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Central Valley’s Cameron Tucker has matured as more balanced player

Gonzaga Prep guard Kea Vargas, left, and Central Valley guard Cameron Tucker chase a loose ball during the first half of a GSL boys district title basketball game at Gonzaga Prep on Feb. 12, 2016. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Prep guard Kea Vargas, left, and Central Valley guard Cameron Tucker chase a loose ball during the first half of a GSL boys district title basketball game at Gonzaga Prep on Feb. 12, 2016. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Cameron Tucker has learned a valuable lesson.

It’s taken the 6-foot-4 Central Valley senior three years, but he’s discovered that by doing less he can do more.

A three-year starter, Tucker thought he would have been to state once already before his senior season. So he has much appreciation for what the Bears have accomplished this season.

“It’s been one of the best basketball seasons I’ve ever had,” Tucker said.

As a sophomore, Tucker showed much potential. An athletic player with good hops, he caused other teams problems at times.

But he also caused himself more difficulty when he’d put his head down and drive to the basket without giving cause to what defenses were doing.

“I wasn’t trusted much with the ball because I’d dribble it off my foot or something,” Tucker said.

Then last year he had to move inside and play post – out of position really for his skill set.

With the emergence of junior Ryan Rehkow this season, Tucker was able to move to the wing where he’s more naturally suited.

“He’s been playing within himself a lot more, letting the game come to him,” CV coach Rick Sloan said.

It was never more evident than last Saturday when the Bears defeated Kentridge to earn a trip to Tacoma. He finished with a quiet 15 points, most coming in the second half.

“He’s obviously our best player,” Sloan said. “He’s always been a phenomenal athlete. It really helps us right now that he’s playing well.”

Tucker plans on playing in college.

He has some options and is being patient about his decision. He’s put in much time trying to perfect his game. He even paid for a personal trainer.

“I’m more comfortable now,” Tucker said. “We’ve never once butted heads. He’s helped me tremendously with my game, probably more than anyone.”

Sloan is as close with this year’s seniors as any group he’s had because his son, Tanner, is a senior and has played with his peers going back to elementary school.

“Cameron is a good kid,” Sloan said. “And he’s a good teammate. He’s as athletic as all get out. He’s been a joy to have around and very loyal to our program. He’s been very coachable.”

Tucker said the plan for state is simple.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “If we play together I think we’re an unstoppable team.”

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