Friday March 13, 2009
AUGUSTA ,GA--When the regionals get underway in Augusta tomorrow, plenty of eyes will be on the guy in the middle for ASU. He is tough to miss. For Garret Siler getting to where he is, from where he was, is one amazing ride.
He is the face of the Augusta State basketball team.
"He's jokingly the mayor of Augusta" said coach Dip Metress "Everyone knows him everywhere you go, wonderfull kid. The saddest thing when we lose, it's going to be the last game he plays here."
Consider this, Garret Siler's first year of organized ball was his senior season at Richmond Academy where he averaged a whooping five minutes of playing time and just two points a game. At the time, ASU had nothing to lose by taking a chance on the big fella.
"At that stage I don't know if I would have taken the gamble if it's the same stage we are right now with our program being in the top 20 so many years. At that time we were just desperate, we only had three players returning" added Metress
"I mean he saw me and he was like you're going to be something, I don't know what, but you're going to be something, and that was one of his words" said Garret Siler
Siler though, almost didn't make it through his first year.
"Firest session of running and conditioning we had, I came home and called my parents and I was like dad, I don't know if I could do this right here"
He's since dropped 70 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. Siler gives plenty of credit to former Jag Karim Telfair who had the notion pro ball could be in the works for the big man.
"Karim (Telfair) was like, he was the person I respected, and he said if you work hard enough at this, you could be making yourself a good chunk of change." added Siler
Even his first year at ASU, the size didn't matter. He averaged just five points a game and was usually in foul trouble. The second year was a whole different story and when he truely became a force in teh game while enjoying it at the same time.
"When we come out as a team, because I'm still in the locker room, he skips out onto the floor, he's like a big kid. He has fun doing this. Very few big kids have fun playing. It's a wierd transformation and I've never seen anything like it." added Metress
Augusta State and Garret Siler take on Tusculum Saturday at 6:00pm in the first round of the regionals.