Getting to know Nathan Bittle
One of the latest players to pick up an offer from Cal men’s basketball is 2021 power forward Nathan Bittleout of Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon. Bittle took the time to talk with GoldenBearReport.comalong with his dad Ryan, giving us a chance to learn more about him and where he is in the recruiting process.
As a 6’10” big man with a nice shooting touch, Bittle already has offers from USC, Oregon, Tulane, and Portland in addition to Cal. With so much already coming at him, Bittle’s family is doing a stellar job at keeping him grounded and focused on simply becoming a better basketball player.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” Ryan Bittlesaid of his son’s recruitment. “We’re not really focused on colleges at this time. We’re just focused on getting him better. We’re just putting together what coaches to what place. We’re just trying to put a face to the name.
“Each school that has offered, we want to take unofficial visits when we can and when the time comes, do some official visits to the schools that are further away. Having 15 official visits due to the rule change, that’s going to allow us to travel to places that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get to on our own dime. But right now, what we’re really focused on is getting him to be a better player.”
When talking about his game, Bittle prides himself on his ability to spread the floor with his shooting and protect the paint with his length. His main focus right now is developing a better post game so as to not rely too heavily on his shooting. If he can bulk up and learn how to establish a sound presence down on the block, the sky is the limit to what he can accomplish.
“I’m a good shooter,” Bittle said. “My dad has really helped me with my shot. Court spacing, shot blocking. I’m a really good shot blocker. I’m also really good at moving without the ball. [I’m working on] being able to get a post game because I shoot a lot. Being able to play defense and keep my guy in front of me. I kinda take from everyone’s game and get better. I just try to be myself, you know?”
At Oregon Institute of Technology, Ryan Bittle played under College Basketball Hall of Fame coach Danny Miles, who is one of only four coaches in the NCAA and NAIA levels with 1,000+ wins. Ryan has been able to share a lot of Miles’ wisdom with his son, giving him a perspective that few high school players get the chance to have.
“It helps me a lot,” Bittle said of learning from his dad. “Me and him do workouts together. Sometimes we butt heads, just father and son. He has a really good basketball IQ. His college coach Danny Miles was just inducted to the College Basketball Hall of Fame. So he learned from the best.”
While he remains very focused on the basketball court, Bittle also remains focused in the classroom. Ryan Silverand his coaches at West Coast Elite, preach the importance of academics. Bittle knows that in order to be successful at the next level, you need to be hitting the books in addition to the court.
“It means a lot,” Bittle said of academics. “Coach Ryan Silver’s program, he always tells his players to keep their grades up. I have a 3.75 GPA and hopefully next year I’ll have the same thing. My favorite subject is math. Just because it’s kinda easy for me.”
Last year, Bittle was first team All-League, leading the state in blocks at the 5A level. He helped guide Crater to the most wins in school history (25-3), first league title in 28 years, and a trip to the semifinals of the 5A state tournament. Also, he was honorable mention All-State for the 5A level. While he’s already accomplished so much in just one year of high school basketball, Bittle hopes to accomplish even more next year and build on the success that he had in his freshman year:
“I probably wanna be first in the league, first All-State, our team leader, and I want to set some school records at Crater and I want to get better.”
While Nathan Bittle is taking things slowly on the recruiting trail, he is certain to see more and more offers pour in. What helps Cal is they are getting on him early, giving themselves a chance to slowly build a relationship that could last for the duration of his recruitment. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress.