Posted On: 03/14/19 1:36 PM
Before the start of the high school season I listed some of Washington’s top Sleepers in the class of 2021. 6’7 Small Forward Tyson Degenhart was highlighted in that article. Mt. Spokane’s sophomore had high expectations of himself coming into the season, but even he did not foresee just how good of a season was ahead of him at the time I interviewed him in early November. Tyson mentioned at the time he wanted to work on his in between game. While there is still room for improvement in this area, he’s continued to work on different details in his game throughout the high school season, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Players enjoy seeing the hard work pay off and for Tyson, so far, so good.
The Mt. Spokane Wildcats did not come into the season being considered one of the heavy weights in 3A. They made the state tournament the previous year, but were blown out by O’Dea, who would then go on to be blown out by Garfield. They were a ways away from being a true state championship team one year ago. Tyson was on that team and one of the top contributors, but he had to make a huge leap for Mt. Spokane to be a serious contender. Well, that huge leap happened for the 205 pound sophomore! Tyson would average 19 points per game in the Greater Spokane League (GSL) and help the team to a 3A GSL title and District 8 Championship. Despite having a number 2 seed, very few people in western Washington knew much about Tyson and the Wildcats and figured they would eventually run into a Metro powerhouse and be ran off the floor. Tyson and company had another idea when they squared off with heavily favored Rainier Beach in the state semi-final. Fundamentals, hot outside shooting and disciplined basketball won out in this game as Mt. Spokane defeated the Vikings 65-60. Fundamental, good outside shooting and disciplined basketball describes Tyson’s game perfectly. He is good at so many little things and when you combine that with his size, he is a legitimate star that mixes in well with the team concept. O’Dea would go on to run through Mt. Spokane in the final, but Tyson still had bright moments in the big game! The media sitting around me all shook their head in acknowledgment that Tyson could hang with any of the players on the court. He was rewarded by making First Team All-State at the conclusion of the tourney. In an interview with Prep Hoops, Tyson mentioned, “I definitely didn’t think I would make 1st-Team All-State as a sophomore. It’s a huge honor. It shows that all my hard work has paid off and my coach puts me spots to show my talents.” Tyson’s answer was very humble and level headed and that’s just how he seems to be as a person.
One of the best things about Tyson’s game might be that he never gets too high or low during the ups and downs of a game. O’Dea’s 6’9 star Paolo Banchero blocked his shot in the post in the championship game and his body language and facial expression never changed. On a few other possessions, Tyson was able to draw a foul or score on him and he looked the exact same as when he got his shot blocked. His inside scoring throughout the state tournament was a great example of his continued development. “My most improved aspect of my game is my post-game. I learned how to position myself down on the block to make it easier to score down low.” He can score with either hand and I saw him become more physical inside as the season went along. He has very good footwork, enabling him to perform a drop step, step through, spin move and quick jump stop into a little floater shot.
Want to catch one of the state’s top sophomores in action this spring and summer? Tyson Degenhart will be playing with Team Sabonis, based out of Spokane and sponsored by former Gonzaga standout and current Indiana Pacer, Domantas Sabonis. With multiple Division 1 mid-majors already on him, it will only be a matter of time before Tyson holds multiple offers to his name.