OTHELLO — Roman Pruneda’s long and winding basketball journey has returned him to the place it all started: Othello High School.
Pruneda was recently named the varsity head coach of Othello’s boys basketball, a program he played for his first three years of high school.
“The timing just worked out great,” he said.
The Othello job is Pruneda’s first coaching experience at the high school level, but his basketball pedigree is well-documented. Pruneda played his first three high school seasons at Othello before transferring to East Valley (Yakima).
“I think it’s a big thing that I’m from Othello,” he said.
After high school, Pruneda received an athletic scholarship to play for Columbia Basin College. Pruneda moved on to Montana Tech University after averaging six points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 3.7 assists per game for the Hawks.
Pruneda continued his basketball career overseas as well as in Mexico and Bolivia, winning a championship.
In the coaching realm, Pruneda has worked at the NBC Basketball Camps in Spokane since 2011 and is two weeks into his time with the Huskies.
“So far it’s been nothing but an easy transition,” he said. “It motivates me even more to devote my time.”
Pruneda’s biggest goal is to build a basketball culture in Othello. The Huskies won three games in 2016-17 and face consistently high competition in the Central Washington Athletic Conference, one of the best Class 2A leagues in the state.
Selah was the state runner-up last season, while Prosser and Wapato both reached the first round of the state tournament.
In the early going, Pruneda has preached defense and an offensive style that focuses on sharing the basketball.
That sort of adaptability will be crucial in the upcoming season.
“With the CWAC, there’s a lot of difference styles of play,” Pruneda said.