Sports

Bremerton grads Thompson, Flemister to play at OC

Absence, the saying goes, makes the heart grow fonder.

Such is the case for three young men who plan to resume their basketball careers at Olympic College next fall.

Marshaun Thompson and Sam Flemister, a couple of Bremerton products, and Ryan Ninnis, a guard from Clover Park High School in Tacoma, will be among the new faces on coach Reece Gliko’s second team at the Bremerton community college.

D.C. Egge, a 6-6 forward from Lavina, Mont., has also verbally committed to the Rangers.

“I realized how much I miss it,” said Ninnis, who played at Olympic as a freshman but sat out a year ago. “I realized how much I love it and want to play.”

Thompson, a 6-5 sophomore who helped BHS to a fifth-place finish in the state 3A basketball tournament in 1999, has a year of NWAACC experience under his belt, starting for Whatcom College two years ago.

“The sky’s the limit for Marshaun,” Gliko said, comparing the gifted shot blocker to Olympic’s Fred Grupe, who averaged 20.2 points and an NWAACC-leading 10.8 rebounds for the Rangers as a freshman. “Athletically, he’s in the same category as Fred. He jumps extremely well and has a body that’s strong. He can get a lot better.

“I think Marshaun really wants it. He’s been out long enough where he’s hungry and disciplined enough to stay within the program.”

Flemister, a 6-2 forward, was a first-team all-Olympic League selection after averaging 19.4 points and 6.2 rebounds his senior year in 2001. He signed a letter of intent to play at Skagit Valley, but never enrolled in classes in the fall after deciding that the Mount Vernon school wasn’t where he wanted to be.

Flemister was going to enlist in the military, but decided to join the Air Force reserves instead of opting for active duty.

“I still wanted to play basketball,” he said. “And I really liked the atmosphere here. The team is really nice. Everybody just likes each other.”

Flemister’s heard the war stories about Gliko’s demanding two-a-day workouts.

“That’s what it takes to get better,” Flemister said. “All of that hard work, it pays off.”

Flemister’s made arrangements with his Tacoma reserve unit to attend Sunday meetings twice a month, so it won’t interfere with basketball.

Ninnis, a 6-3 shooting guard, played the 2000-2001 season at Olympic, but decided to take a break from basketball a year ago. As it turned out, he couldn’t have played if he wanted to.

“I had a hole in my lung,” Ninnis said. “I had like an air bubble in my lung since birth. It usually happens to tall, skinny people and it popped one day. It felt like I was having a heart attack. It happened last April and again in the summer when I was working at a basketball camp.”

Ninnis had surgery to repair his lung and now he’s eating and breathing basketball again.

“He fits right in with what we want to do,” Gliko said of the player who was named Pierce County League MVP his senior year. “He’ll be as good a 3-point shooter as there is in the league and I think he’ll develop into a pretty good defensive player, too.”

Egge averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds for Class C Lavina High, which is located about 45 miles north of Billings. Gliko, Montana’s all-time leading prep scorer, has followed Egge since he started coming to Gliko’s annual summer basketball camp in Belt, Mont.

Gliko’s also pursuing South Kitsap guard Tremaine Curry and a couple other prospects from his home state of Montana. He’s also talked to Olympic guard Geoff Kelstrup. North Kitsap guard Josh Matthews and center Bryan Haupt have played in open gyms at the college. Central Kitsap’s basketball jones, Kevin Van Hook, has also been a regular at those sessions.

Besides Grupe, the Rangers return point guard Casey Manchester from Olympic and swingman Angelo Jeanpierre from Bremerton. Kevin Hudson, a 6-3 forward from Chicago who started the season as OC’s sixth man before losing his eligibility, will be back. And Maurice Hines, a 6-0 sophomore from Nathan Hale in Seattle, also figures into the Rangers’ plans. Hines was ineligible a year ago.

Olympic was 14-14 overall and 8-8 in the Northern Division in Gliko’s first season.

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