HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Hampton senior Cadon Buckles fell in love with the game of basketball from a young age – watching on television.

“It’s always been natural for me,” he explained.

But, keeping up with the Bulldogs basketball team as a kid also played a pivotal role.

“I grew up watching them play, going to the state tournaments and everything,” he said.

It has made it that much more special for Buckles to put on the blue and white uniform over the last three-plus seasons.

“Being in that position to be able to play for them – it’s awesome,” he said.

The six-foot guard hasn’t just played for the Bulldogs, he’s excelled. Buckles earned Class A All-State honors as a junior, helping lead his team to a state tournament berth last spring.

In 2023, Buckles has set equally lofty goals for he and the squad.

“We’re resilient and we’re very physical and we’re going to play as hard as we can the whole game,” he said. “Really excited, I think we can do big things this year.”

Once Buckles gets done giving his all on the basketball court, he hits the books just as hard. There is always an assignment to complete for his college-level courses he’s enrolled in at Northeast State Community College.

“It was hard to adjust to it at first,” he admitted, “but you’ve just got to be disciplined and get your work done.”

The senior is on his way to earning an associates degree in May, as well as a high school diploma. The experience has taught him more than just statistics, but also about himself.

“It definitely got me used to having to work hard for something and to study – to be prepared for every class and stay on top of it,” he said. “I think I’ve learned discipline through this more than anything.”

It’s a discipline that will continue to shape both his grades and his game.

“It’s the same kind of mindset – just working as hard as you can to get everything done and everything turned in – and to be the best you can.”