KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Bryant Herron, a senior boys basketball and football player at Sullivan North High School.
“We’re just trying to get as many games in so the kids can play,” Sullivan North head boys basketball coach Travis Cain said.
This is a strange season at Sullivan North.
“The boys are playing hard working hard the season’s very different this year with COVID you look around nobody sits downstairs you’ve got the chairs staggered and everything masks protocols it’s a little different,” Cain said.
Getting through this year is taking patience and flexibility, something Bryant Herron certainly has.
“I like being out here with my teammates I really didn’t think we’d be out here it’s just been a crazy year but basketball is a fun game to play,” Herron said.
Herron is key to the Raiders’ success on the hardwood.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good chance, the chemistry we have on this team is outstanding we push each other during practice everyday and just try to make each other better,” Herron said.
“Bryant plays real hard he leads us he’s been a two-year starter played all four years he’s one of our better defensive players and his offensive game has improved he has a good midrange jumper and he’s been a whole lot more consistent on shooting the three ball,” Cain said.
He was also key on the gridiron as an electric wide receiver.
“It was pretty fun we didn’t have the season that we wanted but it was fun being out there with my teammates having fun just being out there with everybody,” Herron said.
Herron’s patience and flexibility came in clutch in the football season, when he had to fill in at quarterback as the starter was quarantined.
“It was crazy, my first time ever playing quarterback just weird not really used to doing that, not that easy cause they could disguise it in different ways so just had to be mentally smart,” Herron said.
Patience was crucial a few weeks later, when the injury bug came along.
“I was going to block and a dude came in and chop blocked my knee and I couldn’t walk put pressure on it and then I woke up the next morning and couldn’t walk on it,” Herron said.
A sprained ACL ended his football season early, and hurt his chances of starting the basketball season on time.
“We have a lot of kids play multiple sports and I always tell them if they’re good enough to play then play, football injuries that happens but basketball probably has more knee injuries than anybody so that’s just part of the game,” Cain said.
“It worried me a lot just staying up every night all night worrying about it and I just got over it and said I’ll be alright I’ll be good,” Herron said.
That mindset helped him as he rehabbed his knee, limiting his running as the swelling gradually went down.
“Missing practice just being here though I know what we were doing so I was making sure I was conditioning and getting my knee healthy to where I could be out here,” Herron said.
“He was working hard being around the team trying to be a good teammate being seen that helps, a lot of kids when they get hurt don’t want to show up at all but he showed up he was here every day and that means a lot to his teammates,” Cain said.
Herron only missed one game, determined to get back out there.
“I really didn’t think I’d be in basketball right now it was kinda bad but I just prayed to God that it healed and I’d recoup and do what I do best,” Herron said.
Now he’s making his impact in Sullivan North’s final season, before North, South and Central combine to form West Ridge High School next year.
“I think we’re doing alright, coach pushes us every day running conditioning everything it’s really important we tell ourselves that everyday just to be better and try and go all out this year,” Herron said.
“It’s a unique feeling obviously we wanna go out on a high note we wanna do what we can to put our team in the best spot to win and I keep telling them this is it for some might not ever get to play again the seniors might not and the underclassmen might not play after this year so we try to leave it all out there and do the best we can,” Cain said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.