Clever basketball

Clever's Taylor Genzler, Blaze Akins and the BlueJays are the No. 3 seed in the 86th Annual Clever Tournament next week. Clever will meet Marshfield at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in the first round.

Headliner sports editor Pat Dailey engaged in a Q’s and A’s session with Clever basketball players Taylor Genzler and Blaze Akins:

Q: What is your birth date and where were you born?

Genzler: May 1, 2002, in Springfield. I went to school in Monett for a couple years and then came back here my sophomore year. My Dad was a teacher and coach in Monett, so I’d go to school with him while we still lived in Clever. When he got a job at Ozark, I started to come to school here. I like it here.

Akins: June 28, 2001, in Springfield. We moved to Clever when I was 3 years old and I have been going to school here since pre-school. I love it here, it’s a great community where everyone is nice to everybody and everybody knows everybody.

Q: What do you drive and what is your dream ride?

Genzler: I drive a 2005 Honda CR-V. My dream car would be a Chevy Cruze, or something with good gas mileage.

Akins: I drive a Dodge 1500 Pickup Truck. I actually just wrecked my car about a month ago. I totaled it. My dream car is a Dodge Viper. 

Q: What are your favorite TV shows and movies?

Genzler: I watch “The Office” all the time. ‘Dwight’ is easily my favorite on the show. I’ve seen all the episodes three times. It goes away (on Netflix) in January, so I have to watch it now as much as I can. My favorite movie is “Hoosiers.” I’ve seen it thousands of times. I could probably give you play-by-play on what happens with their game-winning shots. 

Akins: Any of the “Rocky” movies were my favorite movies growing up and still are. For TV shows, I like “The Office.” I like ‘Creed,’ he’s a goofy guy.

Q: Who has been a high school player from the past or present you looked up to?

Genzler: When I was at Monett, I looked up to Alex Turner. He was an all-state football player and an all-district basketball player. He was a senior when I was a freshman. I was a freshman when Monett won State in football. I didn’t have the opportunity to play football here (missing the cut by one year). I wish I could have played. Here, I looked up to Devan Hampton. 

Akins: When I was younger, I looked up to the Clever team (in 2008) that went to the Final Four with Josh Pogue, Jeremy Dresslaer, Mike Reeves and all them. Recently, I looked up to Devan Hampton. He was like an older brother and taught me a lot of things I try to embody in my game now.

Q: What is your favorite food?

Genzler: I like eating a lot. My favorite food is pizza rolls. Blaze and I will get the 75-100 (package) and eat them all by ourselves.

Akins: Me and ‘Tay’ eat pizza rolls all the time. If I get a choice of what I like to eat, it’s any kind of pasta. My Mom’s baked spaghetti tops anything I’ve ever eaten.

Q: What are your favorite college and professional teams?

Genzler: My favorite college teams are Mizzou in football and basketball and my favorite pro team is the Utah Jazz. My favorite player is Rudy Gobert Bourgarel, the big guy for the Jazz. I’ve always liked the Jazz, from back in the day when John Stockton and Karl Malone would play Michael Jordan.

Q: What is your top sports highlight thus far?

Genzler: When I was in the third grade, I made a buzzer-beater. It was a runner from the 3-point line to win the Evan Pullen championship in Republic. That’s probably the coolest thing I did when I was little.

Akins: In baseball, I threw two no-hitters in a row and was one out from a third my sophomore year. A kid from Crane hit a rope to right-center field. But it was still pretty cool to get two no-hitters.

Q: What do you think your life will look like 15-20 years from now?

Genzler: Hopefully, I’ll have a family by then and be living in the area. I’ll probably be coaching somewhere. 

Akins: I’m hoping to have a family and become a sports medicine physician or a physical therapist/athletic trainer. I’m thinking I’ll have two or three kids. Maybe ‘Tay’ can coach my kids and I’ll be making sure everyone is healthy.

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