RaeQuan Battle is living out his ‘Hoop Dreams’

RaeQuan Battle, photo courtesy of UW Athletics

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Seventeen-year-old RaeQuan Battle’s basketball journey is filled with tales of amazing athleticism, skyrocketing potential, and a relentless determination to get buckets. The teenage Tulalip tribal member has gone from rez ball regular to Marysville-Pilchuck stand out to a four-star prospect committed to play at the University of Washington.  

“Basketball is in my blood. Without it I don’t know where I’d be,” explains RaeQuan of the sport that has come to define his past, present and future. “Everyone in my family has played. Basketball has given me the opportunity to travel the country and, hopefully in the future, it’ll allow me to travel the world.”

In his junior year at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, RaeQuan dazzled opposing coaches and college scouts everywhere as he averaged 21.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He was instrumental in guiding the Tomahawks to a 19-5 record, their first District title in over two decades, and a memorable trip to the Class 3A state regionals last winter.

Following his career year at M.P., the University of Washington’s recruiting team was again at his door with scholarship in hand. They convinced the 6-foot-5, 200 pound RaeQuan he’d be a perfect fit in the up-tempo style that features outstanding guard play. Plus, the idea of staying in state to remain close to his family and reservation was a huge perk.

“Being able to play the game I love at my dream school is amazing,” says the future Husky. “I was super excited to receive the offer, especially since the University of Washington had been with me since my sophomore year. They never switched up, they believed in me the whole way, and I really appreciate the coaching staff for that.”

Over the last several seasons, RaeQuan has continued to work on his basketball skills while playing on the national AAU circuit. He’s traveled the country playing for Seattle Rotary, a high-profiled team that competes as part of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. With his height advantage and skill set both growing, so has his profile. Per ESPN’s composite rankings, he is listed as a four-star prospect and the No. 4 overall player in the state of Washington. 

The national attention has garnered him invite after invite to national tournaments and high profile basketball camps, where he can showcase his talents against the best high schoolers around. Such was the case during Labor Day weekend, when RaeQuan was invited by Jamal Crawford, NBA player and Seattle hoops legend, to participate in his Top 30 camp held at Rainier Beach High School.

“This camp means everything to me because it’s all about these kids and giving them perspective that’ll come in handy at the collegiate and pro levels,” admits eighteen-year NBA veteran Jamal Crawford. “I understand that basketball is everything for these kids. The player development coaches we have assisting are here to further develop skills and give knowledge. We want these kids to keep dreaming and to never cheat the game because I promise them if they truly love the game and give their all to it, the game will be good to them.”

During Top 30, RaeQuan not only hooped against some of the best basketball players in the state, but received important advice and training tips from several current NBA players who’ve come out of the greater Seattle area, such as Jamal, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, and Zach LaVine. 

“The group of high school players I competed against here, everyone had the mentality to just compete and play their best every scrimmage, every drill,” reflects the high-flying RaeQuan, who had a number of acrobatic dunks during the three-day camp. “I learned a lot from Jamal and Isaiah, too. They both emphasized just how hard you have to work, how you have to separate yourself all the time because you can be replaced at any moment. I will take these lessons and apply them to my own game for the remainder of high school, college, and the rest of my life.”

The combination of height, athleticism and scoring touch that has come to define RaeQuan’s game stood out, even in a gym full of Washington’s Top 30 high schoolers. Lead trainer and former men’s basketball coach at Evergreen State College, Arvin Mosley, points out “RaeQuan’s obviously explosive, but his ability to shoot the ball is what separates him. Yeah, he’s athletic and can dunk, but at the next level his shooting touch and range will prove even more valuable.”

Now, the high school senior looks forward to wrapping up his career at Marysville-Pilchuck and dreams of graduating with a state championship. With his Division 1 collegiate playing days only months away, RaeQuan will continue to sharpen his skills on and off the court in order to be a foundational player for the Dawgs of U.W. In his own words, “It’s all up from here.”

Native Sports and Baden join forces to create new business model

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Two Rivers Community Development Corporation, a non-profit located in North Bend, has created a new company called Native Sports to officially partner with Baden Sports Inc. in a new venture designed to empower Native youth through sports and business. The partnership also hopes to change the landscape of sports balls used on reservations across the country by providing exclusive tribal designed, top-of-the-line basketballs and footballs for play at all levels.

“Native Sports was created for the purpose of working with Native youth to create our next generation of leaders,” explained Chairman Daucey Brewington, a citizen of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. “One of our missions over the next ninety-days is to identify Native youth as potential board members both on their background/interests and their willingness to help develop this new concept.”

Native Sports and Baden Sports formally launched their partnership at the first Native Sports Youth Development Summit held at Baden’s headquarters in Renton on November 21st. Native youth from the twenty-nine tribes in Washington were invited to participate. Attendees learned about the newly formed Native Sports group and how they as youth can become involved in the organization.

Baden representatives provided product overviews and demonstrations, including balls engraved with the Native Sports logo. Proceeds from Native Sports will be used to further educational, athletic, and social development of Native American youth.

“I am proud to stand with Baden Sports to realize this dream of empowering our youth to live better lives through their own efforts,” said President and CEO of Native Sports, Lawrence SpottedBird, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. “This dream is a result of many years of planning to come together. We will show this unique partnership can not only make a profit, but also engage young Native people to become leaders while learning key business skills along the way.”

Among the Youth Development Summit attendees were several members from Puyallup Tribe’s Youth Council and representatives from Muckleshoot. After listening in detail to how they could join the Native Sports business venture, the tribal youth got to meet Baden Sports Vice-President, Jake Licht, and then received a surprise meet and greet with Seahawks legend, Jim Zorn.

For more information about Native Sports or to learn about their products and programs for Native youth, please visit their website nativesportsllc.com