Clay Kame hired as new Palisade boys hoops coach
Growing up, Clay Kame attended Taylor Elementary in Palisade. In a way, he’s coming home.
Kame, a standout basketball player at both Central High School and Colorado Mesa University, was announced Wednesday as Palisade High School’s boys basketball coach.
Kame, 26, said the rest of his schooling was in Grand Junction, but he’s heard great things about the atmosphere at Palisade from childhood friends.
That, combined with a strong history of athletic success, drew Kame to the Bulldogs.
“I had a lot of friends, and still do have friends, who went to Palisade High School and they’ve never said a bad thing about it,” Kame said. “Just the track record they have in terms of athletics, great coaches and administrators who all come together to create a great environment.”
Kame was most recently an assistant with the Grand Junction High School girls basketball team under longtime coach Sam Provenza. Kame said the veteran coach prepared him for a leading role.
“I can’t say enough about Coach Pro,” Kame said. “He’s an awesome mentor and coached me to be a really good teacher, not just a coach. The way he interacts with every kid and just strives to reach every kid in the program, the way he does that is great. It’s something I hope to do in just going about my business as a coach.”
The Bulldogs finished 7-16 last season with a 5-7 mark in Class 4A Western Slope League play. Kame replaces Jeremiah Baskin, who resigned after three seasons with the Bulldogs. Palisade last made the playoffs in 2015.
Kame was a four-year starter and point guard at Central, and was nominated to be a McDonald’s All-American during his senior year. Kame went on to play at Colorado Mesa University for Jim Heaps, where he led the Mavericks in steals during his senior season.
Palisade has a large number of multi-sport athletes, with a vast majority of the Bulldogs’ basketball team also playing football. Kame said his background as a multi-sport athlete — he also played football and ran track for the Warriors — makes him relatable to his players.
“It’s not just basketball at Palisade, or football, or whatever sport,” Kame said. “The coaches here have created a great culture for multi-sport athletes and they see the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete. I was a multi-sport athlete when I was in high school.
“I think we have the athletes to compete right away. I got to meet with some of them recently and have gotten to see them play briefly. I’m excited.”