Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
GLENWOOD — Calm, cool, and collected … and a body language that hardly ever changes in demeanor, despite the situation.
It’s only fitting that his last name — that being of New Boston senior Tyler Caldwell — begins with a C.
But while his demeanor certainly is one of the poised variety, it belies the competitiveness and fire the 6-foot-7 guard truly holds inside.
On Jan. 18, that competitive spirit was alive and well as Caldwell not only posted a 41-point outing, but did so while knocking down a school-record 10 three-point field goals in a 106-57 victory over East.
For Caldwell, the performance was just a further testimony to what his supporters told him would occur if he kept working as hard as he did.
“It felt good to break the record,” Caldwell said. “It was held by my junior high coach, and him and I were pretty close. So I, of course, sent him a message and let him know that I surpassed him. As for the 1,000-point mark, it feels really good. I’ve put in a lot of time and effort into my school and basketball team, and it all paid off in the end like all my supporters have told me it would.”
As a promising youngster during his sophomore season, Caldwell was already a proficient scorer, averaging over 12 points per game.
Team success, however, didn’t come along with it.
In Caldwell’s first two seasons on the varsity roster, New Boston won a combined four games.
Enter Adam Cox.
A fiery, entertaining, and talkative head coach that acted as the yin to Caldwell’s yang. And as they say, opposites attract.
In Cox’s first season, New Boston improved drastically by improving its overall record from 3-18 to an astonishing 16-8 mark, as the Tigers swept archrival East, accomplished the same exact feat against defending SOC I champion Clay, and added in seven more conference wins before earning the school’s first berth to the Convo since 2000.
“Adam is a great coach and a great person who cares about his team,” Caldwell said. “He has completely changed New Boston basketball, and I couldn’t ask for a better coach over my last couple of years. As for my teammates, I love them, and couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. Last year, Kade Conley and Kyle McQuithy were on the team, and those guys are like my brothers. I grew up with them, and I couldn’t ask for better friends. On this year’s team, we had some new guys that I didn’t know really well, but I’ve learned to love those guys. They’re great friends and teammates that constantly show love to me.”
This season, the rapid, overnight improvement that last year’s campaign took on looks like it will only get better … or at the very least, sustain itself.
Despite the return of only Caldwell from last year’s starting lineup, the senior has helped make for a smooth transition as New Boston sits with a 11-4 overall record and an 8-2 SOC I mark through its first 15 games.
The Tigers have dropped four of their five games by six points or less and three by just two points apiece.
“It feels great,” Caldwell said. “The community has always had our back even when we had multiple losing seasons in a row. I couldn’t go out being any happier as a senior. New Boston basketball is back for years to come.”
A third-team all-district selection after averaging 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 2017-18, Caldwell could equal — or better — that production as a senior; especially with 41-point outings.
However, if there’s one thing that does top his production on the basketball court, it’s his performance in the classroom. Caldwell, a member of the National Honor Society at New Boston, holds an A-average and was named as the Wendy’s High School Heisman male representative from his school.
“I’m the Salutatorian as of right now,” Caldwell said. “My mom always told me that my grades are my first priority above basketball. So I’ve put in a lot of work in the classroom and have always tried my best to be a great role model for the little kids in order to show them that grades are just as important as playing ball.”
And with the ball in his hands?
Well, let’s just say Caldwell’s come pretty far in that area, too.
“I’ve put in a lot of time and hard work,” Caldwell said. “During the summer and at every practice, I always try my hardest and give my best effort so that I can improve my game, even if it is just a little bit. People say that hard work pays off, and I think that I proved that statement to be true [on Jan. 18].”
That, however, is just part of the ice-in-his-veins mentality that Tyler Caldwell has — and it’s one that could very well lift New Boston to heights it hasn’t seen in a nearly half a century.
“It’s been great so far,” Caldwell said. “We’ve lost some games that we should’ve won, but that happens. We’ve just got to keep our heads on straight, focus on the future, try to make it back to the Convo, and obtain a different outcome.”