Guillermo Nunez was praised for his high basketball IQ.
For the coaching staff at William Jessup University, an NAIA Division II program in Rocklin, that part of his game and more stood out.
“We liked Guillermo’s ability to score off the dribble – he has a deceptively strong body and is a good all-around athlete,” said assistant head coach George Hernandez, who found out about the Sierra High standout through his brother, an assistant coach at Tokay High.
Since January, he’s kept close tabs on Nunez, who helped lead his Timberwolves to yet another Valley Oak League title coupled with a second straight appearance in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finals. What Hernandez and others also liked in Nunez was his composure during crunch time in a big game.
“He has a real good shot of getting into the (playing) rotation,” said Hernandez, who officially inked Nunez to a letter of intent to play basketball for William Jessup.
“I think this will be a good home for me for the next four years,” Nunez said. “Right now, I’m planning to keep working hard every day and fight to get playing time.”
His father, Bill, noted that selecting a college wasn’t an easy choice for Guillermo, who was a three-year starter for the Timberwolves under Scott Thomason.
He looked at other small schools such as Arizona Christian, Notre Dame de Namur University, and Columbus.
“But William Jessup just felt right,” said Bill, who credited the Warriors coaches for helping ease this difficult process.
Nunez isn’t the only Manteca product who calls William Jessup home. Former East Union standout Brittany LaMar is the reigning California Pacific Conference softball Player of the Year, and Ashley Rose, another EU alumna, holds several scoring records for the women’s basketball team.
The men’s basketball team went 8-2 in the CalPac, winning the title but losing five of its regulars to graduation.
Guillermo Nunez helped make Sierra a winning program during his years there. “Even as a freshman, we saw something special about him – he had a real good feel for the game,” Thomason recalled.
Nunez, who was joined by friends and family on signing day – included were mom, Barbara, and his siblings – basketball was his first love even though he excelled in other sports.
“I know they thought baseball might be my best sport,” said Nunez, who played Little League at Northgate.
He played AAU basketball for the Manteca Nuggets alongside other local standouts, Dylan Alexander (Weston Ranch), Justin Nieto (East Union) and Jordan Kron (East Union). Nunez, Nieto and Kron also played CYO hoops for St. Anthony’s. “They won some titles over there,” reminisced his father, Bill.
Guillermo Nunez also played football for the Delta Rebels and at Sierra under Jeff Harbison. Coach Thomason experienced his fair share of anxious moments with his star player seeing plenty of action on the gridiron.
In addition, Nunez ran junior varsity track.
“G-Mo is a gym rat,” said Thomason. “You got to be in terms of self motivation.
“He’s also a willing passer and he really worked to improve his 3-point shot.”
The Timberwolves coach added: “But what really made him special was his ability to rise to the occasion during the big games.”
Nunez averaged 18 points per game and was named co-MVP of the VOL and Manteca Bulletin All-Area team during his senior year at Sierra
Coach Thomson and the Nunez friends and family are now looking forward to seeing Guillermo play at the next level.
“Fortunately, Rocklin isn’t too far, far away,” Thomason said.