NewsTribune Athlete of the Week: Mendota’s Izaiah Nanez

Senior reached 1,000 career points in regular season finale

Mendota's Izaiah Nanez is the NewsTribune boys soccer player of the year on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2023 in Mendota.

Mendota senior Izaiah Nanez had a strong finish to his high school basketball career.

He scored 15 points against Newman and scored 19 points against Putnam County in the regular season finale to reach 1,000 points for his career.

Nanez scored 11 points in the Trojans’ regional quarterfinal win against Hall before his career ended with a loss to Seneca in the semifinals.

“Izaiah has been a great player for us throughout his career, but more importantly, he’s worn the Trojans jersey with pride and embodies everything we strive for in a program,” Mendota coach Steve Wasmer said. “He’s a great young man who’s destined for great things.”

For his performance, Nanez was voted the NewsTribune Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Sullivan’s, Grasser’s Plumbing & Heating and Central Bank.

Nanez answered some questions from NewsTribune sports editor Kevin Chlum.

When did you start playing basketball and how did you get into it?

Nanez: I started playing basketball in third grade at recess. It started with a quick game of knockout, which turned very competitive and so fun.

What do you like about playing basketball?

Nanez: I like how every possession is different both defensively and offensively. It requires a variety of different skills and great basketball IQ.

What makes you a good basketball player?

Nanez: My teammates. My teammates are all threats to score a basket, which is very helpful. They give me the opportunity to always be a threat, whether I take my guy one on one or I pull two defenders and dish it out for a great look at the basket.

What is your favorite memory from your athletic career at Mendota?

Nanez: My favorite memories from my career would be the people I have gotten close with during each season. Throughout my career, I was surrounded by hardworking teammates and coaches who always pushed me to be the best I can be.

Besides Mendota’s gym, where is your favorite to play?

Nanez: I think Hall’s gym would be my second favorite because there’s nothing better than beating Hall at their place.

Who is the best athlete you’ve ever faced?

Nanez: The best athletes I have ever faced would definitely be the 2021-22 seniors on our soccer team. Those days of scrimmages or even doing drills against them were very intense and have definitely helped me become who I am today.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Nanez: If I could travel anywhere, it would be somewhere warm like Florida and I would go to an NFL game, find some nice golf courses and go to the beach.

With what food could you win an eating contest?

Nanez: I could win an eating contest with any fruit.

What is a movie or TV show you never get tired of watching?

Nanez: My favorite shows would be Stranger Things or The Last Dance.

What are your thoughts on your individual performance last week?

Nanez: This past week has been intense for me. Starting off the week our team had talked about how we need to dial it in going into postseason. We did just that against Putnam. It was a good team win and I reached a goal I was determined to reach for the entire season. I am very grateful for my teammates and coaches who have given me the opportunity to experience this milestone. After that night, it was all business going into postseason. There’s a different feeling preparing for a game knowing it could be your last. I think that is what pushed me to play as hard as possible this past week.