The most difficult thing that Chris Mullins has had to overcome in life also came at one of the most critical times of his basketball career ... and he did persevere.
The Mansfield Timberview basketball player and Rice University commitment said he received some devastating news last season just as the postseason was getting underway for the Wolves.
“My grandfather had passed during the playoffs run,” Mullins said. “Being in a emotional state and traveling back and forth was the most difficult thing for me when my team needed me most.”
But Mullins overcame.
The Timberview shooting guard helped the Wolves hammer their way to a state championship victory, averaging 27.5 points in the state tournament, including a monster performance in the state championship game against Fort Bend Marshall in which he went for 36 points.
Mullins was the MVP of the state championship contest.
The Timberview senior is regarded as one of the best players in the state, and accordingly has had a bit of a target on his back throughout the season — something coach Duane Gregory said Mullins has handled well.
Gregory said that his goals for Mullins this season are to simply continue to hone is craft and be the leader he needs to be to help get the Wolves back to the state tournament.
“I want Chris to be as versatile as he can be,” Gregory said. “Whether it’s defending, scoring, rebounding, etc., I want him to bring everything to the table that he can provide. I want him to continue to find ways to have a positive impact on his teammates from a chemistry standpoint. I want Chris to speak up and be a coach on the floor because his teammates listen to him.”
Timberview won two of its three tournaments during the non-district schedule, including the prestigious Whataburger Tournament, with one of its few losses to nationally ranked 6A program Denton Guyer.
“We haven’t even hit our best, so I believe this season can only get better,” Mullins said. “I try to bring that senior leadership in either scoring, assisting or rebounding if needed, just wanting to be that leader we can count on.”
Mullins said he felt like Rice was the place for him for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the university's location.
“I choose Rice because the coaching staff is amazing, they recruited me hard,” Mullins said. “The education on top of that is second to none, and also it's close to home, only being in Houston. I’m not that far, and I have family down there.”
Gregory said he believes that Mullins made the right choice for college and said he believes his senior guard will make an immediate impact.
“I think Rice will be a good fit for him,” Gregory said. “It is a very high academic environment, but I expect Chris to excel because he is an excellent student.
"From a basketball standpoint, I know they are very excited about the class they have coming in, and they expect Chris to be big part of their program moving forward.”