Dixie has a big man, and if you don’t know his name by now then you’ve been lost wandering in the desert, because everyone in town knows Guymon. One athlete from a rival region nine school (who shall remain nameless since the playoffs are approaching and the two might find themselves facing off in the paint) once said of the Flyer, “Richard Guymon is a straight up beast! He can flat out play!”
Story after story has been written about the returning senior and his defending State Championship Dixie Flyers. They are poised to make a strong run at a repeat due to the philosophy of the coaching staff and the respect each player as for their coaches as mentors, in and out of the game. “Coach Cuff is the best,” says Guymon. “He has taught us the value of preparation, study and hard work. We know that it’s the little things that win rings. We had a lot of guys on the team that did all the little things last year. There is definitely a lot of pressure on us to play well again this year and for the team to do well overall but it’s all been fun so far.”
With a title to defend Richard has embraced the pressure and trusts in his teammates and coaches in their chase for the repeat.
Routines are crucial for Richard as a way to stay focused and grounded as to what is most important in his life. These routines and patters help set the tone for the man he is seeking to become, the player he is, and the friend he wants to be.
It’s important to live with no regrets, to always do your best and put yourself in the best situations,” he states. “I try to go to the [LDS] Temple once a week, which is nice and helps me stay focused. I have a really tough schedule on A-days and a much easier one on B-days, but every day I make sure I put in my work at practice, then make sure I get all my homework done so I can get some rest and recuperate to do it all over again the next day.”
“There is definitely a lot of pressure on us to play well again this year and for the team to do well overall but it’s all been fun so far.”
Being a center, depending on the offence a particular team runs, can either be feast or famine when it comes to looks at the basket and touches with the ball. Richard always makes it a point to look for and discover those things that will help him improve his game. “The coaches put a very big emphasis on value points, not just scoring. It’s the rebounding, defensive tips, steals; it’s all the little things. So every game I make a goal to get better at something specific,” says the big man.
Call it a mental exercise in excellence and improvement. Richard has learned the concept of playing a game within the game. This is something that the great Michael Jordan would often do while the game was going on. Michael would challenge himself to improve in a particular area and it didn’t necessarily matter if it was measured on the stat sheet. This is exactly what Richard does to improve and impact his team. “Every game I set a number,” he says. “Rebounds, blocks, steals, causing turnovers, whatever it is, I set a number and work to hit that number during the game.”
“It’s nerve-racking to watch him play,” says mom, Rebecca Guymon. “We always worry about injury and it can be stressfull. There is a lot of pressure on him to do well. He is just a good kid.”
Following the lead of last year’s upperclassmen, Guymon hopes to have the same impact on this year’s team as was made on him the previous year. “We had so many guys last year who really didn’t care about the credit, and they just did whatever they could to help their team win and that is a lot of what I want to do this year. I really don’t care how many points I score this year I just want to win basketball games.”
“I love all the guys on the team. I love the coaches. I love the whole process,” says Richard. “I am going to miss playing with all the guys on the team everyday. We’ve basically been playing together since 7th grade and some even earlier than that. I am going to miss not being able to play with them when it’s all over.”
Richard knows he will take away from his time as a Flyer his relationship with his coaches and the examples they have set for him to always be a good person on and off the court. “Their influence has been incredible. I hope that I can give off the impression that I am a good kid and that I have high values and good sportsmanship. I hope people see that I try to build up the kids on my team and even on the other team as well and that I always try to live my religion the best I can.”
With graduation fast approaching for the Center he knows that some major life decisions will have to soon be made. One such decision however has long since been established, as he would like to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day-Saints which he firmly believes will direct his future decisions. “I know that whatever I decide to get a degree in or do professionally will work itself out when I get back from my mission.”
As for his final season wearing the a Dixie uniform Richard has a pretty clear idea of what he would have to see in order for him to count his senior year as a success. It’s actually what drives and motivates him. “I hope we live up to last year’s success,” says Richard. “It would be nice for us to win region and state again, that is obviously the ultimate goal this season, but more importantly, more than anything, I really just don’t want to have any regrets.” • HSSI