In a sit-down interview with The Star last month, Blue Springs South senior Kevin Puryear traced back over his four-year high school basketball career and pinpointed its defining moments.
A week before the Jaguars were set to play in the Missouri Class 5 state semifinals, Puryear needed only a few moments to identify the most important item on that list.
“I would say coming into my senior season, when I just changed my mentality that I didn’t care about what anyone thought about me — I just wanted to win,” Puryear said. “I hate losing. Hate it. So I was just going to do whatever it took to win.”
The shift in mentality, Puryear says now, drove his success in his senior season. And it drove the Jaguars, too.
Blue Springs South captured the first Missouri Class 5 state championship in program history with a 71-57 win against Park Hill South last month at Mizzou Arena.
Puryear paved the way. He scored 20.1 points and grabbed 7.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.4 percent from the floor.
He is The Star’s All-Metro boys basketball player of the year.
“I saw a lot of double teams this year, and my first three years, having two people on me used to frustrate me a lot, and I would still try to impress everyone and score as much as I could,” said Puryear, who has signed to play for Kim Anderson at Missouri. “I embraced that this year. I took it as a compliment from other teams. I just let the game come to me, and let my teammates take over when they needed to. That’s what they did.”