Fortuna is a small town of just under 12,000 people in central-western Humboldt County. The name is Spanish for fortune and, in Latin, it means chance. Thus, some assistant coach is going to relish the opportunity if he lands Nate Ambrosini.
A 6-foot-4 junior at Fortuna High and a member of Coach John Florance's Nor Cal Warriors basketball team, Ambrosini possesses the size, skills set and court savvy necessary to not only play at the next level but to rep the folks of the Redwood Curtain quite well. As a sophomore, he was named a first-teamer in the Humboldt Del Norte Big 5 League. Recently, most valuable player honors were bestowed upon him at the conclusion of the Lindhurst Blazer Holiday Classic.
Here's Fortuna High Coach Joe Rice: "Nate is our most athletic and versatile guy, a lefty with good range and someone who can attack the basket and pull up for a mid-range shot. I've also used him a lot in the post this year. The diversity of his game makes him someone to really look at. He has really improved this season and still has the potential to get much better."
Ambrosini is currently averaging 24 points per game with multiple double-double performances.
John Florance said this of his guard: "What I like about Nate is that he's a good player, the best in his area and with the desire to get better. He is a committed player who drives six hours to be apart of my club. At 6-foot-4, Nate has the ability to rebound and push the ball up the floor, create shots for himself and others, and hit shots from all three spots -- drives, pull ups and threes. Nate would be a good freshman in the Big Sky, West Coast Conference or in the Ivy League in the next two years. He is a pleasure to coach and i look forward to coaching him again this year."
Asked to detail his best basketball skills, Ambrosini offered, "I'm a good perimeter shooter but I have a quick crossover and can drive and finish. I also elevate well and like to push the ball."
He not only takes care of business on the court but off it too. Currently in possession of a 4.3 grade point average, he offered, "I'm also taking three advanced placement courses that can apply to college credits if I pass them." He's looking to major in kinesiology in order to become a physical therapist once his basketball playing concludes.
Like with many others, given a taste of hoops, he wanted more.
"I used to play football and baseball too," he explained, "but I grew a passion for basketball and the more I played, the more I loved it." Ambrosini comes from a sports family as his father participated in baseball, basketball and football and was an all-county wide receiver while his mother played softball, basketball and volleyball.
He credits his father as the first and biggest basketball influence in his life. "My Dad coached me. We would go to the gym when I was younger. Coach Rice and all my AAU coaches have also been an influence on my development."
But Ambrosini also offers a shout-out to Kobe Bryant because "I have some films of him and how hard he works."
At Fortuna, he plays a somewhat different role than his time with the Nor Cal Warriors.
"We're not a tall team so I play the one through the three but also sometimes down low."
A query regarding his development from a freshman to now, Ambrosini said, "I've definitely improved on my strength -- I've worked on it a lot. My shooting has also improved and I can finish stronger. Plus, my decision-making and reading defenses is better."
Yes, it may take some out-of-the-way detouring but coaching bonafides are established on recruiting. Take 101 North.