Sierra Sun’s male Athlete of the Year from Truckee High School: James DePew
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212;-James DePew could smash a fastball with the best of them, pitch his team to victory against the most potent of offenses and field any position on the baseball field.
And yet, baseball is not even his best sport.
The standout three-sport athlete and#8212; and Sierra Sun’s male Athlete of the Year from Truckee High and#8212; is headed north in the fall to play football at Western Oregon University.
and#8220;He’s definitely a leader,and#8221; said Truckee football coach Bob Shaffer, describing DePew as a humble and coachable player with sure hands at his tight end position and consummate play-making ability at defensive end.
and#8220;We had a whole class of leaders in that senior class as far as football is concerned, and he was one of those top-tier guys, for sure.and#8221;
DePew, also an All-League forward in basketball, was selected to the All-State first team at both tight end and defensive end in football, while in baseball he was voted to the All-State first team as a pitcher.
He was particularly tough to deal with on the gridiron.
After a monstrous junior season in which his Wolverines won the first of two state championships, DePew again proved to be a dominant force his senior year and#8211; despite the Wolverines adjusting their offense to more of an open passing game, Shaffer said.
and#8220;It meant he wasn’t going to get as many throws as he did in the previous offense because we spread the ball around more,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;He accepted that, and he kind of really became a great team player because of it.and#8221;
Still, DePew averaged 16.8 yards per catch and recorded 335 receiving yards, with three touchdowns. And on defense, where he commonly drew two blockers as he got after quarterbacks, he had five sacks and 49 total tackles.
DePew will play receiver at Western Oregon.
He could also play college baseball if he wanted, said Mike Ellis, head coach of the Truckee team. –
and#8220;He was our guy, our MVP. He hit, he pitched, he carried us,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;He’s a great athlete. He’s not much of a loud, senior, vocal kind of guy, but he takes care of business.
and#8220;He’s got a great head on his shoulders. If he wanted to, he could definitely go somewhere in baseball, too, for sure. He’s just a great kid to coach. He always gave 100 percent when he was out there.and#8221;
It showed, especially at the plate, where DePew posted a .494 batting average, a slugging percentage of .852 and an on-base percentage of .564. Truckee’s cleanup hitter tallied four home runs, three triples, 11 doubles and 22 singles in 81 at-bats, with 29 RBI.
and#8220;He can hit,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;But he can also play all nine positions. It’s a coach’s dream to have a player like that.and#8221;
DePew also fanned 66 batters in 54 2/3 innings while posting a 5.93 ERA.
And then there was his other sport, basketball, at which DePew was no slouch.
and#8220;He was a very talented player,and#8221; said Truckee basketball coach Angelo Tenorio. and#8220;He worked extremely hard and is very coachable, and he was a team leader for us.and#8221;
At 6-foot-3 and#8212; maybe and#8212; DePew held his own on the boards against his often larger opposition and was always a threat to score in the paint.
and#8220;He had to play in the post, and he did a great job against a lot of kids who were bigger than him,and#8221; Tenorio said. and#8220;When he was inside he was a force for us offensively, and defensively he got a lot of rebounds for us. So he did a great job.and#8221;
All three of DePew’s coaches complimented his character.
and#8220;The other good thing about James is his work ethic in the classroom and his behavior as far as being a role model here at the school are always top notch,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;He’s very well-mannered and was brought up right. He gives me hope for the future of America.and#8221;