David Scott – Coach of the Boys’ Basketball Full Interview
Coach of the Boys’ Basketball interview:
1. What are you looking forward to this season?
We are looking forward to trailblazing this season. For the first time in the history of our school we are in the Red (top) Division of the OAA. Coming off of back to back league titles we have moved up to the Red and are looking forward to the challenges that it will present for our program. We will also have a young team having lost 10 seniors from last year’s team. We are also looking forward to growing and developing as a team this year and hopefully our best basketball will once again come towards the end of the season.
2. How have you prepared yourself and the team this year?
We have had a dedicated group of guys who have been working in the off-season to get ready for this season. We played summer league games at Detroit Cristo Rey, University of Detroit-Mercy, Troy High, Oakland University, Troy Athens, Warren Mott, and Northwood University (where we were team camp champions). Along with these games we were in the gym during the summer months, had open gyms at Athens in the fall, had several guys playing AAU basketball, had after school shooting, before school morning workouts and just finished another successful HAWK Week.
3. Will you be doing anything different in approach or training this year?
No, there will be nothing drastically different about this season. There will probably be a bit more teaching since we will have such a young and inexperienced team but other than that it should be business as usual.
4. What is your feeling about the competition, any new schools we will be playing?
Our competition this season is going to be very difficult. The OAA Red is going to be one of the top 3 leagues in the entire state for boys’ basketball. Clarkston will probably be a top 5 team in the entire state and North Farmington should also be ranked in the top 25 for the state. Rochester Adams will most likely be a top 10 program in the county and Southfield and Southfield Lathrup are always competitive and challenging teams. Besides just our league, our non-league slate is difficult as always. With games against Chippewa Valley, a perennial MAC contender, Goodrich, a class B power and Regional finalist from last year, Williamston, Bloomfield, Harper Woods, Bishop Foley and of course Troy High there are not going to be many nights off for the Red Hawks.
5. What is the most important team tradition you perform?
When we have a senior graduate from our program, we have them sign a brick in our storage area. It is a nice little reminder of the players who came before and all the hard work that goes into being an Athens basketball player.
6. What keeps you motivated?
I enjoy working with the student-athletes. We have great kids here at Athens and just the opportunity to work with them outside the classroom is one of the things that keeps me motivated. It is fun to see their growth and development not only as players but as young men. Along with that it is the development of our program that helps keep me motivated. In the last 5 years we have won two of the three league titles in school history, two of the five district titles in school history, and have had our first All-State basketball player. We are in the Red Division of the OAA for the first time and have more and more boys interested in basketball. That challenge of continuing to improve and get better is also what motivates me.
7. Is there anyone/anything new in the coaching staff?
We have had a lot of turnover in our staff this off-season. Jaime Jackson not only retired from teaching from Athens but from coaching our 9th grade team as well. He is being replaced by Mitch Vercellino, a new teacher in our building, who has been teaching and coaching in Indiana the past couple of years. Our JV coach Nathan Wieseler also had to leave the coaching ranks and we were fortunate that Sean Vandenbussche, a former Athens grad and 9th grade coach, was able to return to the program. While we are going to miss Coach Jackson and Coach Wieseler we are very excited to have Coach Vercellino and Coach Vandenbussche this season.
8. What is the best way parents can support their student athlete?
To me the two best things parents can do to support their student athlete are the following:
1. Be there! Show up to games and contests. Let them know that you support them in what they are doing and be positive about the experience. In my experience most times the player knows and understands his or her role on a team and it is the parents who don’t. If they are a starter or play big minutes enjoy that experience and make sure to cheer on the team and the other players on the team. If they are a bench or practice player and do not get in much playing time during games then be supportive of that role and know that your son or daughter is getting something valuable from the experience.
2. Be positive! As I am learning with my own kids at home, they are always listening and will take their cues from you on a lot of things. If you are at home bashing the coach or the program they will start to adopt the same attitude. High school athletics is a great time and a valuable learning experience. Be there for them as a sounding board for both the good and the bad. However, stay positive whatever role your athlete has and let them enjoy the experience.