Nate Reynolds doesn't just shoot around on the basketball court at Columbia High School in Nampa for fun. He plays to help the Wildcats win. “They like me to shoot three-pointers,” he says.
Number 33 recently had his standout game against Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian. With two minutes left in the game, Nate came in and scored the last twelve points becoming Columbia’s leading scorer that night.
Coach Tennison Tripple says make no mistake, the 17-year-old with down syndrome earned his spot during tryouts. It was something that even surprised Nate’s mother. “I thought, he's just going to be the manager. But Coach is like nope, I'm putting him on the roster," said Betty Reynolds.
Nate practices with the team and runs through warm-ups before games. “When the opportunities are right, I try and get him in the game as much as I can," said Coach Tripple.
Teammates call Nate a true friend, who motivates them to finish strong no matter the score. “When we're getting water, getting talked to by coach you look over and Nate's dancing for the crowd and showing off. Man, Nate knows we are still in this game, let's try to keep going a little bit," describes fellow Columbia senior Michael Davis.
For a kid who didn't walk until he was two and a half, the Nampa teen is no bench warmer. So far, Nate's taken the court in three games this season. As a fan of NBA star, Steph Curry, Nate spends hours practicing and he's not shy about doing some coaching either. “Throw it higher,” he yells to 6 On Your Side News Anchor Michelle Edmonds as they practice Nate’s signature three-point shot.
In that game against Rocky, Columbia didn't come away with a win, but they did bring home a victory. After the game, Coach Tripple says, “I put my arm around him and gave him a hug and all he did was look up at me and say thanks, Coach, I appreciate that. And that put a tear in my eye and it was just a great experience."
The Columbia Wildcats and Nate will celebrate senior night on Saturday.