[dropcap]When[/dropcap] he was just a toddler, Kristian Doolittle leapt as high as he could to pitch a full-size basketball toward a full-size goal, only for it to plop back down. Undeterred, he tries again and again, doing his best to keep up with his older brother, Kameron.
Doolittle is now known as one of the top-ranked high school basketball players in Oklahoma. It is apparent that the now-17-year-old, six-foot, seven-inch Edmond Memorial senior feels great about his accomplishments, yet he is very humble in speaking about it.
There are a lot of good players in Oklahoma, he says, so to be top ranked is pretty cool and feels like an accomplishment.
Basketball isn’t the only extracurricular activity in which Doolittle has exceptional abilities. He began his athletic career playing football, because his brother Kameron played. In fact, he says he always wanted to try every sport his brother played. He tried baseball as well, but he remembers getting bored in the outfield, so he would watch other games going on behind him.
In those earlier years, it was already apparent Doolittle was very athletic, as he attended many camps, played on several teams and won multiple awards while doing so. Because of his height and talent, he would often be placed on older teams.
When he talks about his involvement in those camps and teams, Doolittle speaks highly of coaches who have taught him much from such an early age. He recognizes the coaches from his early years as having great influence on his path. He recalls playing on one little league basketball team in particular; nearly every single boy from that team has gone on to experience great success and recognition among high school basketball players in the state.
His involvement in most other activities and hobbies eventually took a backseat to basketball. Doolittle admits he’s not too sad about having put piano aside. He did, however, play football through his freshman year. He played quarterback and was named MVP that year. Unfortunately, his football career came to a halt when he broke his ankle playing summer basketball the summer before his sophomore year.[pullquote]I always tell Kristian that you’ve got to play your best because you never know who’s watching.[/pullquote]
Although he excelled in football, “I didn’t like getting hit that much. That was the only downside,” he says.
But by that point, the University of Oklahoma had discovered Doolittle’s basketball talent. It just feels like a second home, really.
He has committed to play for OU in 2016. When he was a freshman, Doolittle was already playing on the varsity basketball team at Memorial. Recruiters from OU came to watch another teammate, Jordan Woodard, and discovered Doolittle, as well.
“I always tell Kristian that you’ve got to play your best because you never know who’s watching,” says Denise, Doolittle’s mother.
Since being recruited by OU, he has become familiar with the basketball program there. He’s met the coaching staff and players, gone to games and has gotten comfortable with the idea of Norman being his future home.
That’s why this past year, Doolittle, an Oklahoma State University fan, had no qualms about fully committing to OU.
“They’ve always been talking to me since my freshman year,” he says. “It just feels like a second home, really. ”
Despite that, he finds humor in the fact that his brother, Kameron Doolittle, grew up rooting for OU but now plays wide receiver for OSU.
He ultimately wants to make it to the NBA. Although he doesn’t have a lot of time to watch NBA games, he is inspired by LeBron James’s work ethic and Kevin Durant because “he’s just good,” he says.
Of course, there is still his senior year to focus on, and he has goals for his team and for himself. Edmond Memorial was ranked number three this past year in 6A basketball. This season, Doolittle hopes the team will win the state championship.
As for himself, he knows he must stay healthy so that he can continue to improve. With that, it’s obvious not much has changed since he was a toddler. He may not be trying to keep up with his brother these days, but Doolittle still strives to be better each and every time he plays.