CENTRAL POINT, Ore--- Inside of Central High School's gym family, friends and teammates gathered on Saturday to watch Nate Bittle return home, to sign his letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Oregon.
"I'd like to take the time to thank everyone in this room," said the 6 foot 11 center from Central Point. "I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. It really means a lot."
Bittle who had an outstanding career as a Crate High Comet, committed to U of O back on September 15 after visiting with Gonzaga, UCLA and Arizona. Bittle played as the center for the Comets for the past three seasons, and made his mark on the team with his wide variety of skills.
The five-star recruit is not only dominate down-low in the paint, but also has the ability to shoot the three-point ball effectively.
The Comets made it past the first round of the 2020 OSAA 5A championship, beating South Albany by 33 points and were set to take on Silverton. But when Covid-19 began spreading across the country and into professional sports, the tournament was shut down before Bittle could make a possible historic mark in the program's history.
"Today is a special day for Comet basketball, " said David Heard, the athletic director for Crater High School. "Nate will always be a Comet in my mind."
In August, Bittle made the decision to transfer during his senior season to Prolific Prep High School to continue to improve his skills against some of the best players in high school basketball. With Oregon's high school basketball future in question, with the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the state, transferring was Bittle's only option if he wanted to play in his senior season.
But to everyone here in the Rouge Valley, Bittle will always be a Comet and will be missed as he makes his journey into college.
"To me the memory that I will always have will be that last game he played in," said Chris Schmerbach, "To know that, that was going his last game as a Crater Comet. He was just absolutely phenomenal. That's pretty special to me as a coach."