Sports: Corey Kispert returns to Seattle

Monday, December 11, 2017

Kings alum Corey Kispert #24
plays for Gonzaga
Text and photos by Geoff Vlcek

As the sellout crowd began to make their way inside Alaska Airlines Arena Sunday, the energy and anticipation started filling the remaining space in the building.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Washington Huskies basketball teams were about to face off in the “Battle in Seattle.”

The highly anticipated return of the Zags to the Emerald City also brought to town a former Kings High School alum, Corey Kispert.

His fans were in the stands long before the Bulldogs took the floor for warm-ups. The first person he greeted on the hardwood floor was the UW Chaplain Mike Rohrbach. After a heartfelt exchange of hellos, Corey joined his teammates on the court for pre-game stretches.

Before starting practice shots, he saw an older gentleman in the stands five rows back that had waved to him. Instead of just waving back, Kispert walked up the stairs to shake his hand. Then moments later I noticed a father taking a photo with a cell phone of his son and Corey standing together. It takes a special player to garner that type of fandom.

Corey Kispert is that kind of a player, but he is even more of a special person. Someone who you could be grateful that your child has chosen to be their favorite.



Wandering into the upper stands one could not help but run into former teammates or classmates of his from Kings in Shoreline. They were there just to show Kispert their support. Thankful for the time they got to spend with Corey on and off the court in years past.

When asked how it felt to see so many fans of his in the stands, he said, “So much fun. It’s been a dream of mine to play collegiately in front of all my friends and family. And to do that against UW was something I’ll never forget. I’m really blessed to have a family that always supports me.”

Kispert has been battling back from two ankle injuries that have left him out of the starting lineup lately, but even at approximately 80 percent recovered, he still managed to play 13 minutes in Sunday’s game against the Dawgs of Washington.

After the game he said, “I need to improve mostly on defense. My lateral quickness isn’t where it needs to be I think. Also, defense is more of a mindset thing than anything and being the nastiest, toughest defender on the floor helps a ton and I need to get ahold of that attitude.”



In his four years at Kings High School, he helped lead the basketball team to 4 trips to the 1A State tournament playoffs. During that run they won 2 consecutive state titles and they were a couple of games away from winning a third in a row last year. Corey was a leader in high school, just like many players who move on to higher levels in sports. However, unlike other athletes, he had to face adversity in his career prior to reaching the college ranks. This bodes well for his chances in coming back even stronger from his latest setbacks.

Kispert is always thinking of teammates before trying to steal the spotlight for himself. Case in point, when asked about a moment he will remember from the game, he said, “Zack Norvell’s dunk stands out. I was getting loose on the bike in the tunnel when I saw it and jumped off as fast as I could and went nuts with my teammates.”



While some might say that a freshman making his first return to his home city might garner him a show of support that he probably won’t see the next time he plays here in Seattle, others would say that it is apparent that the number of fans he has continues to grow every day. Will he play at the professional level? Who really knows?

But one thing is very clear. The city of Shoreline has someone to cheer for and his name is Corey Kispert. Number 24 for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.



2 comments:

Anonymous,  December 12, 2017 at 1:03 PM  

Great article and the photos are amazing!

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