New hoop administration off and running at EastMont
ELLISTON – “All business” doesn’t really cover Eastern Montgomery High School boys basketball practice these days.
In most businesses, breaks are built into the work day.
At Mustangs headquarters, what passes for “breaks” are more akin to the hyrdration interludes that come during marathon footraces. In marathons, the runners snatch a cup, splash some water somewhere in the direction of their mouths, and keep right on trucking without so much as a pause.
At EastMont, that’s the way water breaks go now. The H2O is available and the athletes take advantage during brief pauses in the action, but there’s really no rest for the weary. They splash some fluid in the general direction of their mouths and keep right on getting it with practice.
There’s a lot of work to do and a short time to do it, not a minute to spare. There’s a new coach in the house and a 5-18 2011-12 campaign to overcome and forget.
Scott Metz-Davidson is in charge now after being elevated from a post as Rick Hall’s assistant coach on last year’s team.
Metz-Davidson, the former Blacksburg High player who served his coaching apprenticeship there under Bruins coach Doug Day before landing on Hall’s staff at EastMont last year, should be making a systems engineering instructional video instead of conducting a high school basketball practice. The players never stop and are never off task.
The grindstone spins close to a dozen noses.
“Free throws, free throws,” Metz-Davidson orders at one point. “Shoot two. Two are OK.”
Practice is nearing an end. Guys line up on the baseline. A “volunteer’’ is selected to shoot a pair. First guy up, foul shot No. 1 one a make, second a miss.
“Take off,” the coach says as the whole crew departs at a gallop for an end to end and back wind sprint. Six shooters give it a try to make both ends of the free throw chance, fail, and send all on another run. Finally, mercifully, a couple go in, and the running stops. Guys break it down and head for the locker room in various stages of exhaustion.
“We’re just trying to take what Rick was doing last year and trying to add to it,’ Metz-Davidson said. “The kids know what we’re trying to do and that helps immensely.”
The Mustangs likely won’t be challenging Radford, Floyd County, and Glenvar for Three Rivers District supremacy this year, but they ought to make for an entertaining spectacle. Could a Group A Division 1 Region C berth be in the nestled in the soothsayer’s tea leaves?.
Here’s what to like. Point guard Kendall Sisson ought to be a steady hand at the controls. J.T. Shrader is a versatile wing. Daniel Akers is tall (6-foot-5) and has been an improving project in the post the past year or so . Shane Deweese is the bruiser to go with Akers’ length inside. James Fields to Ron Ford was a compelling passing combination in football. Can that work in reverse in basketball? Cody Claxton is another muscular inside-outside type. Kellen Campbell can do some stuff.
And there’s a hungry, dynamic young coach in the house.
“Coach Hall last year, one of the best, so our coach got to learn from the best,” Shrader said. “I think he’s going to lead us the right way. Everything he’s done so far the team likes and the team has adapted to. ”
Apparently so. Season opener Tuesday, the Mustangs hung on to edge Narrows 43-41. Shrader scored 14, Fields made a steal in the last couple of seconds to douse the Green Wave’s last chance. Akers, Deweese, and Claxton combined for 16 inside.
Shrarder, Deweese, and Fields buried triples.
It was the season opener and everything is deemed possible now.
But about those free throws. One-for-8 in the closing minutes for the ‘Stangs, yikes. Line ‘em up boys and lets do some winds sprints.
More of that will make a young coach way old before his time.
By Ray Cox
The Roanoke Times | 381-1672
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