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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Next level players: Evergreen’s Arthur Ban is headed next to San Diego State

Cameroon native is a rising football star and three-sport standout

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 5, 2023, 8:26am
5 Photos
Arthur Ban of Evergreen High School goes through drills during a summer workout.
Arthur Ban of Evergreen High School goes through drills during a summer workout. (Meg Wochnick/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Arthur Ban doesn’t have many memories from Cameroon, the Central African country where he was born 17 years ago, but traveling 7,800 miles is part of the Evergreen High incoming senior’s life journey.

When Ban was a toddler, he and his mother left Cameroon for the Pacific Northwest. Extended family still resides in Cameroon.

“I wish I could say I have more memories from there, but honestly, not much because I was so young and I haven’t been back since we moved,” said Ban, Evergreen’s reigning all-league tight end. “I’m interested in going back.”

His travels of thousands of miles now includes more travel to play college football. Ban verbally committed to San Diego State in June, joining teammate and friend, Fox Crader (offensive tackle, Oregon), as the Division I football commits on the Plainsmen’s 2023 football roster.

Six Southwest Washington football standouts verbally committed to Division I schools prior to July 1. The Columbian will profile each of the seniors throughout August leading up to the 2023 high school football season-opening week.

AUG. 5 — Evergreen’s Arthur Ban (San Diego State)

AUG. 12 — Kelso’s Payton Stewart (Oregon State)

AUG. 19 — Camas’ Carson Osmus (WSU)

AUG. 26 — La Center’s Ryan Kawalek and Washougal’s Holden Bea (Idaho)

SEPT. 1 — Evergreen’s Fox Crader (Oregon)

The two are part of six players from Southwest Washington who already are verbally committed to play at NCAA Division I schools ahead of the 2023 high school football season.

In fact, the two Plainsmen commits are more than teammates.

“That’s my best friend and he’ll tell you the same thing,” Ban said. “Even before all this recruiting stuff blew up, and both of us were just kind of nobodies at the time.”

Nobody no more.

Growing up in Beaverton, Ore., prior to high school, Ban and his family relocated to Vancouver in time for the teenager to grow into a three-sport standout in football, basketball and track and field at Evergreen.

Football, in fact, initially was a way to get more physical for basketball, Ban said. It quickly turned into his top sport and a clutch player posed for a big senior season.

He’s coming off a 2022 season with more than 400 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as an all-league tight end after making the switch from receiver because of his 6-foot-5 frame.

As he continues to grow into the position, Ban said he’s already a different player from 2022.

“I feel like I’ve just gotten bigger, faster, stronger,” he said. “I feel like I’ve refined my blocking a lot more just because my attitude toward it has changed, and my route running is a lot better now because with the added weight and strength, I’m not getting pushed off routes.”

Perhaps Ban’s athleticism was best put on display during a June workout at Evergreen that included a phone call he’d been hoping for: an official football scholarship offer to play for San Diego State, what Ban called his dream school.

Ban performed backflip cartwheels to celebrate the moment.

“I almost hurt myself,” he said, “but it was out of excitement.”

That night, Ban made his verbal commitment to the Aztecs and put his college recruitment to rest.

It’s a program that opened a new stadium last year and could make the jump to a new conference soon, but Ban’s fire and hunger is still going strong.

“My coaches put me in a position where I can never really be completely satisfied,” Ban said. “There’s always someone better. I feel like even with committing to San Diego State, it’s set in, but I still know there’s a lot more work to get done.”