VISTA — Cyprian Hyde, the pride of the Panthers, will trade his claws for a pair of wings.
Hyde, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound center for the Vista High School basketball team, signed his letter of intent on Nov. 10 to play hoops at the University of Portland next year.
Surrounded by family, friends, teammates and VHS coaching staff, Hyde inked his official commitment to play for the Pilots.
Portland coach Shantay Legans began recruiting the Vista standout during his freshman year. After growing at least 5 inches, Hyde has transformed into one of the region’s biggest scoring threats mainly due to his ability to play in the post, shoot three-pointers and grab rebounds.
But Hyde said he felt under-recruited after only receiving scholarship offers from Portland and Eastern Washington University, where Legans was coach when he first discovered Hyde. If there is a chip on his shoulder, Legans said it would only fuel his desire to improve and succeed at the next level.
“(Hyde) plays really hard,” Legans said. “He takes coaching. I saw how hard he played and could shoot the ball. Usually, you don’t get a combination of skill and talent that plays hard like that and who’s really physical. You feel lucky to get a kid like that.”
Regardless, Hyde’s game has the potential to help the Pilots navigate a difficult West Coast Conference, which is home to powerhouse Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. BYU is leaving the conference for the Big 12 after this season.
Hyde chose Portland due to his relationship with Legans, who was the first to acknowledge his skillset and make him an offer. Additionally, Hyde’s religious beliefs align with the private Catholic institution, offering academic support to assist with his dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“Those are my big three reasons,” Hyde said of his commitment. “I’m just trying to take it one step at a time. As for this season, our goal is to win our league … and win CIF Division 2. We definitely have the talent.”
Vista coach Anthony Bolton said Hyde’s ability to push himself outside of scheduled practices had positioned him for success, in addition to Hyde’s focus on academics and overall positive attitude. Bolton said athletes such as Hyde are role models to younger players.
“He’s an outstanding kid,” Bolton said. “The one thing I’ve been most proud of since Day 1 is that he’s been a great student. He is a kid that does the extra, not just the necessary practice. He does the extra workouts. I think that the extra work he put in, keeping his head down when people doubted him … has allowed him to progress to this point. I think his best basketball is ahead of him.”