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Boys basketball: Senior Blair inspired others, including coach

Leading by example

Eastland's Adam Blair (44) screens a Nokomis player while teammate Marshall Fink is called for a foul during Saturday's 1A third-place game in Peoria.
Eastland's Adam Blair (44) screens a Nokomis player while teammate Marshall Fink is called for a foul during Saturday's 1A third-place game in Peoria.

Adam Blair admires Adam Morrison. Tony Dunlap admires Adam Blair. It's easy to admire all three. 

One – Morrison – is an NBA player despite the challenge of living with Type 1 diabetes. 

Another – Dunlap – just finished coaching a team to the Class 1A state tournament for the second time in 4 years. 

The last – Blair – just wrapped up his high school basketball career as a starter for the Cougars, when many others would never have thought about doing the work just to get on the court. 

The big challenge was placed before Blair during the summer before his fourth-grade school year. On the way home from vacation, he was tired and had to go to the bathroom way more than usual. 

His mother – Julie Blair – knew the symptoms well. 

"My mother has diabetes, so she was pretty sure right away," Adam Blair said. "When we got home, she tested my blood sugar, and it was really low. So we went straight to the hospital."

Blair – like his mother and former Gonzaga star Morrison – has Type 1 diabetes. 

"I learned that I had to monitor my blood sugar all of the time," Blair said. "I just had to be careful."

It was Morrison's example that helped keep Blair from walking away from sports, considering overexertion can be dangerous.

"To see someone like Adam Morrison with Type 1 diabetes play in the NBA inspires me," Blair said. "I know he doesn't get to play a lot, but just to make the NBA is amazing." 

He was also pushed by the fact that he comes from athletic stock and had an older sister, Courtney, who cast a large shadow at Eastland. Courtney led Eastland's volleyball team to back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009, and she was SVM's female athlete of the year in 2011. 

"I had to get to state so that the family could say both of us got to state," Adam Blair said. "She has two rings that she can hold over me."

Dunlap is well aware of Courtney's success, but he would never undervalue the importance of Adam on his team's run to the state tournament. 

"Like so many of our kids, he comes from a great family with great athletes," Dunlap said. "He's a kid that never stopped working, and he worked his way into our starting lineup by his senior year."

Blair's talents extend well off the court. Dunlap said that he'll likely end up the valedictorian, and that he applies his skills to help Dunlap coach.

"He puts all of our stuff on our computer for us," Dunlap said. "He shot a lot of video for me. He's taught me how to use the computer ... and that's pretty impressive in itself." 

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