After nearly a quarter-century of kicking off the high school football season with dinner and a guest speaker, Lawton Public Schools and Lawton First Baptist put on the first-ever Dr. Charles Green Memorial Basketball Banquet on Monday as a prelude to the basketball season. And after some words of wisdom and encouragement from a former University of Oklahoma basketball player, the local teams seem ready to begin the season.
The banquet — named after the team physician who served all three of the city’s football teams for more than 40 years — has long been a tradition in Lawton, an opportunity for all three football teams to learn about Dr. Green’s legacy, eat a good meal and hear a guest speaker give a talk about things they’ve learned about sports, faith and life.
But for 24 years, it was strictly a football-centric tradition. That was until this fall, when Eisenhower girls basketball coach Daniel Wall got with Dr. Dan Horton, who has long helped put on the banquet, as well as First Baptist Associate Pastor of Families Aaron Myers about putting on a similar event for the local boys and girls basketball teams.
When it came to finding a guest speaker who met the requisites of being a good example of character meeting basketball acumen, Wall immediately recalled a former assistant of his. Shannon Carter was on Wall’s staff from 2016-18, a part of two state quarterfinalist teams. She and her family had lived in Lawton for close to a decade before recently moving back to Norman where she was originally from.
Carter also happens to come from a family with deep ties to Oklahoma athletics. The daughter of former Sooner defensive great Dewey Selmon, the niece of Lee Roy and Lucious Selmon and married to former Sooner offensive lineman Vince Carter, Shannon’s brother Zac also happens to be Senior Associate AD of Administration and Development at Oklahoma. But Shannon created her own legacy as a player on the 2002 OU women’s basketball team that made it all the way to the national championship game before falling to UConn.
But as much as her athletic background may impress, she and her family have made big footprints away from the fields and courts. Through the SHINE Project and Foundation, they have done mission trips in West Africa.
But rather than brag about her athletic achievements, Carter only sheepishly acknowledged them. In fact, before she even spoke about her experiences from basketball, Carter told the group of teenagers that no matter how insignificant or imperfect they may feel at times, they are acknowledged and loved in incomparable ways.
“The Bible tells us that God speaks, and stars are born,” Carter said. “And that God who created everything we see, that God sees you. And not only does he see you, but he loves you immeasurably. There isn’t one thing you could do the rest of your life that would change the love he has for you.”
She also spoke about some of the important lessons she learned while at Oklahoma from people like head coach Sherri Coale and All-American teammate Stacey Dales. Two things she stressed to the players at the banquet was the importance of staying focused on one’s goals and building good daily habits.
“Coach Coale always used to say, ‘If you want to be great, just be really good at the things that happen a lot. Do the common things uncommonly well,’” Carter said. “(Stacey) has broken more records than any point guard at Oklahoma, but in practice, she would continually practice the most basic things.”
The night concluded with Carter wishing the teams good luck on the season, but not just meaning in the win-loss column.
“I hope it’s not what you do,” Carter said. “I hope it’s how you do it.”