Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hoops season is finally here!!

It has finally arrived. Basketball season is finally here!! The fall athletic season was an exciting one, with our Trojans winning the conference championship in both football and soccer. Now that the snow is about to fly, that must mean it's time to get the basketballs out. We had great summer and fall workouts and the kids worked hard in the gym.

As many of you know, Monday, November 16 was the first day of tryouts. We had 57 kids tryout across the entire program: 21 varsity, 16 JV and 20 freshman. I am excited and encouraged with how many young men want to be a part of the program, but with that comes some tough decisions. Having numbers that large requires that we have to make cuts and that is never easy no matter who it is. We had tryouts on Monday and Tuesday and had the team solidified by Tuesday night. This years varsity team consists of 14 players: Rob Feeman (12), Matt Cawley (12), Dominic Davis (12), Garrett Matthews (12), Jawuan Thompson (12), Mike Griffin (12), Steve Hoffman (12), Joe Baker (11), Steve O'connell (11), Tyler Marwin (11), Cody Lehman (11), Aaron Schachinger (11), Eric Thompson (11), James Steffen (10). Wednesday night at 6:30, we began our journey together, embarking on a season with much promise and hopefully plenty of excitement.

I am extremely excited about the 14 young men who make up the Trojan Varsity Team. It is a group of young men with phenomenal character and great leadership qualities. When I took this job 18 months ago, I told the administration that I will build this program with great character kids, and I have been fortunate enough to be able to do that both last year and this year.

We had a great week of practice and there is one thing that makes for a great practice and a great team: EFFORT. We had a great week of effort, the kids worked very hard. As a coach, it is never fun to have to beg players for effort...well I don't have to beg these kids. I can feel their urgency each time they are in the gym. I feel as though they are on a mission, they understand what they can be and are already pushing themselves harder than they ever have. Last year I could not have been more proud of a group of kids than I was with our team, but I get a different feeling from this years team. They know me, I know them and we are in this thing together...for one bring Clawson its first conference championship in basketball since 1995, yep - 15 years! We're on a mission!

Friday, November 20 we had our first ever "Team Building" overnight. We practiced until 8:30, had some pizza (courtesy of Kathy O'connell...thanks Kathy!) and sat down in the library for a team building session. We ended up sitting in that circle for two hours. The kids talked about why they play basketball, who they want to dedicate their season to, what inspires them, and who they respect the most in this room. I will be the first to tell you that it got emotional and deep, but it was incredible! There is no doubt we are closer as a team because of it. We found out things about each other that most never knew. I will tell each and every parent of those 14 young men that they should be incredibly proud of what they had to say and who they had to say it about. They spoke of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, teammates and friends. They spoke of love and respect and pride for family. They spoke from the heart and didn't hold back. I am very proud of what they said and how they handled it. After the team building session, we headed back into the gym for some fun and very little sleep. We woke up in the gym, unzipped our sleeping bags and practiced in the morning for an hour, then headed home. It was no doubt a success and I will do it each and every year. I have attached 10 photos from our "Team Building" night and most were taken the morning after...enjoy!

We enter this week with much to do and prepare for. We have Thanksgiving to be with our families and enjoy their time. We get right back after it with a scrimmage at Roeper on Friday. It will be a good gauge of where we are at and what we need to work on.

Stay tuned for weekly Trojan Hoops updates and a great season! Thanks for being a fan!