For the next edition of our Sit Down series with the Baylor Men’s Basketball team we are joined by Caleb Lohner. There may not be a better culture fit that Scott Drew and staff could have gotten in the transfer portal this offseason. Lohner has everything that Baylor Nation will love on the court. When describing what he wants to bring to the team, Lohner highlights gritty, winning plays, and a desire to be a great teammate.
Lohner is coming to Baylor after starting his career at BYU, and is sure to make an impact immediately. College athletics can be difficult, which is why Lohner strives to lead a joy filled life, seeking balance through other hobbies that may make him the most interesting man off the court in college hoops. After Lohner locks you down defensively, he can rebuild your car, catch a wave surfing, or shred on the guitar.
We are excited to introduce Caleb Lohner to Baylor Nation, he is sure to be a fan favorite. The full interview is linked in the Pod below, as well as the full Q&A if reading is your thing.
Link to the Pod
Q1) My first question is a two part question, so we come out swinging. Why did you cut your hair, and would you like to announce that you will be growing it back in this interview?
A1) “The original reason I cut my hair is when I went to BYU they have an honor code and a dress code. We tried to tiptoe around it, so the first cut I got I cut it just a little bit shorter. I went into the honor code office to get my ID, my picture, all this stuff for school. So I put all this curling cream in it, diffused it with a blow dryer, pushed it up as much as I could to make it look as short as possible. Finally I went in there and I was in that office for probably 5 seconds and said your hair is too long, get out. And I thought aw man this is going to be tricky. So then I went and just committed and was like this will just be a change let’s cut it a little bit shorter. So I cut it shorter and I ended up loving it.
I dream of my long hair all the time. The only thing holding me back is this weird awkward in between stage. Especially because my hair is curly it will grow and kind of get longer, and then there’s this weird awkward bob phase where it is kind of just poofy and doesn’t fall like long hair should because it’s so curly it just gets crazy and goes out and gets in my eyes. I actually was kind of committed to growing it out about a month or so ago and I had been growing it since about May or June and kind of let it go. There was a day where we had practice and my headband kept coming off and I was playing with it and it just pissed me off. So the next morning I had a haircut scheduled and cut it back to its normal length. It’ll come back soon. I am just waiting for the right time period where I can get some length out of it.”
Q2) You’re from Flower Mound, TX what went into the decision to go to Wasatch Academy in Utah and go the prep school route? Could you just talk us through your high school career a little bit?
A2) “My high school career started in Flower Mound, TX. I played three and a half years at my high school, the Flower Mound Jaguars. I was kind of just ready for a change. My Uncle Dave had just taken over Wasatch Academy’s basketball program. Since the beginning of high school he was wanting me to come play for him. For years he was like Caleb come up here, come play for me, you can live with me.
At this point in my high school career I was like you know what, it’s time to take that step, make that change, do something a little outside my comfort zone. So I ended up going out there, I loved every single second of it. The relationships I made, the teammates I had, the experience I had, I couldn’t ask for anything more. From Wasatch ended up at BYU, and after a few years at BYU, now I’m here; wearing green proud to be a Bear.”
Q3) Do you think the prep school environment at Wasatch helped you develop as a man and player as you prepared for college?
A3) “I think the overall level of competitive basketball and training. It kind of flips the switch in your mind to committing to doing basketball. I don’t think a lot of people understand the level of commitment needed to be as good as you want to be on the basketball court in college you know, it takes a lot. You got to take care of your school, take care of the media, take care of all these things; and then you have the on the court aspect.
So you know going there and starting that and playing higher level competitive basketball and being with guys with similar goals to mine of playing in college was awesome. I enjoyed every second of it. It was a complete change coming from Texas to the middle of nowhere Utah where it was freezing cold and the closest McDonalds is an hour away. But it was a beautiful part of Utah. I had such a good experience with the relationships I made and the people I met.”
Q4) There were a few different YouTube channels like Overtime and BallIsLife that featured either you specifically or Wasatch as a program while you were there. What was that experience like to go through as a high school kid?
A4) “It was fun while that was going on. I was fortunate enough to play with players who were at a similar level when it comes to playing competitive basketball. You know when you play at a prep school it just comes with a little bit more media. You know some of our games would be on ESPN and we were so stoked if we got a game on ESPN. It was just a fun experience. Behind the scenes of all that there’s just a lot of things you’ve got to take care of. You mentioned growing older and becoming more of a man, a young adult. I’m glad I went that Wasatch route because going that route helped me take those steps and slowly grow and mature into the man I am today.”
Q5) Are there any of the teammates or coaches that you still keep in touch with that were instrumental to your growth and your time at Wasatch?
A5) “A lot of that team I played with my senior year at Wasatch Academy I keep in touch with, we will be friends for a long time. Then my coach Uncle Dave, he plays an integral role in my life.”
Q6) Last high school question before we jump into college hoops, it looked like Baylor was recruiting you in high school, but what ultimately went into your decision to stay in Utah and go to BYU?
A6) “The decision to leave Texas originally put my mind in a little bit of different place and I was just figuring things out. So I think the decision to go to BYU came from being close to certain people and spending time in a place where I am a little bit more comfortable knowing coaches and having family close. At the time my mind just didn’t want to go back to Texas. I’m so glad I got to spend those two years at BYU and interestingly enough I ended up back right here. I couldn’t be more grateful, I’ve had the best of times.
Baylor started recruiting me when I came to an elite camp they ran. I was a sophomore in high school. After that camp I remember Coach Drew walking me up to his office that day and trying to get me to commit right then and there, I think I was 15 years old. The love I felt from the entire staff since I was 15 years old to this point just goes to show the culture and the family aspect they’ve built here. It’s a really special place and I dont think a lot of other places have built what they have. Once I decided to transfer out of BYU I ended up here on campus. I knew from the first 30 minutes I was on campus and I was around these guys that this is where I wanted to be. I’m just so grateful and blessed that I ended up here somehow. I’m just so happy.”
Q7) I want to step aside from basketball for a bit. You’re probably one of the more well rounded guys on the team, you’ve mentioned that you have a ton of hobbies like surfing, skating, and playing the guitar. When did you start getting into those different hobbies and what sparked those passions?
A7) “I think the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve dove into this sort of thrill seeking mindset. Also the older I’ve gotten I just have wanted to implement balance into my life. There’s so much noise in this world these days, and negative energy and people and ideas. I found this little space and niche where my mind just flourishes. Snowboarding, surfing, skating, playing the guitar. I worked on cars last year. I rebuilt this old Challenger and messed with a truck. There’s all these things I did where I just started to enjoy the peace I found from it and how my mind just processed it.
Of course basketball and school are such a heavy dominant factor in my life that some of these other things, when they came into play it’s so easy to find peace in this spot and a little joy in doing these things. They’re just hobbies and things I love to do, I found that when I’m able to find balance in these thrills and things I love to do in my life where traditionally basketball and athletics don’t mix with this, I just found a special niche that at the end of the day has helped me and kept me sane through a lot. You know I would like to say I put a lot of time and effort into the game and into school and being the best I can be on the court and off the court as a man. So finding this balance has been huge.”
Q8) Out of all of your passions and hobbies off the court, what is the one you can’t live without? Like if you were theoretically stuck on a desert island what is the one passion or hobby you would bring for the rest of your life?
A8) “I think it would be surfing. Because it’s easy to forget about everything when you’re sitting in the ocean and it’s just kind of you. I know I sound like a super hippy or whatever right now but it’s true. Our daily lives are just so busy with so much going on that getting that time to surf would be my choice. But snowboarding is a close second. It’s similar in a way where you’re just up in the mountains and it’s just you in nature.”
Q9) Alright back to hoops for a bit, you had a couple of good seasons at BYU before entering the transfer portal. What primarily went into your decision to enter the portal?
A9) “I just think with all the time I had spent there and what I had put into certain things, I was just ready for a change. There is nothing against the BYU basketball program, all those coaches were so great to me and I’m so thankful for them and the years I got to spend there. But I think for me and my overall joy and journey, Baylor ended up being the perfect spot for me. Spot where I can grow, develop as a person, develop on the court, and just be around a different culture. I think I am just so blessed to be here, I think I just needed it.”
Q10) What have been some of your favorite things about joining the Baylor MBB team and becoming a part of Baylor Nation that have solidified for you that you’re in the right place?
A10) “The biggest one to me, which you can see it from the outside looking in, but being here and being a part of it I would say the culture. And when I say culture, I know culture is such a broad topic, but when I say culture I mean the collective unity between the coaches, the players, the GA’s, the managers. Everyone is on the same page and on this journey together. Everybody is on this journey together to be better. The coaches want to be better for us, we want to be better for each other for this team, the GA’s are working for everyone in this program. You know it all sort of works in this one revolving machine. It isn’t always like that, the way Coach Drew and the staff have worked so hard to get Baylor where it is today, is another reason I’m so blessed to be a part of it now.
I’m able to step into a well oiled machine where I am just trying to get to be as good as I can be and take advantage of all the tools and all the coaches and all the wisdom I am now a part of. You know just being a part of the family culture and the joy that Baylor’s has built is really really cool to be on the inside of now. I didn’t really see to a full extent from the outside looking in.”
Q11) Who do you most model your basketball game after, and what do you want to bring to the team?
A11) “I mean I wear 33, I look like Larry Bird, I love the way Larry Bird plays. I just think some of his toughness and old school mentality is something I am slowly trying to adopt as a way I can help the team. But now, I love Jimmy Butler. I love the way Klay Thompson guards and contributes to the team and rebounds. But now I have found my niche cutting, being a great rebounder, guarding the ball, being a tough hard nosed dude for Baylor is what I am trying to do right now.”
Q12) In your intro video that Baylor basketball put out on social media you mention how important your family is to you and being the oldest brother. What do you hope your brothers see in you as a player and as a man that they can look up to?
A12) “I would just say the mentality of working as hard as you can on whatever that may be and finding joy in the process. I do think there’s just so much of life that is just a journey and you really never ever know what is going to happen. And if you can find joy and some fun in the process of it and the journey of it no matter where it takes you and being the best man you can be in kindness, honesty, and being there for people. I think if my brothers look up to me and say you know my older brother is a hard worker, a good man, and is nice to everybody I would be happy with that.”
Q13) Any final thoughts or things you want Baylor Nation to know about you?
A13) “I’m stoked to be in green. I’ve been in blue my whole life. You know the Cowboys, the Mavs, my high school, BYU. I’m just blessed to be here, that’s the only message.”