GUYTON — Many athletes enjoy the luxury of playing two sports, whether to satisfy their love for both, chasing state titles or earning a college scholarship.
For Chase Warren, his desire to play basketball started as a way to go into baseball season as fit as possible. Now the senior for the South Effingham Mustangs is learning the art of the sport and what it takes to compete in Class AAAAA.
“I was more (into) baseball (growing up),” Warren said. “I’ve never really watched basketball. It was just something I wanted to do.
“I wanted to get in shape for baseball.”
The last time Warren competed on the hardwood was during his sophomore year in a recreatioin league. He is a baseball player at heart but realized there were some benefits to playing basketball.
The transition wasn’t easy in the beginning and, although he wasn’t sure if he’d make it through his first practice, he’s all in now.
“I really didn’t think I was going to survive,” Warren said with a smile. “I was second guessing it. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to run this much. (Head Coach Jesse Osborne) told me there was going to be a lot of running and I had to be ready for it.
“ It’s been different especially on the hard court. You get shin splits running up and down.”
Warren averages 6.4 points per game and had a game-high 14 against Hilton Head Island in December. He considers himself to be a leader in every aspect and wants to leave behind the best legacy possible, whether it be as a leading scorer or floor general. Whatever the game calls for, he wants to be there to help and leave the program better than he found it.
“I’m a leader in pretty much everything I do,” Warren said. “ I go to church. I was taught to lead by example.”
Midway through the season, he’s now used to the lengthy conditioning required to keep pace. And he’s letting the game come to him, feeding off whatever works that night.
“There are some games when my 3-pointers are on and some games where my layups are going down,” Warren said. “I feel like down in the paint is where I belong but, if my shot is on, I might shoot once in a while.”
As he works to earn the respect of his peers, Warren refuses to settle for less.
“One night I had to get on to them because they were playing around and stuff,” Warren said. “I guess they don’t take me as a serious person but, when it’s time get serious, I’m serious. I’m to the point where I want to do what is right.”
Although they’d like to have more wins under their belt — the Mustangs are 1-15 — Warren is committed to leaving the program better than he found it.
“It would be something else,” said Warren.