wings to help mentor him.
“I was very nervous when I first started playing with and against upperclassmen but after the first couple weeks, I was good, I enjoy playing with upperclassmen because I learn so much more from them,” Nguyen said. “I learned that I need to be confident going into a game knowing that I can dominate. If you’re “that dude” for your team you can’t show any weakness or fear.
“Brett Hassoun and Bryson Kievit have really shown me what it takes to be a leader and they have mentored me in the past. They’ve shown what a leader looks like and I have done fieldwork with them both and they’ve given me a couple pointers.”
Leadership, both vocal and leading by example, are some things that Nguyen mentioned are some things that he learned from his freshman year with Sprague. Nguyen was open in that he felt like he did overall good, but knows some things he can work on.
The little things mainly. Speed strength and hand-fighting ability he pointed towards that he has been working on this off-season.
In the past Nguyen has participated in the Oregon All-Star Games. Playing in the seventh grade and again the next year as an eighth-grader from Leslie Middle School. A beneficial experience for sure as he is playing in the game again this June as a sophomore, taking advantage of the extra off-season reps in the past.
“I thought it was very beneficial for me because I really got to see what talent is in Oregon,” Nguyen said. “It taught and pushed me to be better, because I wanted to be on a higher level than those guys at Allstate. It was nice to play with guys that are on my level because we sharpened each other’s skills and learned from each other.
“It’s a great opportunity to show everyone what I can do against Oregon’s top sophomores.”
Though the Coronavirus Pandemic has thrown things for a loop, Nguyen has taken opportunities when he could find them as he prepares for his second season at the High School-level. Working out at the MVP Combine and the Best Coast Showcase, working on his craft while getting his name out there as a ballplayer.
“I think quarantine has really helped me focus on football, It was good that I got more film so people know who I am,” said Nguyen of the experience.
Now it’s a matter of continuing to build from now entering when practice is scheduled to kick-off in February with games to follow a few weeks later.