Basketball Player Remaining a Lion

Faced with choice of schools, sophomore chooses to stay at LHS


Hannah Gaines

Far from home — Dribbling down the court, Clarence King drives toward the basket during the state championship game against Blue Valley Northwest last month at Koch Arena in Wichita.

By Gary Schmidt, Sports Editor

On March 27, sophomore Clarence King was selected as the Sunflower League sophomore of the year. This honor, along with a third-team all Sunflower League selection, came after King helped carry the Lions to the state title game.
The road to these prestigious honors did not come easy for King, who transferred midway through last year to Lawrence High.

As a freshman, King attended African-Centered College Preparatory Academy out of Kansas City, Mo., known to many as “AC Prep.”

When describing his experiences, King was quick to express discontentment with his old school.
“It was the complete opposite of what it is here in Kansas,” King said. “It [was] a bad influence on me. I wanted to leave because I wanted to better myself and everyone else. I wanted to get a better education and learn better standards and learn better things.”

King found his opportunity to get out through the one thing that was able to keep him grounded in the polluted environment all along: basketball.

Through trying times, King always found closure in the comforting sound of a basketball pounding against the hardwood.
“[Basketball] helped me stay positive to get in the gym and work on my game,” he said. “I just think about these things and keep going harder.”

[Living together] Will help a lot with chemistry because we will just be together all the time and do everything together.”

— Brett Chapple, sophomore (pictured left with Clarence King)

King’s club basketball team, Run GMC, out of the greater Kansas City area, is one of the nation’s elite travel teams. Two players on that same team, sophomore Trey Quartlebaum and sophomore Noah Butler, who at the time attended Lawrence High but now attends Free State, were instrumental in helping bring King to Lawrence High.

According to King, his dad was the first one who voiced the idea of King transferring to different a school, but it was the initial offer of the Butler family that allowed him to make the move.

The move for King was beneficial for himself and many around him. In the spring of last year, his club basketball team was crowned national champions of their age group.

This fall, King started on both sides of the ball for the LHS varsity football team, notably standing out with his superb athleticism. This past winter, King was a standout for the school’s basketball team.
Life was going great for King, but before he knew it, he was faced with another tough choice regarding which school to attend.

Butler, whom King had been living with for nearly a year, suffered an ankle injury early into the basketball season, and saw his role as a starter diminish to a more reserved bench role as he rehabbed the injury.

Butler ultimately set his mind upon a cross-town transfer to Free State at the end of the season.

This put King in as binding of a decision as he faced just a year earlier: stay with the Butlers and start over at Free State or remain at his new home of Lawrence High and figure out the rest.
King was perplexed.
“I didn’t know what to do, because I was the one in the bad situation if I wanted to stay here or go over there,” King said.
With his heart and mind set on staying at Lawrence High, King was unsure how he would go about it. That is, until fellow sophomore and basketball teammate, sophomore Brett Chapple, stepped onto the scene, offering King a place in his home.
King was quick to take up the offer.

“I live with Brett now,” King said. “It’s basically the same thing, nothing different. They take care of me. I appreciate them for doing that, and I hope it goes well.”

According to Chapple, living with King has not changed much, except giving him a partner for shooting baskets.
“We do a lot of stuff together like go and workouts and shoot baskets a lot,” Chapple said.

With King staying at Lawrence High, the duo are confident that their bond off the court will contribute to a stronger product on the court.

“[Living together] will help a lot with chemistry because we will just be together all the time and do everything together,” Chapple said. “That will bring in our other teammates.”