Columbia junior ‘golden in the paint’



Caleb Shay is Knutson’s Student-Athlete of the Week

By Eli McKown
Sports writer

While the NBA ventures away from the prototypical big man like Shaquille O’ Neal and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Columbia Central has thrived building around the dominant junior big man Caleb Shay. Shay prides himself in being a great defensive player underneath the basket. In fact, against Napoleon, the junior Golden Eagle almost had a double-double with blocks and rebounds. Caleb spoke on how he believes he is a force to be reckoned with underneath the basket.

“Once I am in the paint, I’m golden. I am a rim protector.”

As the team makes their way through districts, Caleb and the team are focused on earning their first district title since 1971. Golden Eagles Head Coach Jason Rychener expressed how phenomenal it would be to clinch a district title this season.

“We haven’t won a district title since 71’; you’re talking almost a half a century since that’s been done. If you do anything that happens only twice in 50 years, it’s special.”

To get to the proper level of intensity prior to big games like these, Caleb loves to jam out with his teammates and get hyped.

“We listen to a lot of music in the locker room, specifically rap. Although, in the game it’s my blocks, getting a few good blocks really gets the team going,” says Shay.

While many high school athletes are either too emotional or not emotional enough, Caleb finds that perfect mix. For him, basketball is strictly business.

“I just get my business done. Then I put in some extra work with my teammates after practice.”

As a junior, Shay has lots of time to grow, and his coaches, along with himself, have lofty goals.

“Next year a lot will be expected of him. I think he can be the best returning big man in the league. Getting stronger will be key for him.” says Coach Rychener

The junior Golden Eagle has goals off the court as well.

The Student-Athlete of the Week is courtesy:

“I want to be more of a leader. I cannot be quiet and lead the younger players next year. I’m playing underneath Cole and Carson and they’re two great players and now I have to step up into that role.”

Caleb says he tries to emulate Kyrie Irving when playing basketball, watching how Irving handles and shoots. Now he believes he plays more like a Shaquille O’Neal.

Caleb has grown up in a sports family, and he believes his sister has had the biggest influence on him showing him the path to success in basketball.

“My sister went to college for basketball as well as playing in a state championship, she really just taught me everything I know.” said Caleb

The young Golden Eagle thrives as a student-athlete as well. As Shay approaches the end of his junior year, he has not decided where he wants to attend college yet. He is dedicated to playing basketball collegiately, and eventually plans on entering the medical field in anesthesiology.

With the dedication Shay puts into the court, there is no doubt he will thrive in the future. As the post-season heats up, Columbia Central will have to rally around Caleb in hopes of propelling them into the playoffs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *