Injuries are a part of the game.
Nobody needs to remind the Basha High School basketball team.
First, star wing Devin Kirby suffered two broken tibia and dislocated knees going up for an alley-oop dunk in a holiday tournament almost one year ago. Then this past summer fellow big man Klay Stall tore his ACL playing a summer league game in San Diego.
Two star players.
Two devastating injuries.
Both seem reflective and thankful for having the other to help through the highs and lows on the road to recovery.
“I wasn’t able to walk for six weeks so that was pretty tough,” the 6’9 Utah State-signee Stall told Sports360AZ.com recently. “Not being [out] there for my teammates, it’s pretty hard. It’s difficult but I’ll be alright.”
As Stall, who averaged double-digit points and rebounds as a junior, watches and encourages his teammates from the bench, Kirby is trying to make the most of his Basha career after missing the back half of his junior season. He has signed to play at Montana State next year.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Kirby told Sports360AZ.com following his 11-point effort in a close win over Tucson Sunnyside. “When I’m out there on the court I don’t even think about my injury. Just going back and playing the game I love.”
Although Stall can’t help the Bears on the court he’s coined himself a “player coach” offering Kirby and others advice from the bench. He’s also doubled as pseudo-team manager picking up sweats and distributing water during timeouts. He’s done it all with a smile on his face and an infectious attitude which has rubbed off on his teammates.
“He’s one of the funniest dudes I know,” Kirby said of his twin tower. “He makes sure we’re all in great spirits.”
The hardships have strengthened an already tight relationship both on and off the court.
“I definitely think so,” Bears head coach Mike Grothaus confidently said. “I know they’re really close. They work hard together…they’ve always been there to support one another.”
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Well said, Frederick Douglass.
Two of Arizona’s most talented prep hoopsters can certainly attest.