Athlete of the Week
Tatu excels on and off court
February 02, 2011 - Junior Nick Tatu has taken over the role of Clarkston High School Boys Varsity Basketball's traditional sharpshooter.
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He is averaging 17 points per game and is shooting a superior 88% from the free throw line this season.
Not only has Tatu been a terrific scorer for the Wolves but he has been a shut-down defender and excellent rebounder. Tatu's success should not have shocked anyone who knew his passion and love for basketball.
He started playing basketball in first grade when his older brother, Tom, got him interested.
"My brother started playing basketball in third grade. He used to take me to his practices where I would shoot around and occasionally scrimmage with his team. It became a routine and I went to every one of his practices, shooting and trying to become as good as my brother," said Nick.
It is this drive and motivation making Nick into the player he is today. By third grade he was on his own basketball team but not with kids from his own school.
"From first to eighth grade I went to Holly schools, basketball is not very big in Holly and when a family friend from Clarkston asked me to join their basketball team. I loved the idea," said Nick.
Nick not only played with Clarkston kids but he became very close friends with them. They would take him to the high school games and eventually got him to play in McGrath.
"I became attached to Clarkston basketball and wanted to play for Coach (Dan) Fife. So before my freshman year I transferred to Clarkston," said Nick.
Nick, now an official Clarkston Wolf, shined immediately when he made the varsity team his freshman year. He received very little play time but gained experience and saw firsthand what it took to be a great shooter from former Clarkston standout, Brandon Pokley.
"Pokley was one of the best shooters I've ever seen," said Nick. "I try to follow his lead and work just as hard. I took 500 shots every day during the summer along with ball handling drills and weightlifting."
Nick he works just as hard off the court - he has two class periods of CSM-Tech.
Then, has psychology and economics, followed by racquet sports "to make the day more fun," said Nick, who has a 3.0 GPA.
Nick hopes to take his basketball skills to the next level and play in college. He is currently talking to three universities.
"Right now I'm just focusing on being the best player I can and helping the team win," said Nick.
Tatu is also a role model for many young kids who have dreams of growing up and playing for the high school.
"When I was kid my biggest heroes were the varsity basketball players, it's weird to think that now they look up to me," said Nick.
"The best advice I could give to them is to work as hard as you can. Time goes by fast. You want to make the most out of the time given to you and not look back wondering what could have happened."
Joey Goss is a junior at Clarkston High School. He also writes for the school newspaper - Paw Prints.