BLACKSVILLE — Confidence is key for any athlete if he or she wants to succeed. But finding confidence, especially early in a career, can be one of the most difficult aspects to overcome for a high school athlete.
For Clay-Battelle boys’ basketball player Levi Carrico, that has been the story of his first full season on the varsity team.
An offensive star growing up through rec leagues and middle school, Carrico noticed the step-up in competition in high school, and trying to regain that offensive form has been a challenge for the Cee-Bees sophomore.
Coach Josh Kisner “always tells me to shoot the ball when I get it, but I pass up on too many open shots,” he said. “I’ve been pulled out (of the game) for passing too much, but I’m starting to realize when to shoot and when to work the ball around.”
Carrico said the issue doesn’t arise in practice, and he’s persistent in getting the ball to the rim, but come game time, he struggles with not trying to find an open man first.
Gunner Brummage, one of two seniors for the Cee-Bees, believes Carrico can be a very good player if he can find his niche. They have played together for years, so Brummage knows what Carrico is capable of.
“Levi has always been a good friend and even greater teammate on the basketball court,” he said. “He is going to have a heck of a career.”
Brummage’s guidance has helped Carrico this season. They play similar positions as a wing who can also play the post if needed.
Carrico wants to model his game after Brummage’s physicality.
“He’s always tough in practice and pushes me to be a better player by doing so,” Carrico said. “If he’s going hard like usual, I know I have to go hard to stop him. He’s very physical and so am I — he’s not afraid to shoot, and I know I need to be better in that aspect.”
Basketball has been Carrico’s first love since he started playing in second grade, recalling how he would “whoop up on” his father, Hugh, and brother, Ethan, despite the trash talk coming from the losing end.
Basketball has also helped Carrico stay motivated to work out and eat healthy, as well as stay in close contact with his friends and teammates.
In short, “It means everything to me,” he said.
While this season has been a struggle for C-B — sitting at 2-5 — there are growing pains that the team is starting to work out. Brummage and Noah Lemley are the seniors and there are no juniors. Most of the minutes are taken by freshmen and sophomores.
“We’re adjusting to being so young and not used to playing with each other,” Carrico said. “We don’t always get the win we want, but some nights, we just click. It’s been a struggle with only having two seniors and the rest freshmen and sophomores, but we’re getting better and closer as a team, and hopefully continue to grow as a team.”
Carrico and the Cee-Bees will host Valley-Wetzel at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18.