It was a storybook ending in an already impressive career for Carey’s Nate Adamson.
The senior led the Panthers to the 1A-II state championship in Boise against an upstart Rockland team. A season after losing in the opening round game of the state tournament, Adamson and the Panthers went the distance and won the state title for the first time since 2011.
For his efforts, Adamson has been named the Times-News Small School Boys Basketball Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
“It feels good to be recognized as a player and as a team,” said Adamson. “It’s just a reward after a lot of hard work.”
The guard averaged 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals per game this season. Adamson, who will play basketball at Division-III Southern Virginia University next year, transitioned from being Carey’s primary ball handler and playmaker a season ago to playing more as a swingman. In the process, he became more of a scoring threat. He worked on his jump shot in the offseason and became the scoring focus of the team on the court.
“This year, I moved up to the wing spot a little bit more. Took on a little bit more of a scoring role,” Adamson said. “I feel like I needed to improve my shot.”
But the biggest change in Adamson’s game from his junior year to senior year wasn’t something that manifested itself in shooting mechanics or ball-handling. It was his leadership that he focused on the most. As a senior, he felt it was his job to lead his team to the promised land. And he did.
“My last year, senior, (it was my) last chance to win state or anything like that,” Adamson said. “(So I worked on) getting the other guys to rally around me.”
Adamson said he settled on continuing his playing career at SVU because he was familiar with the coaching staff at the liberal arts school. The Carey star attended BYU’s summer basketball camp and met the Knights’ coach there in the process.
“I got to know him pretty well,” said Adamson of SVU coach Tony Caputo. “That was probably the biggest thing that made me want to go there.”
Though his career as a Carey Panther has ended, Adamson still has four years worth of memories to sustain him for a lifetime. And now that his season is over, he’s actually taken a bit of time to reflect on the accomplishments that have come his way. He most-recently played and started in the District IV All-Star Game last Wednesday for the East team. It was a game that featured the best Magic Valley basketball talents from all divisions in the region, from 4A to 1A DI.
“I’ve actually been thinking about it this week. It’s just a great honor,” Adamson said. “You want to prove yourself and prove to everybody that you can play with the big boys.”
Despite all of the personal accolades he has received, Adamson still stays as team-focused as ever. His best memory of playing at Carey isn’t holding a championship trophy or receiving an honor; it’s his memories of winning with his teammates that he holds dearest.
“Having high expectations all year and exceeding and getting them. And playing on such a great team. I didn’t have to do it by myself,” Adamson said. “Being a part of a great team is probably going to be the lasting memory.”