CONTRIBUTED BY ANDREW GESCHICKTER
Any high school sports team’s success can be attributed in one way or another to its coaching staff. Having a strong coaching contingent can improve a program and its players and offer support to athletes when needed.
The new coaching staff for the boys varsity basketball team, led by Courtney Valentine, looks to bring a fresh start to the program, while helping students excel on and off the hardwood.
Many of the new coaches on the team have had prior experience in coaching, and some are alumni of the team.
Sophomore Matt Price, a starter, said that the new coaching staff is only going to better the program.
“I think it’s just a fresh start. We’re going to have to adjust to it and get used to it, and then it will change us I think for the better. I think we will go far,” Price said.
Junior Blake Burke, a two-year member of the boys varsity basketball team, said that he noticed an improvement in the quality of practice this year.
“I feel like practice is way better. There’s more running, there’s more conditioning, so no one is tired at all come fourth quarter,” Burke said.
Price also noted that one of the head coach’s strengths is his energy and the amount of effort he expects from the athletes.
“He’s very into the game. He gets you pumped up. It brings the mental aspect which is good,” Price said. “He works us very hard in practice, pushes us to the limits that we don’t think we can go to, but he pushes us further.”
Asides from the game, assistant coach Kendell Jones said that he hopes to instill skills in the athletes about working together effectively.
“I’ve used basketball with life experiences. When you’re on a basketball team you learn how to deal with different people,” Jones said. “You guys have to learn how to share one common goal and how to achieve that goal.”
Burke said that the head coach also cares greatly about the athletes’ success in school.
“There was one time that I was outside going out for X-block, and he pulled me away to go work on my math work. Even though I had a good grade in that class, it just shows that he doesn’t just care about basketball, he’s also a coach that cares about academics,” Burke said.
Price said that the head coach offers support for the students during the school day, which differentiates him from other coaches.
“He told me at the beginning of the season if I’m just having a bad day I can come to his office whenever. It’s stuff like that that makes him a better coach even if it doesn’t have to do with basketball,” Price said.
Jones said that he wants to take home a Bay State Conference championship and have a strong sense of community at their games.
“I would love to see Brookline win a Bay State championship again, bring it back to that family environment and pack the gym with fans. There’s no feeling better than seeing that,” Jones said.
Jones wants his athletes to work hard and present their best selves on and off the court.
“When you step on the basketball court, and you have that jersey on, it may say Brookline on it, but it’s also you representing who you are,” Jones said. “I want you to put 110% on everything you do on and off the court.”