Facing the challenges and benefits of living in the spotlight


Jevon Dyer

Dunking the ball into the net, sophomore Xavion Staton scores yet another point for the Sierra Vista varsity boys basketball team. Staton enjoys being able to create memories with his new team. “My teammates have a lot of fun because they get to experience throwing stuff up and having me immediately dunk it,” Staton said. “It brings a lot of energy to the court.”

Paizley Swaney, Staff Writer

Rising two feet above the majority of students at his school, sophomore Xavion Staton has a unique perspective. Whether he’s searching for clothes to fit his 6’11 stature, shoes to support his size 18 feet, or catching fellow students taking his picture when he’s not looking, Staton struggles to maintain a normal lifestyle.

“My biggest growth spurt happened the summer of eighth grade,” Staton said. “My classmates thought I was a whole other person when I came back from quarantine. I took it as a confidence booster.”

While he has grown to be significantly taller than his friends and family, Staton was ironically born underweight and under the average height for male infants.

“[At birth] I was 4 pounds 7 ounces and my height was 18 inches,“ Staton said. “Now I can see over everybody and see what’s happening over all the crowds.”

Staton has yet to stop growing and hopes to hit the seven foot mark soon.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my height. I always joke around and talk with my friends about things like, ‘What if I’m just done growing at 6’11?’” Staton said. “But I think I’m still satisfied because I know people can’t just pay or something to be tall.”

While satisfied with his height, Staton still struggles with his body image.

“I’m super skinny and I want to gain muscle mass. I’m on so many different meal plans with tons of protein, I’m working out, and I’m eating like six full meals a day,” Staton said. “I think I weigh only about 185 pounds but my goal weight, at least one that can actually be reachable, is maybe 200 [pounds].”

Putting his insecurities aside, Staton is often forced to put on a smile for the crowds.

“People come talk to me about my height at very least ten times a week,” Staton said. “I’ve also had people act like I can’t see them taking pictures of me when I really can. It makes me feel unique, but it also makes me feel like some people might just think of me in a certain way just because of my height. They’ll be nice to me just because I’m tall and it makes some people feel fake in a way.”

Despite his eye-catching height, Staton still has to put in the work to perform on the same level as his varsity teammates.

“I have practice at least two days a week and then a game two days a week,” Staton said. “That’s at the minimum.”

Staton’s practice and dedication has led him to great accomplishments.

“Making varsity as a freshman when I started playing basketball during my freshman year is a big [accomplishment],” Staton said. “I started getting into praying before games, or just clearing my mind to get locked in.”

Gaining attention in his basketball career, Staton is eager to make contacts with colleges in his junior year.

“I want basketball to pay for college,” Staton said. “I know some places I would like to go to are UCLA, Grand Canyon University, or Duke. I haven’t actually started fully researching yet, these are just some options.”

For those monitoring Staton’s progress, high hopes are being kept for his future.

“Keep an eye on Staton,” Prep Hoops boys basketball reviewer Bruce Williams said. “He’s a developing prospect with good size and length. He’s extremely raw, however, his time on varsity should prove to be valuable experience.”

Staton is grateful to have support alongside him in which he can truly open up.

“My parents support me, especially my Dad,” Staton said. “He’s the one to always record my games, be there for me, and when I get mad on the court he’ll always tell me to pick my head up.”

And when in a tough situation, Staton has a remarkable talent for finding a solution to each one of his irregular problems, big or small.

“I have a full size bed where my legs hang over,” Staton said. “But, if I can make it work I’ll make it work, even if that means I need to curl into the fetal position to sleep.”