Chanute Blue Comets boys basketball head coach Devon Crabtree has been on basketball coaching staffs for almost a decade since his playing career ended.
He’s spent years answering questions about defensive assignments, game-winning shots and team chemistry. But he’s (probably) never had a reporter ask him about his dream golf partner or his go-to Thanksgiving dish. With basketball season on the horizon, Chanute Tribune sports editor Jared McMasters caught up with the Blue Comets coach to help Tribune readers meet a different side of Crabtree.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Jared McMasters: Let’s say you and a rival head coach are stuck in an elevator for six hours. What are you guys talking about?
Devon Crabtree: We’re definitely talking a lot of basketball, but probably more about other teams in the league than our own. I like to compete. I don’t want to be buddies with everybody. It’s different because the college level is like that, but the high school level is a lot more friendly. I’m still getting a little used to that, but I want to have as much of a competitive edge as I can.
JM: Aside from family or an easy answer like that, what did you miss most about Chanute when you moved away to attend and play basketball at Kansas Wesleyan?
DC: If we’re not counting family and friends, just doing the things I like to do around here. I enjoy golfing as much as I can and fishing as much as I can. Just those types of things.
JM: Are you a big golf guy?
DC: Yeah, I play a ton of golf. My wife would say I play too much golf. And she’s still better than me.
JM: Who’s in your dream golf pairing or foursome?
DC: That’s a tough one because there’s so many. I’d probably have to say one would be Harry Higgs because he’s a Kansas City guy. He’s really made a name for himself over the last year, and I listen to his podcast. The “golf guy” can have a reputation of being a little uptight, but he’s a little more loose with it, which I like. Tony Finau is one of my favorite players to watch, so it’d be great to see his swing in real life.
JM: Let’s say you’re stranded on an island. What three movies are you bringing with you?
DC: I think “Cast Away” when I think desert island. Tom Hanks would be a great guy to have out there. Speaking of Hanks, I just watched “Finch” the other day, that new movie with him on Apple TV. He’s got a robot with him in that, and it’d be cool to have a robot to help us out. Can I do a show?
DC: Then I’d probably have to say “Yellowstone” for my third. My wife and I are really into that show and love a lot of the characters.
JM: If we’re doing high school superlatives, like class clown, what would you give yourself?
DC: I definitely wasn’t a class clown and would not fall into that category at all. I’m pretty lowkey and quiet. I really don’t know. I just kind of keep to myself and focus on my goals.
JM: With the holiday coming up, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving meal besides turkey?
DC: Definitely chicken and noodles. That’s one thing my family always does and makes homemade. It’s always something we look forward to because they take so long to make. And probably some of my mom’s macaroni corn casserole.
JM: LeBron James or Michael Jordan?
DC: I would say I’m more of a Jordan guy, but I obviously respect and appreciate everything LeBron’s done. LeBron’s more my age because I didn’t get to watch Jordan play a lot, but I’ve watched a lot of old games and tapes. It’s hard to argue rings when you’re talking about the greatest, but both those guys are awesome.
JM: If you weren’t involved in coaching or teaching, what would you be doing right now?
DC: I really have no idea. If I could go back in time, I’d probably try to do something with golf or grass maintenance. I’m really interested in that stuff and how courses are kept up. Something outdoors would be ideal.
JM: I’m sure you’ve been on this side of plenty of interviews. But if you were the one asking questions, what’s the one thing you’d really want to ask another coach or a reporter?
DC: I would love to interview any of the other coaches around here and pick their brains about what they do. I’d probably ask lots of questions about Xs and Os, how they built their culture and what they’ve done to be successful.