Sports

Enumclaw's Carel will play D-II basketball at Seattle Pacific

With his family, Hornet teammates and coaches Phil Engebretsen and Rick Hofstrand gathered around, Enumclaw High senior Riley Carel inked a letter of intent to play basketball at NCAA Division II Seattle Pacific University.

Carel anticipates suiting up this fall and participating in the 2010-11 season for men’s basketball coach Ryan Looney and the defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion Falcons.

“Riley is a winner. He and his team at Enumclaw High School had a tremendous season this year,” Looney said. “Riley understands what it means to compete and has been coached very well in that area. We feel like we just added a lot of toughness to our roster with the addition of Riley Carel.”

Carel signed his letter in the Enumclaw High library April 14, while simultaneously Looney was making the announcement at the Seattle campus.

A 6-foot-2 guard, Carel was the 2010 Washington state Class 3A co-Player of the Year. He averaged 12.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists to lead Enumclaw to a 27-1 record. The Hornets advanced to the state championship game, which they lost 51-50 to Union.

Carel had a double-double in the championship game with 11 points and 10 rebounds. A two-time South Puget Sound League 3A most valuable player, he was ranked as the state’s 10th best prep guard by NorthwestHoops.com.

“It’s a great school,” Carel said of SPU. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Carel said he has spent a lot of time at Seattle Pacific and is familiar with the program. As a youngster, he watched EHS graduates like Tony Binetti and Beth and Jesse Christianson play there.

Binetti, who is now playing professionally in Italy, played for the Falcons from 2002-06 and was a first-team all-American in 2006 and ranks No. 9 among all-time SPU career scoring leaders with 1,283 points.

“It’s going to be great,” said Carel, who has already hit the hardwood with Andy Poling, a 6-foot-11, 230-pound post player who competed last season as a redshirt freshman at Gonzaga and has transferred to Seattle Pacific.

After looking at schools in Montana and Oregon, Engebretsen said Carel’s choice to stick close to home is a wonderful opportunity both for Carel and Hornet fans.

“The bonus for the rest of us is we get to go see him play,” Engebretsen said.

Carel isn’t the only Hornet eyeing post-high school play. Tarren VanTrojen and Jayson Lewis are still in the decision-making process. Both have signed with Highline Community College, but are exploring options at four-year institutions as well.

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