BEHIND THE LENS: South Houston knocks out Sam Rayburn
By Andy Tolbert
HOUSTON - There are not many things that Houston Christian coach Ron Crandall hasn't experienced in his 15 years leading the men's basketball program.
The veteran coach, who has seen his program reach the mountaintop of winning SPC Championships (2017-2018, 2018-2019) and sent numerous players off to major DI programs, experienced a first on Tuesday night in a win over Awty - the program's first-ever quadruple-double.
And it came from a freshman.
"We realized it at the half and then at the end of the third quarter he was one steal and one rebound away from a triple-double and also the [quadruple-double]," Crandall said of freshman point guard Montana Wheeler's historic night. "I told him he was one away here and one away here, let's get it and get you out of the game. First possession he steals the ball and their next possession they shoot it, and he gets the rebound. Brings is past half court, calls timeout and subs himself out of the game.
"That was kind of cool ... When you have an opportunity to do something cool and it's special and unique and no one's ever done it, we're going to try and get that and celebrate it. His teammates after the game were showering him with water like we had won a championship. It was cool to see their reaction."
In the win, Wheeler finished with 16 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and a school-record 10 steals to complete the program's first-ever quadruple-double.
This marks the first time in Wheeler's young career that the 2025 prospect has ever pieced together a night like this.
"As a point guard you're not really thinking about the stats during the flow of the game," Wheeler said. "You're just trying to get everybody involved and make the right decisions. During halftime my dad told me I was on quadruple-double watch. I wasn't really playing for it, but I knew if I did it, I knew it would be history."
The name Wheeler around the halls of Houston Christian isn't new.
Montana is the younger brother of two-time SPC Champion and current Kentucky Wildcat Sahvir Wheeler, who starred at Houston Christian as well. Their father Teddy serves currently on Crandall's staff as an assistant coach.
So, for Crandall he has watched Montana grow from a four-year-old into a starting freshman point guard for his Mustangs' team right before his eyes.
"He was literally in the gym here when he was four or five years old just watching our practices," Crandall said. "Teddy would bring him and his sisters to practice and he would be sitting there watching and how we do things. Then also watching the players that have come before him and his brother and how he really learned to be an empowering leader."
With Montana and Sahvir being brothers, there is that natural competitiveness between the two.
In his Houston Christian career, Sahvir recorded five triple-doubles but never a quadruple-double. He also owns the all-time career points mark as well in program history.
As a freshman, Montana admits he isn't thinking about chasing his brother's records at this point but does have them on his mind.
"Going into this year we had conversations about possibly me breaking his records," Montana said with a smile. "He's the best player in Houston Christian history, so I don't feed into that, not my freshman year at least."
Being only a freshman, Crandall can see the potential of Wheeler and knows with time he will get even better than he is today.
"He just lives in the gym," he said. "He's just always trying to try out new things. He's just a gym rat. So, when you're wired that way and built like that, you're just different. Not everybody has that thirst and that strive. He's fun to coach."
KLEIN OAK’S HUNTER LUND DOESN’ T SET GOALS AND DIDN’ T EVEN MAKE IT TO THE UIL STATE SWIM MEET LAST YEAR, YET HE RECENTLY SIGNED TO SWIM FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA.
What Lund did was master the mental.
“I went to State my freshman and sophomore year, so last season I thought it was going to be easy,” he said. “It’s a given I’m going to State, right? My body wasn’t having it. I got sick and my body broke down. I had no stamina and didn’t make it. I was really down.”
What he did next is what sports is all about. It’s how you overcome adversity.
“To be an elite swimmer, you have to have the mentality that there is going to be failure,” Lund, who swims for Premier Aquatics Club said. “You can’t let your lows be too low and learn from your failures. It’s a huge mental game.”
Lund went back to work, and a few months later became a national recruit, dropping his times drastically in all of his events.
“It was an event in Magnolia,” he said. “That meet sent me to that next level, and I became nationally ranked because of it.”
He decided on UNC for many reasons.
“The school is amazing, academically,” he explained. “I care deeply about academics beyond the sport. It’s an amazing sports program that cares deeply about their student-athletes. The campus was amazing, and the scholarship was right. It was a great fit.”
Lund is a long-distance swimmer, competing in 500-meter, 1-mile and 1,000-meter races.
“It seems kind of boring, but I love it,” he said. “It takes a lot of work. You are in so much pain, your body is cramping, and you are always out of breath, but you just have to keep going.
“It sounds strange, but I don’t set goals. I think goals can sometimes limit you. I want to be the best version I can, and I might blow right through the goals I could set for myself.”
Lund has a unique and hectic schedule that is tremendously regimented. He has followed it for years.
“I wake up at 5:05 a.m. every day… sometimes I set my alarm for 5:08,” he laughs. “I swim or hit the weights, get ready for school, go to school, have a snack, and swim until 7 p.m. I eat, shower, do homework and go to bed.”
The dude also eats and eats and eats to fuel his body.
“I’m eating all day, especially in the summer,” he said. “I usually have four eggs, a smoothie and peanut butter toast. I’ll eat some Lean Cuisines during the day and then a dinner. It’s a lot.”
The life of a swimmer is not glamourous. While talent and physicality have a lot to do with it, the most important muscle for a swimmer is between the ears.
“People ask me all the time if I want to quit during a race,” he laughs. “All the time, but something just keeps me going.”
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