A brother’s death sent the Bruins’ star goaltender on an unexpected journey
This story is published jointly by non-profit organizations Amplify Utah and The Salt Lake Tribune, in collaboration with Salt Lake Community Collegeto elevate diverse perspectives in local media through student journalism.
When Salt Lake Community College point guard Chase Adams was in seventh grade, a video of him showing off his spectacular ball handling was posted on the BallislifeMidwest basketball YouTube channel.
In the video – which currently has more than 16 million views – Adams breaks his ankles, fakes the ball and spins around the competitors towering over him. Already well known to the Chicago basketball scene at the time, his popularity increased dramatically after the video went viral.
“In Chicago, everyone knew who I was, but after that video, it made things national,” Adams said. “I was only in seventh grade. I had my first [college] offer when I was in eighth grade at Bradley University.
As one of the highest-ranked point guards in the nation entering ninth grade, Adams started high school with optimism, but he said everything changed when his brother – who Adams called his best friend – died. of a grand mal crisis.
“I wasn’t really related to basketball,” Adams said. “I was a bit out of my mind mentally, and it took me a while to bounce back. To be honest with you, I’m still working on it. This is the main reason why I fell a little.
After high school, Adams played for a year at the University of Portland but entered the transfer portal after his coach was fired. Adams originally had no interest in going to junior college, even rejecting SLCC head coach Kyle Taylor’s initial offer to join the Bruins. But after some thought, Adams decided that SLCC was the best fit for him.
“The difference was that Coach Kyle said he was going to have players around me, and we were going to have a team full of hungry players, coming from Division I programs like me, and in the same boat as me,” Adams mentioned. “It was exciting to hear, because I know they would have a chip on their shoulder like me.”
Today, Adams is a business marketer and leader of the top junior college basketball team in the nation, a team that is also undefeated.
“Chase has been phenomenal,” Taylor said. “He’s a leader, he’s a winner and he works incredibly hard.”
Adams’ leadership influences the rest of his teammates, according to Bruins guard Jordan Brinson.
“Chase is the kind of person who’s always going to make sure you’re okay and try to bring out the best in yourself,” he said. “Chase and I shared the room at the start of the year, and both of them have opened up and grown closer. I feel like our relationship off the pitch as friends helps [us] in the field, because we know how to motivate each other and get the best out of everyone.
Another Adams teammate, Doctor Bradley, who starts out as a small forward and shooter, said he considers Adams a big brother.
“[Adams] is always there when I need to talk to him about anything, not just basketball, and I know he’s going to tell the truth,” Bradley said.
The time spent at the SLCC was equally beneficial for Adams.
Her brother’s death is still fresh in her mind, and Adams said it still felt like yesterday. But thanks to the support system found at the SLCC, Adams learned to come to terms with his loss and let it push him to become better.
Adams said the SLCC helped him regain his confidence and love for basketball. Taylor explained how his point guard grew up.
“He got his confidence back shooting the ball and playing,” Taylor said. “We’re really emphasizing coming to JUCO to ‘get healthy’, and for Chase, it’s his confidence and his score.”
Division I schools like Coastal Carolina, Stetson, and Gardner Webb noticed Adams’ elite play and offered him a scholarship to play for their school. Adams being a sophomore, he will move on next season. After everything he’s been through to regain his confidence, Adams feels ready to perform on basketball’s biggest stage once again.
Morgan Workman wrote this story while a journalism student at Salt Lake Community College. It is published within the framework of a new collaboration including associations Amplify Utah and the Salt Lake Tribune.