I do a lot of thinking. Our basketball program is on a routine schedule in my brain, much like our favorite television shows. However, sometimes I get an unscheduled session. It happens all the time; some tiny detail in a conversation will fill my head with thoughts about basketball. Sometimes I’ll drift off in my normal thoughts and I’ll be engulfed with a new idea. And I know I’m not alone. Thousands of coaches experience this around the globe. Coaching basketball is such a strange line of work. At times, it consumes you. It becomes unhealthy. Most of us battle this on a daily basis.
I also do a lot of listening. I’m very thankful for my “basketball guys”. It would be foolish to assume I know all the answers. I don’t. And if there comes a time, when I think I am smart enough, then I will retire. Strive to be a lifelong learner. That’s great advice, regardless of what line of work you’re involved in. Don’t be so proud; you can learn from anyone. I appreciate Wayne Stefanich, Joe Sierzputowski, and Tom Black. I can’t repay them for what they have taught me, and continue to teach me. I am very lucky to be around Wes Allen and Patrick Culp on a daily basis. These men have been around the game and young people all of their lives. Their input is valued more than they know. Yet, I still take to Twitter daily to learn from almost a thousand other coaches. Recently, I just joined a coaching group formed by a man in Nova Scotia. It’s amazing what technology can do.
June and July are like Jekyll and Hyde to me. June is such an aggressive month with team camp, practices, strength and conditioning, shootouts, and Super Hoops Camp. Our boys went through 16 practices and 17 games. It’s hectic. July begins with the dead week. And we only operate on an optional basis for skill development. Kids come in at their own time to work individually (or small groups) to improve their skills. I have much more time to think and listen during July. I have spent most of the month doing just that.
We started June (actually the last two days of May) with our own camp. It was a great opportunity to build the foundation of our summer. I struggled with the fact that on our first day, Rex Smith went in for surgery on his knee. However, it gave us an excellent chance to work without him. There will be times when our big man is on the bench with fouls or to take a needed rest. We need to be able to operate without him. Other players will need to fill that void. Speaking of, Andrew Kasten did an excellent job in the low post. At times, he was superb in making a move and scoring the ball. I was most impressed with Andrew’s defense and rebounding.
Throughout practices, Jerod Glasford did a superb job of leading our guys vocally. He even got his summer team (mostly basketball players) to win the strength and conditioning portion in which we train alongside the football program. Jerod is one of our best talkers. He is constantly coaching his teammates on the floor.
Janssen Flotow lived in the gym this spring. Together, we worked tirelessly on improving his offensive game. The past two seasons, Janssen has primarily played beyond the arc. It is safe to say that he has added another dimension to his game. He worked hard on adding attacking moves and a post game to his repertoire. It was on full display during June.
Cameron Pratt fit very nicely into the varsity flow. After spending last season on JV, Cam came into the summer ready to go. He was a very consistent scorer for us throughout June and did a great job rebounding from the guard position.
Caleb Evans, Andrew Endris, Bryant Kackos, and Jonn Bernal gave us a very formidable defensive backcourt. Each of them terrorized opposing guards throughout the summer with aggressive defense.
On the JV side, Coach Cooper and I were very pleased on June 3, the date of our first games. With a load of Freshmen, we were unsure how the young team would look. But that is a very feisty group. The addition of Austin Keefover was a tremendous help. Austin fit right in and added a layer of toughness and instinct to the group. He played very effective in some varsity minutes as well.
Avery Blackburn does not even look like the same player as he did in February. It appears he grew at least 3 inches. More importantly, it is obvious he has worked on his skills on his own. He has made so much improvement in such a short time period.
Coty Marlatt had to sit for a few days with a sprained wrist. But when he came back on the floor, he really boosted our JV. Coty has been playing AAU along with Korbyn Mancilla, and it is showing. His confidence level is very high and he is playing with a lot of poise.
I’m smiling at the thought of a few memories we made this summer. We view summer as a time to find out where we stand, but also to improve our skills and team play. Yet, spending time bonding with each other is crucial. It is also my favorite part. I have fully enjoyed our summer, but look forward to our fall preparations. November will be here before we know it. I think our faithful fans will like the product they see. Until then, keep working guys. Make some shots today. And tomorrow.