A Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé senior went where few high school players go as he passed the 1,000-point mark on Saturday.
Cooper Kriegmont, one of the team’s co-captains and a leading scorer for the team, entered those rarefied heights on his fourth year with team while playing against Ketchikan in a home game.
“To be honest, as cool an accomplishment as it is, I don’t feel any different,” Kriegmont said in a phone interview. “I’m proud to be a part of the group (of thousand point players). Good players are getting there. I’m just proud to be recognized as one of them.”
A Juneau resident born and raised, Kriegmont credited former and current coaches with giving him the chance to play.
“I want to say thanks to my coaches. Without coach Yadao and coach Mendoza, up through coach Casperson in high school, I wouldn’t be here without them,” Kriegmont said. “Not a lot of coaches let their freshman play and I wouldn’t be here without that.”
Kriegmont also credited the squad he came up with.
“The starting five we have, I’ve been playing basketball with those guys since the fourth grade,” Kriegmont said. “It’s a good group of guys to play basketball with.”
Casperson highlighted the support his team had provided, passing Kriegmont the ball often on Saturday to give him the chance to reach the mark.
“He crossed the 1,000-point threshold,” Casperson said. “That’s a pretty elite group of players that have been able to achieve that.”
Love of the game and hard work helped drive him, Kriegmont said.
“I love basketball. When I was in the gym, I put in a lot of extra work that it takes to get there,” Kriegmont said. “And I love scoring. I wasn’t doing anything I didn’t like.”
While this season is shorter than usual, Kriegmont said, the Crimson Bears have high hopes for it.
“We want to go undefeated in conference. Last year, we didn’t get the region tournament. This year we want to. We want to go regions and we want to win state,” Kriegmont said. “In conference we want to be undefeated and we want to play the best basketball we possibly can.”
Kriegmont said he looks forward to continuing to play sports in college as he looks at attending school in the Lower 48. He said he’s looking forward to warmer weather, though his mother would prefer he not move too far.
“That’s the hope. I want to play either football or basketball,” Kriegmont said. “Right now, I have some offers to play football. Basketball is my first choice. Whichever opportunity presents itself.”
Kriegmont said his academic ambitions were a blend of several ideas.
“I like animals a lot. I want to do something with that. Maybe conservation education,” Kriegmont said. “I’d also like to have a business background to go with that.”
Kriegmont and the Crimson Bears will go toe-to-toe with the Thunder Mountain High School boys on Friday.