Mar 12, 2015 7:29 PM by Ross Field
The Hamilton High School boys basketball team is in the midst of a special season. A big reason why is the big man in the middle, who also stands tall in the classroom. Action News Now's Ross Field has more with Scholar Athlete Andrew Whitsett.
Eleven miles west of Chico is Hamilton City. It's population, 1903. Sure, it's a small town, but right now it's home to a big story.
"It's like a dream," said Damian Diaz, a basketball player for the local high school.
The boys basketball team is on a magical ride. A tight-knit community glued to their every move.
"It's been really fun and exciting," says Carolina Murillo, a freshman.
"There's not much else to do in this town and when your team is really good at basketball, you've got to show support," added Alonso Valdovinos, a ninth-grader.
"They're cheering for us, they're cheering for our team and it's amazing to see it," said Cade Johnson, a basketball player.
The Braves own a 24-5 record, a league title, a section title, and a state playoff win, their first since 2007.
"Some days I'm like is this real? Are we still playing? It's just crazy," said Andrew Whitsett.
The squad can hit you in a variety of ways. But make no mistake about it, this run would not be possible without the anchor in the middle.
Ross Field asks, "How's the view up there?"
Whitsett laughs and responds, "The view is great!"
Meet 6'10'' Andrew Whitsett.
"He's very valuable, he's probably the tallest person in the northstate I think," said Diaz.
"When we're walking into the gym, I want to walk with Andrew because I feel cool, it's awesome," said Johnson.
Ross Field asks, "Where does your height come from?"
Whitsett says, "I don't know, I'm the only one in my family who's really sprouted up this high."
Raised in Hamilton City, Whitsett has always been a giant amongst his peers.
He says basketball was his first love.
"I've loved the sport since I was a little kid and I've been playing it with my friends, these same group of guys from way back in the day," said Whitsett.
Over the years he's developed into a force in the paint, but he also possesses a feathery touch few his size can relate. A fierce competitor but it doesn't stop there, Whitsett is a 3.8 student who is musically inclined as well.
"I play a little guitar, a little piano, trumpet. I just try to do as much as I can, I want to be a well-rounded individual," said Whitsett.
For now, the instruments are put away, and basketball is on his mind.
The focus is on prolonging this magical run and doing all he can to make sure it doesn't end Saturday night against Stuart Hall from San Francisco in the second round of the state playoffs.
"This is the best group of guys you could ask for, these guys work their hardest and play their hardest all the time," said Whitsett.
Hamilton City, a small town with a big reason to cheer.
Andrew Whitsett is our Subway Scholar Athlete of the Week.