By: PETER ELLISON
In addition to playing on the Carmel High School varsity basketball team last year, Kai Lee is the first sophomore to be the full-time quarterback on varsity since Devin Pearson in 2010, despite the fact that he has played fewer than 20 official football games.
Last year, in his first year playing football, Lee led the junior varsity team as quarterback, and during this season’s summer training he earned the role on varsity. Head coach Golden Anderson says that Lee has untapped potential and he’s learning and getting better with every play.
“He’s already light-years ahead of where he was as a freshman,” Anderson says.
Pearson made some large shoes for Lee to fill after being named The Herald’s “Male Athlete of the Year” in 2011 and 2012, as well being one of the most decorated athletes in the history of Monterey County. However, Lee has already made an impressive start to the season with 228 yards gained and three touchdown passes in his first game on Aug. 25 against Willow Glen.
“[Kai’s] been doing a fabulous job,” says junior Benjamin Lund, one of the cornerbacks. “He’s doing a good job hanging in there.”
Lee’s overall performance in the first four games this year stands out with a 61 percent pass completion rate for 921 yards gained, as well as 10 touchdown passes thrown, as of the Sept. 22 game against Soledad.
As quarterback, Lee is responsible for deciding which play to run as well as helping organize the team on field. Despite generally being a soft-spoken individual, Lee has stepped up into the role of coordinating the team, Anderson says.
Lee doesn’t only show promise on the football field, but also looks forward to the next season on the basketball court as a shooting guard with the varsity team. Last year he was pulled up from JV to varsity halfway through the season.
“I remember it was the night of the Marina game, and I went up for a dunk in the JV game and that night I got called up to varsity,” Lee says. “That might’ve hyped it up.”
When looking towards the future, Kai Lee says, “I’d hope to play college basketball somewhere and just go from there.”