Marquan Williams

Marquan Williams (center) will play next season at Seattle Pacific University after having played one season at Skagit Valley College.

One Skagit Valley College men’s basketball player is heading south for the next stop in his basketball career, while another player is getting set to join the Cardinals.

Point guard Marquan Williams, who starred on last year’s record-setting team, has committed to Seattle Pacific University where he’ll play for former Mount Vernon High School star Grant Leep.

Meanwhile, Ty Penberthy, a Los Angeles-area high school guard will join the Skagit Valley College team.

Williams averaged 14.7 points, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals for Skagit Valley in a season that saw the Cardinals go 25-4 and rise as high as the top spot in the Northwest Athletic Conference coaches’ poll. They were the No. 2 seed from the North Region to the NWAC Tournament before its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Franklin High School star will join a Falcons program that under Leep went 22-7 last year, including 18-2 in conference play. The Falcons were set to begin play in the NCAA Division II Tournament when it was cancelled.

"His athleticism and ability to score drew us in right away ... We need a guy on the roster who can play point, and play it at a high level," Leep said. "A lot of guards at the junior-college level just look to score, but he's a guy who can come in and make good decisions."

Leep was a three-time all-state selection at Mount Vernon High School before lettering four years at the University of Washington.

He coached at several stops including Eastern Washington University before joining the Falcons, first as an assistant, then as head coach.

Skagit Valley coach Carl Howell said he’s thrilled to send the Falcons a player as talented as Williams, whom he said drew Division I interest.

“SPU’s getting a special player and a special person, “Howell said. “He’ll have a great career there. It’s nice to have him in a place where I can still watch him play.”

Williams joins a group of Cardinals to commit to four-year schools that includes A.J. Chappell (University of Puget Sound), Danny Sharpe (Northwest University), Willie Thomas III (University of Alaska-Fairbanks) and Sedro-Woolley High School graduate Cade Isakson (Point Loma Nazarene).

While the Cardinals say goodbye to several departing players, their recruiting class grew larger with the addition of Penberthy.

Howell said the 6-foot-2 sharpshooter originally intended to walk on at a Division I program but after a shortened senior high school season decided he wanted to go the community college route, where he had a better chance of playing right away.

Penberthy, the son of Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mike Penberthy, averaged 16 points a game in his senior season. Howell said he’ll be a threat to score from the outside.

“He can really score, he’s tough, he’s strong,” Howell said. “We could use another knock-down, 3-point shooter ... In this day and age you’ve got to be good from the 3-point line.”

— Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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