Selah’s Noah Pepper Is a Bonafide Superstar
2021 Selah (Wash.) forward Noah Pepper has been a total breakout star during his sophomore campaign.
Right now he’s averaging a CWAC leading 23.8 points per game, to go along with a very solid 16 rebounds per contest.
These gaudy numbers didn’t happen by accident however. When it was discovered that his teammate (and older brother), Elijah Pepper, was going to miss the start of the season with a knee injury, Noah Pepper realized he was going to need to step up big time.
“I kind of had to help Calvin [Herting] out,” Pepper said. “Losing our top two scorers, I had to get more points as well as rebounds.”
It’s rare when a highly touted prospect actually lives up to the hype (and then some). That’s exactly what Pepper has done this season, and his Selah Vikings are a quality 15-5 because of it.
The progression of Pepper’s career has skyrocketed over the last two years. From day one of his freshman year, Selah head coach Tim Garza has entrusted Pepper as a franchise player.
Pepper credits his upbringing as a huge reason why he was so confident in his transition to the high school level.
Before he arrived at Selah, Pepper was featured on highly prestigious AAU teams like Team Lavine and Seattle Select.
He would compete against older kids up and down the west coast, which cleary has toughened him up for high school play.
Basketball has been Noah’s favorite sport ever since he was a young six year old lad.
“My Dad let me and Elijah try every sport,” Pepper said. “Basketball is just the one we love. Other sports were too slow, basketball is perfect.”
The Pepper brothers father, Ryan Pepper, played professionally overseas in Australia. It’s safe to say it’s going to be a basketball household forever.
Noah and Elijah have been going one on one since they were bobbleheads in the driveway. Because Elijah is a couple years older, he would always get the better of his younger counterpart.
“I think I finally got him when I was 13,” Noah Pepper said. “Nowadays it just kind of goes back and forth.”
Of course, you won’t find a bigger Noah Pepper fan out there than Elijah. The two time MVP has enjoyed vicariously seeing his brother make a name for himself.
Noah Pepper has made a strong case for why he should be CWAC MVP this year. It would be to no one’s surprise if he took home the hardware this year.
The progress of Pepper’s career has already started the whispers of him playing Division I basketball one day.
In fact, the conversation has started with local Big Sky school Portland State. They have already sent letters of interest to the sophomore sensation.
Still early in his sophomore year, Pepper doesn’t expect the recruiting trail to truly heat up until this upcoming offseason.
A major talking point for the 6-foot-4 200 pound prospect is what position he should play at the next level.
Currently he plays a power forward type role in Selah’s offense, but he may be more suited for the guard position in college.
“You don’t see many 6-4 power forwards in college,” Pepper said. “I’m probably going to end up a shooting guard.”
It’s an ideal fit, although Pepper fully acknowledges he will need to improve on his scoring to make that full time switch.
If there’s one trait that stands out about Pepper’s game, it’s the brutal physicality he plays with.
Of the many stat categories Pepper leads in, perhaps the most incredible number is the amount of charges he’s drawn. 45 total, a jaw dropping number.
“I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Pepper said. “I just love sacrificing my body for the team.”
Whether it’d be fighting for rebounds, making accurate passes, or taking over when needed, he's a team player in every sense of the word.
There’s still plenty of work to be done as he enters the playoffs. The Selah Vikings are a top 10 team in the state, and they will surely make some noise in the state scene.
Noah Pepper is a player you’ll want to monitor going forward. He’s about to turn into a household name, and he has all the tools to be great.