As long as Tyrell Corbin has been the starting point guard at West High School — and it's been a while going back to 2007 — he's always been known as Ty Corbin's son.
Whether they saw him play or simply saw him in street clothes at Jazz games supporting his dad, the younger Corbin always heard people say, "that's Ty Corbin's kid."
Little by little over the last four years though, Tyrell Corbin made a name for himself.
He'll never fully shed his label as the son of Utah Jazz head coach Ty Corbin, but this season he established himself as the most dominant high school basketball player in Utah, and in the 25th anniversary of the award, he's being honored as the 2011 Deseret News Mr. Basketball recipient.
"It's an honor. I'm just really blessed to be named Mr. Basketball," said Corbin, who led West to a 58-12 record in his three seasons as a full-time starter for the Panthers.
The explosive point guard, who one 5A coach called a "nightmare" to guard, almost single-handedly changed the culture of West High basketball.
In the seven years prior to his arrival, West had one winning season and even endured a 1-19 campaign during the 2003-04 season.
Corbin said he's proud of the legacy he's left behind, which includes leading West to a 4A state championship in 2009 as a sophomore.
"I just want to leave it to the younger guys and let them know they can do anything they want if they believe in themselves," said Corbin.
That attitude is something his father instilled in him from a very young age.
"If you're a basketball player, you always have hoop dreams," said Corbin. "Why not take it to the highest level you can. If you continue to work hard you can do just about anything you want, that's one of the things my dad has instilled in me. Keep working hard, believe in yourself."
The work ethic has paid big dividends. A full six- to seven-inches shorter than his father, who enjoyed a productive 16-year NBA career, Corbin hasn't been able to simply rely on his athleticism for success. He's worked hard to develop himself into a good shooter, a very good finisher in the paint, and a great passer as well.
"What was nice about Tyrell, he wasn't just a scorer, he got people involved. He averaged four or five assists a game. He sure made our bigs good. Junior Vea and Gatete Djuma, they had to always have their hands up ready to make a catch cause if they didn't, Tyrell was going to hit them in the face with a pass," said West coach Bob Lyman, who coached Corbin all four years.
During those four years he watched Corbin's scoring average increase from 5.9 to 11.8 to 19.3 to 24.8 during his career.
As impressed as he's been with Corbin's abilities on the court, Lyman said the way his point guard carried himself off the court was equally as impressive. It would've been easy for Corbin to get a big head about his own accomplishments and his father's, but that simply never happened.
"I think he's a product of good parenting. He was able to keep things in perspective, and didn't get carried away with himself," said Lyman.
"Not once did I ever have to raise my voice at him to get anything out of him. He was very, very coachable. Even though he had a lot of really good instruction from his father and relatives, he still listened and was very, very coachable."
Corbin finished his career with 1,432 points and over 300 assists.
He scored a career-high 38 points in a win over Morgan back on Dec. 1, but his best game — the game that epitomizes his dominance — came in the opening round of this year's 5A state tournament.
Facing a Riverton team that was among the top five in scoring defenses in 5A, Corbin went off for 33 of his team's 51 points as he carried the Panthers to a 51-41 win. He also finished with six rebounds, five 3-pointers, two assists and two steals.
In his last game, a 45-43 quarterfinal loss to Fremont, he scored 22 points while adding six assists and six steals.
"Over the course of the last four years, I've noticed postseason is a little different, there's a little different focus. You have to know that if you lose you're out. This being my last year I wanted to go out strong," said Corbin.
He'll definitely have the chance to prove himself at the next level. Corbin has official offers from Utah and UC Davis, and teams like Louisville, DePaul and Miami have shown an increased interest in the past week.
Louisville even spoke with Corbin on the morning of its stunning NCAA Tournament exit on Thursday.
Regardless of where he ends up, you can bet his dad — a frequent spectator at West games when his Jazz schedule allowed — will be there to offer his assistance.
"My dad is very involved when it comes to my basketball career. We watch game films all the time and he kind of lets me do my own thing, but he'll put his input in here and there," said Corbin. "If we're watching the film he'll let me know what I'm doing wrong and what I can get better at."
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