It’s the offseason for basketball players, but that means it’s time to calibrate skills and get ready for the season.
“Right now we are going over a lot of fundamental stuff,” said Smith-Cotton High School senior Jacob Bergman. “It’s the summer and we need to get everybody back used to the motions and everything. We have a lot of younger players, too. We need to get them to get down with the fundamentals.”
Smith-Cotton players were doing just that Tuesday afternoon in the high school gymnasium. Newly hired head boys basketball coach Brennan Scanlon is instructing his players this week with the goals of getting to know them and preparing them for games the next couple months.
Scanlon said the plan is to play about 35 games this summer against state competition.
“We are just trying to get better this week,” Scanlon said. “Me coming in new, I’m just trying to get to know the kids and they are just trying to get to know me and learn what I expect from them.”
Scanlon spent seven seasons as a head coach in Mexico, Mo., compiling a 134-57 record and three district titles.
“We’ve kind of been in a drought with districts and hopefully this year he can bring the play to where we can get a district championship this year,” said Tigers senior Blake Allee-Lightfoot.
Allee-Lightfoot and Bergman said they weren’t sure what it would be like having a new coach for their final season.
“It’s a little different, but good players fight through and that’s what we are going to do,” Bergman said.
Allee-Lightfoot agreed it was different, but said he likes what Scanlon brings to the program that has gone a combined 18-28 the past two seasons.
“It seemed like it at first, but you can already tell who he is by character,” Allee-Lightfoot said. “You just already feel comfortable. You feel like nothing’s happened and nothing’s changed.”
Early on in Tuesday’s session, Scanlon said there hadn’t been enough time to evaluate where the team stands or what improvements had been made, but added that he wants to notice the differences by the time the camp ends Friday.
“It’s going to be a process, but we tell them, ‘When you leave today, you want to be better than when you got here,’” he said.
Allee-Lightfoot said he’s excited what Scanlon can teach the team.
“He’s going to bring good things to us,” he said. “Teach us things that we need to work on. He knows what we need to focus on and makes us better players each and every day.”
Allee-Lightfoot added that the on-the-court skills are not the only ones the camp provides.
“Just kind of how he can help us grow, not just as a basketball player, but as a person,” he said. “Help out the community, being a leader, teaching us what that’s all about and just being a good role model for the underclassmen.”