Palmer settles down, finds home at Central Methodist in Missouri

January 16, 2014

John Palmer BasketballThe Missouri small town of Fayette isn’t on the radar of most Alaskans, but John Palmer of the Mat-Su Valley is one of seven Alaska athletes doing big things there.

The 5-foot-10 starting guard leads NAIA Central Methodist University in assists and 3-point shooting percentage, showing off the skills that made the Palmer playmaker an all-state pick at Colony High.

He is at a good point in his life. It just took him a little bit of time to get here after graduating in 2010.

Palmer began his journey at Texas A&M International, where he spent his first year as a redshirt. Then he went to Pearce Community College in Washington. Now he’s at Central Methodist.

“It’s nice to be settled in finally and know this where I’m going to finish my college career because transferring is not fun – and I would know from experience,” he said with a laugh. “If I was to go back I would stay at the same school all four years. But, I mean, my situation didn’t work out like that so I had to transfer twice.”

The thing about moving schools is that you have to prove yourself all over again.

“Especially at a community college,” he said.

Palmer paid his dues, climbed the ladder and earned his way into a starting job with steady playing time.

“I’ve gotten my opportunity to play, which is what I wanted,” Palmer said. “It’s a good situation for me.”

Palmer is averaging 11.0 points and 4.1 assists in 17 games and ranks third in the Heart of American Athletic Conference in 3-point shooting at 41 percent. He’s had season highs of 24 points and nine assists.

“If they need me to score I can do that, but my first priority is getting everybody involved and getting them their shots,” Palmer said. “My coach likes to push the ball. This is the first year that I’ve ever had that we’ve had more than five to seven [offensive] sets. We’ve got close to 20 sets. It’s good.”

Central Methodist plays in a good league that includes three nationally ranked teams. After a slow start, the team won its first conference game earlier this week and Palmer hopes it will jumpstart the second half of the season.

“It all comes down to who is clicking the best at the right time,” Palmer said. “I feel like we’re starting to get there.”

The Alaska-Central Methodist pipeline also includes volleyball player Jamie Krediet [Colony] and basketball players Andrew Buchanan [Seward], Mikalai Potrzuski [Sitka], Jesse Ellis [Skagway], Taylor Larson [Juneau] and Kate Klapperick [Colony].