Slowly he laces up his purple shoes as the booming voice of Dr. Casey Motl screams his name through the speakers of Bill Vining Arena. He takes a step out of the locker room and climbs the steps to the court. The crowd goes crazy as the tip of his shoe touches the wood. Game time.
Far from the confines of a crowded arena, Colt Fason flashes back to a time when he was just a boy on a court with a ball bigger than his head.
“My love for basketball started when I was about four or five,” Fason said. “We live maybe two or three miles from a community center where I would go shoot every day.”
Fason said that the center, which gave him the inspiration to play, was a place where his family could go and play as well. From the earliest days, Fason would spend days and nights on the same court, shooting baskets and dreaming big.
“I played everywhere I could. My brothers would go, my sister would – it was just like a family thing; we went to the gym and played basketball from when I was super young.”
And while Fason’s basketball dreams were endless, his childhood was all about the work ethic behind success.
“As a kid, we started from the bottom,” Fason said. “We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents worked so hard at what they do and so as the years went on, dad and mom started making a little more money and we moved to a little better neighborhood.”
Fason joined his school’s basketball team in seventh grade, but he would once again be tested with adversity.
“In seventh grade, I was a third string point guard because I was so short,” Fason said. “In ninth, I hit a growth spurt and that’s when I went from about 5-7 to 6-1 and that’s when I started starting, my body started growing into itself.”
But along with growing, Fason would put in hours of work and dedication to getting better.
“I remember working day in and day out,” Fason said. “I’d go in before school and go play ball, go to school and then as soon as practice was over, I was back at the community center shooting and doing drills.”
Fason believed that if he worked hard, success would come. He pushed hard to get a scholarship.
“I really wanted to get a scholarship to play ball, so I wouldn’t have to put all that pressure on my parents to pay for college,” Fason said.
His senior year, Fason began to get looks and remembers one specific night, on chance, that he met former head coach Mark Price of Ouachita. Price, who was there to watch Micah Delph (A Fason teammate since sixth grade), was surprised to find Colt Fason.
“I found out they were there to watch Micah, but they saw me and gave me a card and got my phone number and they started contacting me about a month later,” he said. “I didn’t even know anything about Ouachita.”
After a few visits and a scrimmage with the team, Fason was on board and signed with the Tigers. That summer, Ouachita coach Mark Price signed elsewhere and Ouachita hired Dennis Nutt as head coach of the men’s basketball team.
“I knew I was going to have to work hard to show him how I play and I knew that I would have to start from the bottom again,” Fason said. “It was frustrating at first, but I knew everyone on the team was going to have to prove to him that they could play.”
Following a rough first year of basketball, Fason had the opportunity to start for the Tigers in 2013, his sophomore season. That year, the Tigers won the Great American Conference Championship, where Fason was named the MVP of the tournament.
“I could take credit for some of that, but most of that was from my teammates who pitched in and made plays that gave me the opportunity to shine.”
This season, Fason, a senior on the team, says that his goals haven’t changed from day one on campus.
“My personal goals aren’t something I like to share,” Fason said. “The primary goal is for us to play as a team and be successful.”
Even when Fason eclipsed 1,000 points in his career, he still credited his teammates, and while honored by the milestone, still points to team ball as the key.
“It’s a great goal and milestone that I’ve accomplished, but that’s not the most important thing to me,” he said.
That is most important to Fason is God; he said that tops the list of his priorities.
“What is important is God, then family and basketball,” Fason said. “That’s the way it has always been for me. I’ve always lived to make sure that I’m right with God and then making sure my family is safe, then comes Colt.”
Fason said that after graduation, a short career in the international basketball leagues would be an option if he continues to work hard. If basketball isn’t an option, Fason will apply to physical therapy school – the career he wishes to enter either way.
Short term, Fason is focused on another championship.
And as Fason continues to lead a team that is currently tied for first in the GAC, he will continue to preach teamwork as the key to success.
“Some nights you’re gonna have great nights and some you aren’t. This year we are playing team ball and I think that is a big reason we are tied for first in the GAC.”
So for a kid who grew up competing on the court of a local community center, Fason will continue to lace up his sneakers to the tune of fans screaming his name – a long time away from a five year old with a basketball bigger than his head.