Kidd carves a path from community college to EWU starting point guard


Bailey Monteith

Junior guard Tyler Kidd organizes the offense in EWU’s 59-56 loss to Sacramento State on Feb. 28. EWU is 9-5 overall with Kidd in the starting lineup. As a starter, Kidd averages 13.9 points, 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

Junior guard Tyler Kidd’s path to the EWU roster is unlike any of his teammates.

Kidd is the only Eagle to not make the jump to Division I basketball straight out of high school. The Seattle native graduated from O’Dea High School in 2014, and played two years at Skagit Valley College where he averaged 12.3 points per game and shot 49.9 percent from the field.

His then-coach at SVC, Brock Veltri, said that he was trying to tell Division I coaches Kidd would excel at a higher level because of his quickness and outside shot moving off of ball screens.

“Tyler in my mind was definitely skilled enough from the moment he got here,” Veltri told The Easterner in a phone interview. “Where Tyler showed great growth was with his leadership abilities and his ability to play through the tough times in the game.”

Kidd got the call from EWU to come join the team, and he sat out last season as a redshirt.

This year, the Eagles struggled to find a consistent starter at point guard. Leading up to a game against Montana on Jan. 10, EWU had a 4-10 record and had started conference play 1-3. Head coach Shantay Legans gave Kidd the nod against the Grizzlies and he hasn’t looked back since, starting him 14 straight games.

“He’s come a long way,” Legans told The Easterner. “He earned his way into the starting lineup by playing really well and maturing. He’s been a shot of adrenaline in the arm and he’s been playing great basketball.”

The Eagles have a 9-5 record since Kidd has entered the starting five. He is averaging 13.9 points per game with 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals, and is shooting 39.2 percent from the field with 40.3 percent from 3-point range.

“I’m just living in the moment right now,” Kidd told The Easterner. “It’s been a long road, but I’m happy I’m here.”

Standing at 5-feet-9-inches would be an impediment for most people stepping onto the court. Kidd said that his size hasn’t stopped him in the past because of his athleticism.

“Since I’ve got here (size affected me) a little bit, but I’ve just got to work on my finishing,” Kidd said. “It’s been a learning curve this year.”

Bailey Monteith
Junior guard Tyler Kidd sizes up a ballhandler against Sacramento State on Feb. 28. Kidd earned a starting role against Montana on Jan. 10 and has held it for 14 straight games.

Kidd proved to be an important accompanying piece to sophomore guard Jacob Davison, who caught a hot hand against Montana State on Jan. 19, the game after Kidd entered the starting lineup.

Alongside Kidd, Davison went on an eight-game span where he averaged 23.8 points, until suffering a high ankle sprain against Northern Colorado on Feb. 16. The injury will likely sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Kidd’s role continues to grow in importance with Davison injured and two games remaining in the regular season.

In EWU’s last two home games against Sacramento State and Portland State, Kidd scored 13 points in each, but wasn’t nearly as efficient. He shot a combined 32 percent from the field with 25 percent from 3-point range. He had eight turnovers to his four assists.

If Kidd is able to right the ship and perform at the peak level he has this season, the Eagles could make a run in the BSC Tournament. If not, it may be difficult for the Eagles to pull off successive victories, and they could see an early exit.