Kylan Shorts sets Copper Hills assist recordFeb 10, 2020 03:18PM ● By Greg James
Senior Kylan Shorts already set the career team assist record. On Jan. 17, he established the single-game record. (Photo courtesy of Dave Reeder.)
By Greg James | [email protected]
A rebound, outlet pass and hard dribble to just below the foul line all led to the pitch-out pass to the corner where Junior Carson Butler nailed the three-pointer. Kylan Shorts had done it: His pass set a school record for assists.
“It makes me feel good that my teammates knocked down all of the shots,” Shorts said. “It is all them. I just get the ball to them. I look for ways to help them out the best and find them in positions that they can hit the shots.”
The Grizzlies came out of halftime and capitalized on several turnovers. They scored 30 points in the third quarter against West on Jan. 17 and propelled Shorts to the record.
His 12 assists broke the record established in 2017 by Callahan Blackham. He had tied the record earlier this season. Shorts is the all-time assists leader for the Grizzlies, averaging more than seven assists per game this season.
“[Shorts] has great vision and is a good all-around player,” Grizzly head coach John Watkins said. “He is not the type of guard that is going to hunt his own shot. He looks to get his teammates going, and when he needs to score, he does.”
“I’m used to him getting me the ball,” Butler said. “He always finds me, and I just hit it. We (the Grizzlies) have had some ups and downs. I feel we are starting to peak right now—perfect timing.”
Copper Hills started the season 8-7 and won its first three region contests. Its preseason schedule included a holiday trip to Orlando, Florida.
“We have played really well,” Watkins said. “Our record does not reflect how well we have played. We have lost a lot of close games. Hopefully, that will come back to benefit us in the future. Being in those situations could help us later on this season. I am excited at the direction we are trending.”
In five losses, the Grizzlies have been outscored by only nine total points. They beat Bingham 59-52, Riverton 59-39 and West 86-48 to begin region play. Watkins likes the way his offense is playing.
“When they can get open looks, we feel good about our chances,” he said. “We focus a lot on looking for the right guy and making the right pass. Our point guard does that well, and it is easy for a shooter when his point guard finds you in those open situations.”
The Grizzlies were scheduled to play at Jordan Jan. 24 and Herriman Tuesday Jan. 28 (both after press deadline).
Watkins took over for Andrew Blanchard following last season. He spent time as an assistant at the school for over 13 years.
“These are big shoes to fill,” he said. “I feel a little pressure, but I have experience with the kids and the program, and we need to keep it going. I am not coming in changing everything we do. Every team is different, so I match our team.”
The Grizzlies were ranked 10th at press deadline in the current rating performance index. The Utah High School Activities Association has adopted the RPI this season to seed its state playoff.
“These are great kids and spend time together off the court,” Watkins said. “They cheer for each other. They are connected. The entire program has always felt like brothers. I see it every day at practice.”