Brainiacs and basketball

Prairie’s Everett Buck and Camas’ Gabe Mukobi are among the top scholar-athletes in Clark County

Everett Buck is perfect.

Gabe Mukobi is, too.

At least in terms of a test score, or a grade point average. They are among the best of the best in Clark County. Oh, and they are high school basketball players, too.

Buck, who attends CAM Academy in Battle Ground and plays basketball for the Prairie Falcons, earned a perfect 36 on his ACT, a college admissions standardized test. Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the text earn that mark.

Mukobi, a senior at Camas High School, also is a 4.0 student and is part of a class that had to search out a more challenging math curriculum than his school typically offers.

One might go to an Ivy League school. The other might attend Stanford.

They are two of the the many area student-athletes who really do emphasize student before athlete. Today, ClarkCountyToday.com celebrates all athletes who excel in the classroom by highlighting Buck and Mukobi.

Ace the ACT

Everett Buck took the ACT last June. An average score is a 21. Buck said he figured he got a 33 or “maybe” a 34.

He was at a basketball camp with his teammates later that summer when he was able to look up his results.

“Wait? Really? That is actually what I got?” he recalled of that moment when he saw 36. “It was a big blessing.”

Prairie basketball player Everett Buck, who attends CAM Academy in Battle Ground, earned a perfect score on his ACT. Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of students nationwide reach that mark. Photo by Paul Valencia
Prairie basketball player Everett Buck, who attends CAM Academy in Battle Ground, earned a perfect score on his ACT. Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of students nationwide reach that mark. Photo by Paul Valencia

Buck is not sure yet where he will attend college. He said the University of Washington is an option. He loves that it is close. Harvard and Princeton are possibilities, the allure of the Ivy League. And Michigan would be special, too, because that is where his parents went to school.

Besides his perfect ACT — which has sections in math, science, reading, and English — he also maintains a 4.0 grade-point average at Character and Academics for the Marketplace Academy in Battle Ground.

“My family instilled in me the importance of academics and athletics,” Buck said. “You need a support team behind you.”
Buck also is a National Merit Scholar semifinalist and a U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalist. He will find out later in the school year if he becomes a finalist.

And, of course, he also plays basketball for the Falcons.

“Using my time wisely is pretty big. I have to make sure I’m always motivated,” he said.

“It can be tough at times,” he added, juggling such a schedule. “Having a love for the sport makes me excited for practice. Focus on one thing at a time and things will take care of itself.”

Plus, his skills are interchangeable.

“Everything I’ve learned in class — working hard, focus — applies on the basketball court,” he said. “Working as a team applies in the classroom.”

Buck and the Falcons will be finishing up the regular season this week. Prairie is hoping to catch Kelso for a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League championship. No matter what happens the rest of league play, Prairie will advance to the bi-district tournament in hopes of making it to state.

Buck will be there all the way, perhaps studying during the road trips throughout the postseason.

In search of math

Gabe Mukobi is one of 16 students at Camas High School who have already taken the highest math classes available at the school. So they went in search of new studies.

In the first semester, they found linear algebra. In the second semester, they are studying multivariable calculus.

Now here’s the real kicker. Of course there is a math teacher, a professional in the classroom. But the 16 students each take a chapter in these new math textbooks and teach the other students.

Camas basketball player Gabe Mukobi spends his free time at a physics lab at Portland State University and tries to find more challenging math classes. Photo courtesy of Kris Cavin
Camas basketball player Gabe Mukobi spends his free time at a physics lab at Portland State University and tries to find more challenging math classes. Photo courtesy of Kris Cavin

“It’s kind of exciting, interesting,” Mukobi said.

He could say the same thing about his whole academic career at Camas.

As part of the Math Science Technology Magnet program at the high school, Mukobi has an internship with the physics lab at Portland State University. He was there Sunday, in fact, because there is no reason to miss a day of learning.

After high school, he hopes to attend Stanford University to study computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence.

Mukobi also is a musician.

“I might study artificial intelligence with music composition,” he said. “See if I can combine those.”

Last year, he was part of the band called “Simply Eight.” The name came from a premise that 92 percent of popular music had “bad stuff in general,” he said, noting violence and profanity. “Simply Eight” promised to perform the eight percent of music that also is clean.

Academics. Music. Basketball. It takes quite a commitment to excel in one, let alone all three.

“It’s definitely very challenging,” Mukobi said. “It is doable. I’ve probably suffered in my sleep habits. It’s just a big game of time management, being able to balance stuff. I’m trying to get the most of the time I have.”

Plus, he knows being an athlete helps him in his studies, noting there is research on “how exercise increases your learning capabilities,” he said.

He also appreciates the break that basketball gives his brain. Sometimes it is just more fun to play than to study.

He and the Camas Papermakers would love more time on the basketball court this season. Camas beat Battle Ground on Monday night to keep alive any hope of the playoffs. The Papermakers need Battle Ground to lose again on Wednesday to force a tiebreaker game in hopes of advancing to the bi-district tournament.

Surely, with Mukobi on the team, Papermakers would be feeling even more confident if the tiebreaker were a math test.

Advertisement

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

Related posts