As the morning dew turns to frost and the cold breeze begins to feel like miniature knives on an unprotected face, we are reminded that winter is upon us. Winter is often represented by dark and somber tones but not for Atascadero Senior Kyler Warren.
The moment this high school senior entered the room there was something obvious that jumped out.
He stands a towering 6 foot 8 inches tall with shoulders as wide as an F-150 and hands wide enough to palm a basketball with ease, but that's still not the first thing one would notice when meeting Warren. He’s played on the varsity basketball team since he was a sophomore. His first year on varsity he played the role of the sixth man. Last year as junior Warren shared the spotlight with two seniors, Elijah Cooks and Marco Rojas, and still earned
Warren is surrounded by a vibrant aura of pure enthusiasm for the game of basketball that permeates the air around him with the strength of a bad cologne in a small Uber.
Warren knows that after two years of paying his dues, it’s finally his turn to be the big man on campus.
“I have been waiting for it to be my team almost,” Warren said. “I have been working so hard for it and I think this is the year that I can actually lead the team to a lot of Ws.”
Warren has spent this offseason working harder than ever to help adapt his game to fit the modern style by which it is now played.
Warren is tall by PAC 8 basketball standards but is not tall enough to be considered a center at major college programs and with the rise of analytics bringing the end of the days of the dominating big man working to block possession after possession, extra ball skill are crucial. The best big men in the NBA can now step out to the three-point line, they can pass, and they can handle the ball.
“Playing for a really good club team and seeing these huge guys who are seven feet plus, I realized I’m not a true big,” Warren said. “I’m 6-foot-8, which is pretty big, but I need to know how to dribble the ball, get down court, run the point. I’ve really been working on my first step, my pull up jumper, my passing ability, and my court vision.”
Warren is now in the best physical shape he has ever been in and is chomping at the bit to get out onto the court and show what he can do.
“This year I feel so much faster,” he said. “I’m in perfect shape and so much lighter. I feel like I'm jumping out of the gym.”
In the Greyhounds’ first scrimmage against Templeton, Warren was already showing off his new footwork and vision, scoring around 20 points (no official scoring in the scrimmage).
“I'm working for a league MVP,” Warren said. “That's what I want to get and I want to average at least 20 and 10.”
The senior recently received an offer to play at CSU Monterey and has also been talking with Boise State and Pepperdine, but like many athletes he wants to be recognized by the college he grew up next to.
“I’m really trying to get Cal Poly to notice me,” Warren said.
Adding a county Player of the Year plaque to his trophy case would have to get the attention of many college scouts and that's exactly what Warren hopes to do this season.
The Greyhounds will play at home when they host their annual Christmas tournament the weekend of Dec. 27.