The Fairview boys basketball team reached the Class 5A Final Four last winter but never got to finish the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But when this upcoming campaign begins, assuming it does at all, the Knights appear to be in a prime position to make up for the lost opportunity.
On Nov. 17, MaxPreps.com released its “Best high school basketball team from all 50 states” list and Fairview was chosen as the top squad in the Centennial State. For the Knights, who will be led by alumnus and incoming head coach Andre Goldberg, the distinction was a badge of honor and something they intend to protect at all costs in Season B.
“The boys sent me a text message in our group text,” Goldberg said. “They saw it first and they were excited about it. It’s really a testament to the foundation that Frank Lee and Patrick Burke built. It shines a light on a great program, it’s exciting and a great starting point but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Goldberg added that the Knights were somewhat surprised to see themselves selected as Colorado’s top preseason pick, but simultaneously felt validated when they saw the MaxPreps list. The team, after all, has posted a sterling 79-45 record over the past five seasons and returns seven of its top nine scorers from last season.
With national recognition in hand, the Knights quickly went from hoping their six or so returning seniors get a final season to entering the 2021 campaign with the new goal of finishing the way they start – as No. 1 in Colorado.
Senior Greyson Carter, who led the Knights in scoring with 17.5 points per game in 2019-20, knows well what comes along with being considered the best. A talent on the hardwood, he was also blessed with a mid-90s fastball and is committed to pitch for Vanderbilt University next if he’s not drafted early by an MLB team.
Carter gets every opponent’s best effort and expects the Knights will receive the same treatment night in and night out this winter.
“We were all pretty pumped when we saw that,” Carter said. “There’s a lot of really good teams in Colorado, so we were really proud when that came out. It’s great to see but it also gives you a sense of motivation because now everyone expects you to be the best.”
The Knights, clearly, are motivated. That motivation, however, doesn’t primarily stem from expectation, recognition or hope.
“It’s definitely unfinished business,” Carter said. “We did lose some good guys like Jalen Page and Mark O’Neill, so it’s going to be different. I definitely think we had a chance to win it, which is very disappointing. But we have a lot of starters returning and I think we’re in good hands.”
After finishing with a 23-3 record last season expecting to be better than before, the Knights don’t know what to expect from a season that may never happen and certainly will be strange if it does. But when and if they take the court in 2021, the Knights are ready to face all challenges and challengers alike.
“I think that people are going to play some of their best basketball against us because of how we finish last season in the Final Four,” Goldberg said. “I don’t know if it puts a bigger target on our backs but we’re just going to go into this season ready to do whatever we can to be the best team we can be.”