There are plenty of ways for high school graduates to spend their summer vacation before going out into the real world.
Bryce Leavitt decided to become a college basketball player.
The standout Kennewick athlete didn’t waste any time going from high school star to budding college competitor, moving to Pullman last week, enrolling in summer school at Washington State and working out with the Cougars basketball team.
“It’s always been my dream,” said Leavitt, who accepted an offer to go to WSU as a preferred walk-on. “To me, my options were to walk on at a (Division I university) or go to junior college. I weighed it, and with the academic and financial help, it was my best option.”
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It is an option that developed amid a terrific senior year at Kennewick. First, Leavitt quarterbacked the Lions football team to the state playoffs for the first time since 2007, earning honorable mention all-league.
His basketball season was even better, though it ended a game short of state. The 6-foot-4 guard/forward was the CBBN 3A MVP and a Herald All-Area first-team selection after averaging 19.6 points.
Leavitt and Reggie Clinton, who signed to play at Bellevue Community College, formed the backcourt that guided the Lions to one of the most successful seasons in school history, an 18-5 campaign.
“I’m pretty proud of it,” Leavitt said. “The senior class this year, all my teammates in every sport, we were a unified class.
“It was fun giving Kennewick High one of the best athletic seasons it’s had in a long time.”
Leavitt knows he faces an uphill battle at WSU, walking on with a Pac-12 school instead of taking an offer from a smaller college. He figures to redshirt for the first year and work toward a scholarship from there.
It’s a battle his high school coach thinks is perfectly suited to him.
“He’s just relentless, and he kind of thrives on being an underdog a little bit,” Kennewick coach Bradyn Leyde said. “He had a lot of interest (from colleges), but the fact that no one came calling for him just fueled him.”
It is a role that Leavitt has come to relish.
“That’s how it’s always been for me. I’ve never been the big-name guy in high school, until I made myself that way later in my career,” he said. “Kennewick was kind of the place that never was favored by the media making picks, so I don’t find anything wrong being an underdog, not getting respect.”
Leavitt, whose post-collegiate plans include law school, said after working out with his future teammates that he was struck most by the speed of the game, and he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.
“It’s a different level of speed and skill, but I’m getting used to it,” he said, adding that there is one area he needs to improve right away.
Leavitt will move into the dorms and get a roommate come fall, but until then he is just a kid living on his own for the first time in his life, and fixing his own meals is a new deal.
“Only when I was hungry and no one was at home,” he said, describing his previous food prep experience.
So what’s on the menu?
“Hamburger Helper, Top Ramin with eggs,” he said. “There’s a lot of chocolate milk in my fridge.”
Sounds like he is adjusting to college life just fine.