You hear it all the time, “it goes by by in the blink of an eye”. If there is any proof of that, it’s Kiley Capstraw of West Orange High school. It’s hard to believe KILEY played her last high school game on Monday. It’s hard to believe she on to the next chapter of life. In a lot of ways she is just getting started and off to bigger, better and more exciting things.

Kylie Capstraw finished her high school career the same way she started it. With a bang, 20 points and 10 rebounds. That was almost as impressive as her first high school game when she had 11 points and 19 rebounds. I guess Kiley wanted to give us all something to remember her by. Many may remember her helping West Orange win their 1st Essex County championship in soccer. West Orange had never done that before. Many may remember West Orange winning it first Essex country Basketball championship. West Orange had never done these things before Katie Capstraw arrived. Maybe people will remember the night she scored 44 points to join the 1000 points point club. Many they will remember her for being named All state, All County or being nominated for McDonald’s All American team. Those are all pretty good accomplishments. Almost as impressive as Kylie going to one of the best schools in the world, YALE UNIVERSITY. These are all wonderful memories Kiley has left us. But there not what I will remember most.

I see lots of great basketball players year in and year out. To be be very honest that’s nothing new or special to me. What special is when a kid leaves their mark with you. Leaves you with something that you can sink your teeth into. Something that is sticks in you the very fabric of what you are and what you are about…. THEY TOUCH YOUR SOUL AND IMPACT YOU AS A PERSON. You see it’s hard for me to forget the first time I saw Kiley Capstraw play. What amazed me was not her points or rebounds or her stats. it was the fact she played in the post and made electric passes out of the post to her teammates. She was a 7th grader playing out of position and not once did she appear upset or concerned with anything except winning, and supporting her teammates with a smile. THAT’S MY FIRST MEMORY OF KYLIE CAPSTRAW… being a good teammate even as a 7th grader. She also had the same hair as my daughter and looked like the younger sister my daughter never had…. I LIKED THAT TOO!

I remember the 1st time KILEY’s dad TIm brought her to NBS. I have know Tim for over 30 years. We have coached and recruited against each other. I like to think of him as a friend. He knew West Orange didn’t have the competition to challenge his daughter, so he took a chance and he dropped at NBS every weekend morning. Taking that the long drive from West Orange to Spotswood. Kylie Capstraw said exactly two words that first day. But she played with passion and confidence. it was then I knew she’d have a chance to be a great player. But when she played at Saturday Core Skills with Justine Pissott, Madison St Rose and Destiny Adams among others. I knew she’d be great a star. A different type of star, a humble star not in need of attention. THIS IS WHAT I WILL REMEMBER AND NOT FORGET ABOUT KYLIE CAPSTRAW!

You see it, it starts at a early age. They jump from AAU team to AAU team. The overbearing parents who can’t leave well enough alone. They are constantly looking for that attention fix. There word? Well everyone knows it means nothing. They try to play everyone like a fiddle. Everyone plays alone in hopes of landing that so called star. There is where Kiley Capstraw is different. She only has ever wanted one thing. To get better and enjoy playing basketball, especially with her friends. She has done exactly that the past 4 years. That’s why she is one of best players in NJ, one of if not the best player in West Orange history. It’s why she has accomplished more than anyone believed was possible at West Orange. It’s why her teammates, Coaches, teachers, administrators, opponents and yes me… TINY GREEN…LOVES HER! You see, you may miss her basketball talents. Folks trust me don’t worry about that part. Your going to see plenty of that as she rips the Ivy League apart for the next 4 years. What am going to miss has nothing to do with basketball. I’m going to miss that smile and kindness, the real honest GOODNESS.

The reason you play, watch, root or coach sports is to meet people who impact your life. People who make you day just a little better, make your smile a little bigger. Make you realize that there good for your soul and your happiness. The move you heart and your spirit… That is Kiley Capstraw. She has no idea about what I am going to say… I SWEAR ON A STACK OF BIBLES WHEN YOU CAN TO NBS… A LIGHT WHEN ON FOR ME…. my focus got better, I coached better and I wanted to be better. Anytime she was in the gym and I used dumb language or said dumb stuff. It hurt when she was in the gym because I wanted to be for her what she was for everyone else…. A BETTER PERSON….KILEY THAT IS REAL TALK!

Now in a month, I’ll start D1 college pickup games. I certainly will get kids who never were willing to pay the price asking to play. We run the best college pick up games anywhere around. I have a pretty nice selection of choice …LOL. But our pick up games are a family thing in a lots of ways. I hope KILEY CAPSTRAW takes the 90 min trip one way. I hope she wants to see me as much as I want to see her. I hope she enjoys hitting after a long run. I hope she dreams of what her future has in store for her. I hope she brings that smile and goodness…..Not because I want her to get ready for D1 competition. I want her to take the trip because SHE IS FAMILY!!!

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