For Upper Cape Tech senior Des Nascimento, his whole world has revolved around basketball.
He’s played the game since he was 6 years old, playing on a variety of local youth and travel leagues. Whether it was on his Wareham YMCA youth team or Catholic Youth Organization leagues or in the Burgo Basketball Association, Nascimento rarely took time off from the sport. Even when he played Pop Warner football, everything still centered around hoops.
All that time he was known for his size, getting pegged in the center position—although the Rams senior always saw himself as a shooter.
“As the years went on, I worked on my mid-range and deep-range shots, making myself versatile on the court. The more shots I made in games allowed me to be a threat to other opponents on the wing,” Nascimento said.
Now in his fourth year with the UCT varsity basketball team, the long wing has a knack for not only hitting long-range shots with regularity, but does so in the brightest of moments. Earlier this season his last-second 3-pointer against Blue Hills ended a losing streak to the Warriors that spanned back to 2005. A few games later he recorded the team’s final five points and pulled down a crucial rebound as UCT outlasted an upset-minded Tri-County team.
But, none of that should be a surprise if you’ve watched the Rams’ basketball team the last few years. Nascimento entered the year with more than 40 varsity games started in his career and is a two-year captain under head coach Billy Macuch. And, add in the fact that he comes from an ultra-athletic family, the success Nascimento has had on the hardwood seemed only like a matter of time. Sometimes that family lineage, specifically following up cousin Isaac Nascimento—a dominant football player for Wareham High School—has been a double-edged sword.
“Growing up as a kid, my older cousin was a huge athlete (Isaac Nascimento). Well respected and loved by everyone, Isaac carried a legacy throughout Wareham. Being a younger cousin with the same last name, everyone always tried putting me into the same category as my cousin and I always had to remember I’m not my cousin,” he said. “I’m a different person and I needed to play for me. It wasn’t a simple task, but making my own powerful impact was a mission that took a lot of dedication and perseverance for me as a kid.”
And he’s carved out a nice lane for himself. Nascimento was awarded the Youth Spirit Award on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, given to him by the Town of Wareham.
What do you love about basketball? What drew you to the sport, and what made you stick with it?
Basketball has always been an escape from reality to me. Lacing up my Nikes and taking a step onto a court with a ball in my hand brings me to a calm state of mind. Nothing else matters at that point. A bad day at school or an argument with my parents or brother gets forgotten about when I’m playing basketball. The game was designed to have fun. I take advantage of that aspect any chance I get.
What is your favorite pregame warmup music?
Before games I like to listen to “EAT FREESTYLE” by Young M.A., “Devil On Me” by Dave East and “Under The Sun” by Dreamville, J. Cole, Lute & DaBaby to get pumped up before games.
If you could be one fictional character, who would you be?
Honestly, I would be Spider-Man. Spider-Man stands for justice and always wants to make sure everyone is safe. Spider-Man’s morals should be everyone’s intentions, in my personal opinion.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore of role models?
My biggest role models have to be J. Cole, Malcolm X, my dad. Being in love with music, J. Cole has always been an inspiration to me. His messages behind every single one of his songs have meaning and life lessons that anyone can learn no matter who you are. The reason why Malcolm X is a huge role model to me is that my grandparents lived during the civil rights movement and it was a very tough time for African Americans (especially my family). Malcolm X stood for justice for his people and strove for change. I would love to change my society in my lifetime. Ever since I was a child, my dad has always been a huge inspiration to me. As a young kid, I always was working on cars and spending quality time with my dad. Every basketball game I’ve ever played in, he was there. He’s my biggest supporter at all my games. My dad wants the best for me in life and, without his help, I would never be in the position I’m in right now.
Do you have any plans after graduation?
After school I will be entering the workforce as an apprentice electrician. As soon as I am able to, I will be taking night classes to eventually be a licensed electrician.
What is your favorite school subject?
My favorite school subject is history class. I love studying American history just to know how our country was built into the strong nation we are today.
What is your greatest high school moment, either athletically or academically?
My greatest high school moment was when my varsity basketball head coach Bill Macuch came to my dad and I, and asked if I would like to be a part of his varsity basketball team as a freshman.
Which three people would you invite on to a dinner party?
If I could invite three people to a dinner party it would be Notorious B.I.G., Nas and J. Cole. All three of these men are just so advanced with their knowledge and I would just love to hear what advice they would have for me as a young man entering adulthood.
Which professional athlete do you most relate to?
Even though he plays football, I try and relate my leadership to Tom Brady. He shows great leadership on the New England Patriots. As an athlete myself, I always put my team before me and time after time, Brady has always been an example of putting his team before himself.
You’re stranded on a deserted island and have only a backpack of your most prized possessions. What’s in your backpack?
My four items would be a knife, deodorant, jump rope and a Rubix cube. The knife would be for protection. The deodorant would be so I don’t smell like an Italian sub in the heat. The jump rope would keep me busy, and I could work on my foot work in the meantime and the Rubix cube would keep me busy for days because I would most likely never solve it, but the thrill of almost completing it would be fun.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to take a moment and thank my mom and dad for all the support as well as my younger brother, Jayden, for the love he’s given me. Thanks to my girlfriend, Nicaeyla Pires, for being one of my biggest supporters through everything; my coaches Bill Macuch, Coach Marcus and Coach Muncey; our athletic trainer Ross and all my teachers who support me. My aunts, uncles, and cousins have been huge supporters of me, and I love them all dearly. And, thank you, to my grandparents on both my mom’s and dad’s sides.