Leadership is something that has come to Gaven Deyarmin out of necessity. That he has taken to it so readily has as much to do with his desired activities as it does with his natural talent for that mantle.
“Leadership kind of came to me whether I wanted it or not,” the Central Valley High School senior explained. “When I was a sophomore I became the starting quarterback on the football team. Like it or not, if you’re the quarterback, you’re the leader of the offense. Same thing happened that year in basketball: I became a starter in basketball.”
Deyarmin’s play on the field earned him second-team All-Greater Spokane League honors in the fall, but it was his leadership, more than anything else, that was credited with Central Valley’s run all the way to the State Class 4A quarterfinals, where the Bears lost to eventual state champion Skyline, 52-17.
Deyarmin, along with senior linebacker Alex Jacot, called a players-only meeting following an embarrassing loss to Gonzaga Prep, a meeting that not only righted a listing ship but set it on a course for the playoffs.
“I can’t take the credit for that,” Deyarmin insists. “There was a group of seniors involved in calling that meeting. But once we did, we wanted to make sure that we kept everything positive. You could tell that things weren’t right and that not everyone’s effort was where it needed to be. But after the meeting, you could tell an immediate difference.
“We had the meeting before practice. After we talked, we had a meeting with the coaches to go over the practice schedule and by the time we got out on the field, you could see the difference. We were having fun again and we were getting our work done at the same time.”
Fun is key to Deyarmin’s game.
“I think I’m probably the most competitive person I’ve ever met,” he said. “I want to win. But at the same time, I know that I play my best when I have a smile on my face and I’m having fun out there.”
The son of former CV and University soccer coach Brandon Deyarmin, Gaven grew up playing the game.
“I always played soccer as a kid,” he said. “I don’t think I even thought about playing football until I was in the seventh grade and I think that really hurt my dad’s feelings. But that’s the thing about my dad and my mom – the most important thing to them is that I have that big smile on my face and that I’m having fun.”
That fun level was dampened Tuesday night, when the Bears finished the 2011 part of their season with a double-overtime loss to Shadle Park. Going into a five-day break over Christmas, the Bears are 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the GSL, just one game behind Lewis and Clark, University and Ferris, all tied at 4-1 atop the league standings.
“I think that loss might ultimately become a good thing for this team,” he said. “I think it can remind everyone of just how much work we have to do and refocus everyone for when we come back. Anytime you lose a game, it’s going to eat at you. But you have to get past it and focus on the next game.
“I look at where we are, 3-3, and I think that, a basket here or there, and we could easily be 5-1 or 6-0. But at the same time, we’re in a very good position for those next 15 games. We knew we were going to have a tough start this season, especially with so many of us coming in late after the end of football season.”
“The one thing I was worried about coming into this (basketball) season was our post play,” he said. “I was concerned about whether or not we’d have an effective post player who could score inside if we feed them the ball. We don’t have one – we have three players who are playing awesome right now. They’re scoring well and rebounding – if anything, the rest of us have to step up and help them with rebounding better.
“Our outside shooters are just beginning to get their range. You can tell, they’re almost there. And I’m mentally trying to limit myself to only taking shots in the key until I get my outside shot figured out. This team is good enough make a deep run in the playoffs.”
That’s a pronouncement Deyarmin made a year ago.
He turned out for the track team last spring in an effort to improve his speed and prepare his legs for what he knew would be a run well into the playoffs for the football team.
“I wanted to get my legs into shape because I knew that we’d be going right into basketball once we finished the football season,” he said.
And, he said, he and his teammates need to be prepared for the home stretch of the basketball season.
“I remember last year,” he said. “I think I spent, maybe, one day in the gym over the Christmas break. Boy, you could tell when we got back to practice who had been working and who hadn’t. In fact, you could see that in the teams we played, who had worked hard and who had lost something over the break. It took some teams a couple weeks to recover.”
And, he added, the Bears have extra motivation and inspiration in the gym next door. The Central Valley girls team is ranked No. 1 by the Seattle Times in its statewide poll.
“The girls are playing great basketball right now,” Deyarmin said. “I love to root for them and I know they root for us just as hard, if not harder.”
His cousin is Brooke Gallaway, the leading scorer for the Bears.
“I love to watch Brooke’s game,” he said. “We used to play one-on-one against each other, but I can’t take credit for her game.”
Hey, playing against bigger, stronger competition helps improve your game, right?
“Well,” he laughs, “That’s what I used to tell Brooke.”