Gilbert High’s double-team: Nice guys and success
Zach Alvira, Tribune Sports Editor - January 16, 2019
There’s a certain level of chemistry that has fueled the
Gilbert Tigers boys basketball team to the top of the 5A rankings this
season and it starts with senior captains Doc Self and Carson Towt.
“We’ve grown up playing together,” said Self, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound point
guard. “We started playing together in seventh grade. We played on the
same middle school team, in a league, now high school. That’s my guy.”
Self and his family moved to Arizona from Denver when he was 4. Shortly
after, he attended the Gilbert Tigers youth basketball camp. From there,
his family knew it was the school he should attend.
Despite living in Gold Canyon, at the base of the Superstition Mountains
about 40 minutes away from Gilbert High, Self attended Greenfield Junior
High to become familiar with kids in the area. It’s there that he and Towt
struck up their friendship.
“We’ve been hanging out and best friends since seventh grade,” said Towt,
a 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward. “We have played club and everything
The two consider their friendship a brotherhood, admitting they still
disagree with one another and fight on and off the court. The quarrels
never last more than a few minutes before they are back to laughing and
joking with each other.
Their bond has spread to the rest of the roster. Saturday practices end
with a team trip to McDonalds and video games, Super Smash Bros. to be
“It’s just the connection all of us have,” Self said.
Self and Towt have set an example of hard work and dedication. And that
hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Doc and Carson have been as good, if not better, than any other captains
I have had,” said Gilbert coach Jay Caserio. “I think it’s been their
natural progression of stepping up when a coach gives them that
assignment. They’ve really taken on their roles.”
Self was a captain last season as a junior. He still looked up to Tyler
LaGanke and Trajon Hawkins, the two senior captains at the time.
Now, Self and Towt run the show and it has paid off for the Tigers. They
are 16-1 through 17 games, the best start in Caserio’s 12 years leading
the program. Gilbert’s only loss was to Pinnacle, the top team in 6A.
“I feel like every game I step into our record is 0-0,” Self said. “I just
try to keep a level head. If we are going to continue our stretch and win
basketball games, we have to hold each other accountable.
“We all believe nobody else wants to win as much as us. It’s the culture.”
With success has come attention from colleges. Towt recently picked up
interest from Division I programs as well as an offer from Division II
Colorado Mesa University. Self, meanwhile, picked up offers from Mesa and
Scottsdale community colleges in December.
Caserio believes there are more on the way.
“Teams have him on their radar,” Caserio said. “He’s quick. He’s a great
shooter and a great leader. He will be playing at the college level.”
While the two have aspirations to play with each other in college, they
know chances of that may be slim. So for now, they want to continue making
an impact in the Gilbert community.
Self created a Twitter profile called Random Acts of Kindness (@RKindeness).
His goal is to promote acts of kindness around the community, posting his
and others experience on the page.
The most recent act by Self, Towt and other teammates came during a trip
for smoothies. They all pitched in to purchase an extra one for a homeless
veteran standing on a corner.
Not every act of kindness by Self and teammates is posted. Among those was
something as simple as picking up trash after the McClintock Holiday
After the Tigers won the tournament, they were walking across the gym
floor to their bus. The lights had gone off but workers and volunteers
were still cleaning up. Self, Towt, Adonai Kabash and others began picking
up trash in the bleachers to assist them.
“They wanted to make a point to clean up and help everyone else out,”
Caserio said. “They just won a championship so that could be the last
thing on their mind but they went out of their way to pick up trash.
“I’m blessed to have a group like that.”
It’s acts like these that show the Tigers’ success hasn’t gone to their
heads. Caserio said that’s part of why they have been successful.
“If you have a positive mindset then it all comes naturally,” Towt said.
“That’s the best thing about this team. We all feel the same way about
working hard and wanting to be successful.”