Native athletes in the news: NY Yankees draft Anthony Seigler (Navajo)
Special to First Nation's Focus
The following sports briefs were provided to First Nation’s Focus by NDNSPORTS and are republished on a monthly basis with permission.
Anthony Seigler (Navajo)
The New York Yankees selected Anthony Seigler (Navajo), an ambidextrous pitcher and hitter, as the No. 23 pick in the first round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft on June 4. He was drafted to play catcher and is currently playing in the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League West team composed of Major League rookies. Anthony has recently been named as the American Baseball Coaches Association position player of the year as well. Of note, Seigler ties Jacoby Ellsbury (Navajo) as the highest drafted Native American MLB players. Ellsbury was drafted by Boston in the 23 spot in 2005.
Kamaka Hepa (Inupiaq)
Kamaka Hepa (Inupiaq), a 6-foot-9 forward, was a member of the Team USA U18 men’s national team that recently won the 2018 FIBA U18 Championship in an 113-74 victory over Canada. He finished with three assists and a block in just over four minutes of playing time. He is the first Inupiaq native to play for a USA basketball team. Hepa will now take his talents to the University of Texas this fall to play for coach Shaka Smart in the Big 12 Conference.
Derek Willis (Northern Arapaho)
Derek Willis (Northern Arapaho), a 6-foot-9 forward, will get another shot at the NBA after he was recently announced as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans Summer League team. He is among 15 hopefuls looking to play themselves into a roster spot for the upcoming season. Willis recently suited up for the Detroit Pistons’ G-League team, the Grand Rapids Drive, where he averaged 11.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in 43 appearances.
‘I wanted to fight for my country’ — Navy veteran Sterling Phillips (Cherokee) recounts WWII experience
Like many young Americans, Sterling Phillips — a member of the Cherokee Nation who was born Dec. 18, 1926, in Oklahoma but grew up in El Paso — was motivated to enlist in the military following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.