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Marshfield High grad Nick DaPrato carrying Clark basketball

Nicholas DePrato lines up a shot against Vassar in a recent game.

Clark University

Nicholas DePrato lines up a shot against Vassar in a recent game.

DePrato is player of week

He suited up for the junior varsity as a freshman, missed his sophomore season to injury and last year, as a junior, started one game for the men’s basketball team at Clark University.

But Nicholas DaPrato, a former captain at Marshfield High School, never stopped challenging himself.

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“There was always a reason to keep going and not looking back,’’ said the 6-foot senior guard, who has emerged as a go-to player on a team loaded with freshmen and sophomores.

On Monday, he was tabbed the NEWMAC’s Player of the Week following a 27-point performance against Anna Maria, in which he added a career-high seven assists, four rebounds, and four steals in a 94-86 victory.

Named to the Roger Williams/Courtyard By Marriott All-Tournament team after Clark won that championship, DaPrato helped the Cougars stage an improbable comeback against Fitchburg State with a 40-point performance.

Down 13 points with under two minutes to play, Clark rallied to win, 88-85, in overtime.

“We just rode Nick’s shoulders in that game, but what’s he’s doing this season isn’t a surprise to me. I kind of saw it coming because he has worked so hard and he fits right into our up-tempo game,’’ said Clark head coach Paul Phillips.

Clark, which lost 10 players from last year’s squad, was off to a 5-2 start prior to last Thursday’s game against Becker College.

DaPrato recalled rallying from a 22-point deficit against Duxbury when he played for head coach Bob Fisher at Marshfield High.

“But at least we had time to come back in that one,’’ recalled DaPrato, the youngest of three siblings whose brother Matt and sister Giovanna were varsity athletes at Marshfield High and whose father, Roger, was on the football team at Scituate High.

DaPrato was recommended to Phillips by Danny Hanlon, an assistant coach at Plymouth South High and Phillips’ former assistant at Anna Maria College.

“Danny told me that Nick was my kind of player and that was good enough for me,’’ said Phillips. “He plays with a lot of emotion and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s coaching some day because if he suggests a play, I’ll listen because of his basketball IQ.’’

DaPrato, who remains close to Fisher, said his high school and college coaches share similar traits.

“For them it’s about accountability and work ethic,’’ said DaPrato, “and that’s a big reason I wanted to play for Clark.’’

Success did not come quickly or easily for the former Atlantic Coast League All-Star, who was leading the NEWMAC with 19.4 points per game and 16 steals and the Cougars with a 44.1 field goal percentage.

“It was frustrating going from being a starter on a winning high school team to being a JV player my freshman year of college,’’ said DaPrato,’’ but looking back it made me a better player. I needed time to slow the game down in my head and to develop into an all-around player instead of just a guy who could shoot.’’

But after playing just one minute in the 2011-12 season, DaPrato underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.

“I could have played through the pain, but I would not be the player I am now without the surgery,’’ said DaPrato, who bounced back to play 19 minutes a game last year on a veteran team.

“Playing against them in practice made me a lot better,’’ said DaPrato, who is enjoying his personal and the team’s resurgence, even if Phillips gives him the needle now and then at practice.

“We feed off each other pretty well because we have similar personalities and I probably play better with that little chip on my shoulder.’’

Canton High grads soar for UMass basketball

A pair of Canton High graduates, Olivia Murphy, a sophomore forward on the University of Massachusetts Boston women’s basketball team, and senior forward Erika Bornemann of UMass Dartmouth, made some recent history with their respective teams.

Bornemann became the seventh player in program history to score 1,000 career points. She reached the milestone while scoring 23 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and blocking four shots in an 81-75 win Nov. 26 against visiting Salve Regina. Through seven games, she was leading the Corsairs in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (10.0) average.

Murphy, the D3Hoops.com Northeast Rookie of the Year last season, set a program record with 15 field goals and tied another with 33 points last Tuesday when the host Beacons won their fourth game in five starts, 79-41, over Mount Ida. She also added 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double (at least 10 points and 10 rebounds). She was averaging 20.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.

Here and there

Stonehill College’s Robert Talley was selected the Division 2/3 Coach of the Year by the New England Football Writers after guiding the 8-3 Skyhawks to their first winning season since 1996 and a share of the Northeast-10 Conference regular season championship He will be recognized Thursday (12/12) at the NEFW Captains and Awards Banquet at the Montvale Plaza, in Stoneham. . . . .

Regis College freshman women’s basketball forward Amanda Hawkesworth (Abington High) had strung together four consecutive double-doubles while averaging 13 points and a team-best 10.8 rebounds per game. . . . . Sudbury’s John Swords , a 7-foot junior center at Bowdoin, had a dominant 25-point, 16-rebound performance in a 67-56 win over Southern Maine Tuesday night. The Polar Bears (5-0) are off to the best start in program history.

Massachusetts Maritime academy senior placekicker Brandon Rodrigues (Brockton High) was named to the 2013 Capital One Division 3 Football Academic All-America team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He is one of 48 student-athletes nationally to receive the honor.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.

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