Rez Ball Update at Eastern Oregon U.

When i wrote about the Arlee Warrior basketball team and Abe Streep’s wonderful book about them, Rez ball in Montana, and the problems successful Native high school athletes have making it to and in the college game, I did not know that one of the key players followed in Abe’s book, Brothers on Three, just completed a very successful season in my backyard, at Eastern Oregon University. A Montana friend gave me the news, and here’s what I learned from the EOU web page:

“Junior guard Phillip Malatare was named the Newcomer of the Year and was tabbed First Team All-CCC. He garners the award after being a guiding force for the Mountaineers in 2021-22. ..

“Malatare was the Mountaineers’ go-to option on offense this season as he averaged 19.2 points per game 27 games played. He started 26 contests and averaged 30.6 minutes per game. His 19.2 points per game were second highest in the league as he shot Read The Article

Rez Ball-2

I don’t know when I first heard the term “rez ball,” but I’ve been watching Nixyaawii School on the Umatilla Reservation play basketball for years, and that’s where I got my idea of what it is. It’s more passes than dribbles, move the ball, and offense coming off pressure defense. It’s no-look passes and going to the hot shooter in the game, ofttimes for threes.

Once, in Joseph, Nixyaawii was having their way with the Joseph girls. It must have been 2017, when Mary Stewart led the Golden Eagles to the state championship. She would bring the ball up nonchalantly, then dribble quickly to the side and nail a three, or fire an overhead pass to a girl who’d moved deftly to the rim for an easy layup. Read The Article