There might be no bigger – literally and figuratively – William Chrisman High School boys basketball fan than former three-sport Bears star Daniel Carson.
Carson, a state champ thrower in track and field and one of the most highly recruited defensive linemen in the history of Eastern Jackson County, has been following his former Bears basketball teammates from Austin, Texas, where is a freshman for the University of Texas football team.
Throughout the season he has been in communication with coach Jake Kates and the Bears players. And he will be listening at 6 p.m. Saturday when the game between the 20-8 Bears and 25-3 Lee’s Summit North Broncos is broadcast on KCWJ 1030 AM from Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
These are his thoughts on the Bears, who are a win away going to the Class 5 final four for the first time in 50 years:
“Coach Kates is an amazing coach because he did a great job of establishing culture when he came in my senior year. Coach Kates went out of his way many times for me and my family.
“There were times I didn’t even have Christmas gifts and he would come to my house with just a few gifts for my brother and me and for that I can never repay him, with nothing but the love I have for him.
“Being coached by Coach Kates makes it really easy to love the guy, which makes it easy to compete and go the extra mile he wants us to. He expects greatness from everyone, not only the starting players or the good ones, he finds good in everyone who steps on his court. He is an amazing coach. I’m glad I got to experience him and (assistant coach Eric) Daniels. They are both really great men, husband and fathers and I hope that one day I can be even half the man they are and were to me.
“For the team sake, I talked to all the guys whenever I had a chance even before the season started and told them to buy in and believe Kates, and it’s proof they listened to me and stepped up with an amazing win against a gritty and good Park Hill South team.
“They have done something that I could never do, with all the hype that people seem to think I have, I never had that year with all three sports being successful, because in basketball we couldn’t get over 10 wins, now these boys worked so hard they are over 20. I believe in them win, lose or draw, and that goes for every sport team at Chrisman.
“We have great athletes, it’s just now our time to shine is now. I played with the whole squad ... and I can honestly say these dudes can really play and have something special.
“I tell them to make sure they don’t get caught up with people who aren’t in the locker room because that’s how you have problems and conflicts. Only the team and the people running it matter. These boys make me proud to wear my Chrisman gear, people at Texas ask, ‘Dub C? What’s that?’ I say that’s my high school. I went there and we are this and going to do this. I’ll tell everyone that I love the whole basketball team and players. They are family!
“Oh, yeah, and Hook ‘Em !”
– Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-350-6333. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC