Call Isaac Reimer's cell phone and get his voice mail, and you'll swear you must have dialed the wrong number.
Sure, the voice on the other end says it's "Isaac Reimer," but it sure doesn't sound like it. How could this young voice possibly belong to the 6-foot, 8-inch man that has dominated the paint in Northwest Conference gymnasiums for the past four years?
Truth is, it isn't. Reimer admitted that he recorded the message when he was in seventh or eighth grade.
Though the standout post - and his voice - have gone through some tremendous growth during his four years playing for the Lynden Christian boys' basketball team, his ego and his approach toward basketball have remained unchanged.
"Over this year and Isaac's career here, the thing that really stands out for me as coach is what a great teammate he is," Lyncs coach Roger De Boer said in a phone interview. "At times, you see some of the top-end players that carry this aura about them that is not too attractive to teammates. Isaac is exactly the opposite. His demeanor is the same whether he scores six points or 36. It's never about stats with him. I never remember having a conversation with Isaac about his stats, because he just doesn't care all that much about them. The only stat he cares about is helping his team win games."
For his efforts in doing that, Reimer has been selected The Bellingham Herald's All-Whatcom County Boys' Basketball Player of the Year for a second straight year, becoming the first two-time winner of the award.
Mount Baker's Rob Gray, who led the Mountaineers to the regional round of the 1A State Tournament despite losing four of their top six scorers to graduation and a fifth to injury for the first half of the year, has been selected Coach of the Year.
Though Reimer, who also is a two-time NWC Most Valuable Player, may not pay much attention to his individual statistics, they pretty much speak for themselves.
The senior leaves Lynden Christian as the program's career scoring, rebounding and blocked shot record holder.
And this isn't just any run-of-the-mill program we're talking about, here. A number of talented players have worn the Lyncs' navy and white uniforms through the years, helping the school claim four state titles before Reimer arrived on the high school campus.
"I can remember going to games and watching guys like Kyle Coston play," Reimer said in a phone interview. "It was fun to watch that team. Their team was really perfect. They had rebounders; they had point guards; they had shooters. It was fun to watch them win state (in 2006)."
Reimer ended up living up to, and in many ways, surpassing what Coston was able to do.
As a freshman during the 2009-10 season, Reimer played in all 23 games and averaged 9.7 points and nine rebounds per game. Over the course of the next three seasons, he upped his averages to a career double-double.
He ended up finishing with 1,602 points in his 106 career games for LC (15.1 points per game) and grabbed 1,097 rebounds (10.4).
As far as De Boer can find, the rebounding mark is a new state record, surpassing former Seattle Prep standout Spencer Hawes' 972 career boards.
And what does Reimer have to say about those numbers?
Well, not even he can play them off as insignificant, but not in the way you'd initially think.
"It means a lot," he said. "It's just a testament to my teammates and my coaches and my parents for pushing me. I had a lot of people help me along the way."
And just in case those numbers weren't enough, Reimer was just as strong defensively, recording 367 career blocked shots (3.5 per game) over the course of his career. He probably altered at least twice that many and intimidated many a shooter with his shot-blocking presence in the paint.
"I will do whatever it takes for my team to win," Reimer said. "If that means rebounding and blocking shots and being an enforcer, that's what I'll do. If it means scoring, taking the ball and passing it, that's what I'll do. Whatever it takes to win."
Reimer and the Lyncs certainly did their share of that during his career.
As a freshman, Reimer helped the Lyncs start rebuilding their storied program with an 11-12 record. As a sophomore, they reached the regional rounds of the Class 1A State Tournament and finished 18-9. Last season, he was the centerpiece of a team that went 24-4 and won a state championship.
This season, Reimer was the returning 1A State Player of the Year, and he said he felt the pressure of other teams focusing on him.
"I felt like teams definitely got up to play against us, and players got up and wanted to stop me this year," said Reimer, who was a first-team all-state selection this season. "It was a challenge every game. Even in games when I wasn't quite ready, they were always ready for me. It was a challenge every night."
But Reimer was never one to back down from the challenge, as he ended up averaging 16.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and five blocks per game and helped the Lyncs get back to the 1A state semifinals before falling to King's and ultimately finishing fifth with a 22-7 record.
The reason for Reimer's success is simple, De Boer said.
"It's his work ethic," said the LC coach. "It's very attractive for a coaching staff to have your best player also be your best worker. That's why he's successful in basketball and why he'll be successful in life - he doesn't shy away from work, and he relates well with others. He's so great to coach and so coachable, and he's just a great guy to be around. He has teammates that love being around him, and they don't mind that he gets the spotlight."
Now that the Reimer era at Lynden Christian is over, that spotlight will have to shift to someone else.
But he certainly won't be easy to forget.
"I've been here for four years, so obviously every team I've coached here at Lynden Christian has had Isaac on it," De Boer said. "Without him, things are going to change dramatically for us on the floor. Isaac defensively sometimes covered for us, because he protected the basket so well. I'll remember him as a kid that embraced the clutch moment. He was never fazed by a big shot or the gravity of a clutch moment. It wasn't something that made him nervous.
"And I'm going to remember him for how well he interacted with his teammates. He shared the ball so well, and he had such great versatility that allowed us to do so many things. A 6-8 kid with that kind of versatility doesn't come along all that often. It allowed us to do some pretty unique things and made this team pretty special. ... He is what it means to be a Lyncs basketball player."
And Reimer, who is weighing his college options, hopes that is his parting shot for Lynden Christian - not the records or even the state championship banner that he helped hang.
"I'm really just hoping kids watched me, and now they want to break my records," Reimer said. "I hope they want to be better than me and push themselves to build better teams. I'm hoping what I've done brings forth more and more talented players."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
PREVIOUS ALL-WHATCOM COUNTY BOYS' BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2012-13: Isaac Reimer, Lynden Christian
2011-12: Isaac Reimer, Lynden Christian
2010-11: Kyle Impero, Nooksack Valley
2009-10: Derek Dickerson, Squalicum
2008-09: Keith Stackhouse, Squalicum
2007-08: Nick Stackhouse, Squalicum
2006-07: Chris Bolt, Lynden
2005-06: Kyle Coston, Lynden Christian
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.