Rode: Baltzer stepping up for Red Deer College Kings

The way Payton Baltzer has performed with the RDC basketball Kings this season has come as no surprise to head coach Clayton Pottinger.

The RDC mentor watched the Rocky Mountain House native play two years with the Central Alberta Kings club program and felt he’d fit right in.

“I knew through the club program he was a special player and we were excited to get him and were expecting big things,” said Pottinger, who was surprised at how quickly the six-foot-three guard picked things up.

“He’s a quick study and is 100 per cent bought in. He slowly but surely crept up and we were compelled to play him.

“The opportunity (for him) came up with a string of injuries. He performed well in practice, and while that sometimes doesn’t transition into games, we put him in and he continued to do what he did in practice.”

Baltzer didn’t know what to expect when he arrived at camp in September.

“I came into the season just wanting to do what the coach had in mind and it’s developed into minutes,” he said. “The coach wasn’t specific in what my role would be so I wasn’t expecting anything.

“But when we ran into injury problems I was able to step up and make the most of it,” he added.

Baltzer has played in nine of the Kings 10 games, averaging a little under nine minutes a game. However, last game at St. Mary’s in Calgary — a 108-82 victory — he played 25 minutes, scoring eight points.

Payton was born in Yellowknife, moving to Rocky Mountain House when he was one. He grew up in a basketball household with his dad a coach.

“I was always around the game, always in the gym, having fun, and watching the NBA,” he said.

He also played under West Central High School Rebels head coach Justin Klein, a former RDC King.

“He helped for sure,” said Baltzer. “He had similar systems to here and there was lots of team play and intense practices. That made for an easier transition once I came here.”

Playing two years with the club program was also a benefit.

“It certainly helped playing against better competition,” he said.

“The Central Alberta League is alright, but it helped playing against top players from other clubs and other provinces.”

Still it was, and is, a learning process.

“For sure. The guys here are overall bigger and stronger. I’m a bit undersized so I have to work a bit harder in the gym and have to find other ways to get an advantage and step on the guys. I have to read the plays better.”

Baltzer, who started drawing interest from college coaches in Grade 10 and 11, grew up playing guard but has played the wing for most of the season with the Kings.

“I’ve played every position from one to five, but mainly on the wing,” he said.

“I play where ever the coach wants me. I try to run the floor, crash the boards and use the back door cuts, where I get most of my points from.”

Baltzer is one of seven Central Albertans on the Kings, something that brings a smile to Pottinger’s face.

“You know how much I like that,” said Pottinger. “I’m really excited about this whole group. The guys we have gives us a really solid core of home grown guys and a chance to train year round.”

Baltzer is likely to be around for some time.

“I’m, taking a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history, but I’m not really sure what the future holds and what I will ultimate take in school,” he said. “I’m lucky in that the schooling part is not particularly challenging, what is different than high school is time management. But it’s working out. We’ll see what happens but I’m looking forward to continuing to play basketball and having fun and seeing what I want to do with my life.”

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at danrode@shaw.ca

Just Posted

Young Blackfalds mother copes with double tragedies with community support

Three fundraisers are being held to help Alana Newbold and her children

Red Deer careful about overuse of road salt

Focus on anti-icing to reduce salt use

Carjacking victim would stop to help again

Springbrook woman has some sympathy for carjacker

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Eckville man charged with child porn offences

Australian police provide tip

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Sylvan Lake resident to receive kidney from younger sister

Sylvan Lake resident Lexie Libby had been losing hope of ever finding… Continue reading

Closing arguments at trial of accused in slaying of Calgary Stampeders player

CALGARY — Final arguments are to be heard today at the trial… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers fire general manager Peter Chiarelli: reports

EDMONTON — Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the… Continue reading

Canadian Milos Raonic has Australian Open run end in quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Milos Raonic is done at the Australian Open… Continue reading

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Two Quebec short-film directors mark first Oscar nominations together

TORONTO — Two Quebec filmmakers celebrated in solidarity on Tuesday after learning… Continue reading

Toronto illustrator teams up with Paul McCartney on children’s book

Toronto-based illustrator Kathryn Durst says she’s found a true collaborator in Paul… Continue reading

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Most Read