Denison Lady Jackets Basketball 2012-13
Last spring, Rod Been made a big jump in his coaching career. Been decided to move to Texas Class 4A girl’s basketball from the small school Class 1A he had been coaching all six years of his career.
“The jump to Class 4A is a challenge I will face,” said Been. “I get the chance to build a program for the future. Yes, the schedule is difficult, but I’m not basing this year on wins and losses. This season will be a lot about patience.”
Been (pronounced ‘Bean’) began his coaching career in the small panhandle town of Gruver, where he had good success. He caught the eye of Denison Athletic Director Chad Rogers, who offered him the job in March. It has been a whirlwind ever since, but now the season is upon us.
“We have some good numbers, but a shortage of practice space,” said Been of the Denison situation. “But we’ll work through those things. My biggest concern is that we basically have a brand new team.”
Denison will sport four seniors and three juniors on the young team. According to Been, the problem is varsity experience. Even with those seven older players, there isn’t much varsity experience among them.
“There’s going to be a lot of growth and fast! It will be interesting to see how they respond and adapt,” said Been. “There will be a lot of girls into roles they’ve never been in at this level.”
According to Been, key players for the Lady Jackets are Jordan Nation, Aleigha Pool, Taylor Coleman, Taylor Cummings, Jasmine Ballard and Carrie Parker. They and the rest of the team will need to adapt to the many changes this season.
“Not only do they have a difficult schedule and possibly playing different positions, they have to adapt to me as a new coach and the new system,” explained Been. “These are just some of the challenges we have to face.”
And if this wasn’t enough to think about, in the past two weeks, Been got word that one of his junior players, Sarah McBride, is lost for the season due to concussions. Doctors are ordering her ‘no contact’ for the next six months; only exercise, which effectively ends the season for her before it ever starts.
McBride came to Been in tears right from the doctor’s office. He consoled McBride and showed a genuine concern for her and her situation. Although emotional, McBride appreciated Been’s manner and concern.
“This is tough for her,” said Been. “But she will work through it.”
Practice started in the early morning Oct. 17 and will get into full swing after volleyball is over. One of Been’s priorities is team defense in order to build the team and the Lady Jacket basketball program.
“Our team defense has got to improve if we are going to be competitive,” said Been. “Our schedule is already tough; there are no weak teams in district. They all have unbelievable athletic programs.”
According to Been, he will have a better take on his new team after the Alberts Tournament in December. There will be ‘tough competition’ in it, he noted.
“By then, we’ll see what we have and putting our team together for district,” he explained. “We’ll have all the key areas down by then.”
Even though many will want the program to jump ahead to success, Been noted that the slow deliberate approach will work best.
“We will approach this season with a lot of patience,” he said. “I’m not going to judge success on wins and losses. How we are progressing is what Jacket Basketball is all about. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Denison Boys Basketball
Joe Barnett knows there are things he will do differently in this second year as Denison Yellow Jacket boy’s basketball coach.
“I’m excited for this year; there are some things I will do differently,” said Barnett the day before official basketball started for Class 4A. “For one, I will switch defenses the second half of district this season. These are coaching techniques you learn in your first year.”
Although this is just his second year as head coach, Barnett is well versed in Jacket basketball. Not only did he play for Bob Clayton in the early 1990s at DHS, he has coached 10 years in DISD under Scott Curran and before taking the helm in 2011.
“We’ve been working all year long, but most of my players are in football,” explained Barnett. “There is only one who has varsity experience who is not in football, Daniel Batey. I have eight regulars on the football team.”
Batey, the offensive Most Valuable Player in district last season as a junior, has been hitting the hardwood since the first day of school. He is a four year letterman for the Yellow Jackets. And Barnett is happy to announce another potential stand-out who will begin that same journey this fall: McShane Wyatt, a transfer student from McKinney Christian High School.
“McShane is a good addition to our team,” said Barnett. “Even as a freshman, he will fit well in our system.”
Among his 15 man roster, Barnett hopes to have Batey, McShane, Jaleel Dade, Keondrick Goldston, Clifton Hines, Jack Henry, Kaleel Brown and Qwamie Bush.
“I’m looking forward to working with all of them,” said Barnett. “And seeing what we can do.”
According to Barnett, Denison will play the ‘Dribble Drive’ type of offense. He noted that it is like ‘organized street ball.’ High school players today ‘love’ this style, he added.
“Everyone is playing it; John Calapari (the University of Kentucky) made it popular,” said Barnett. “Denton Ryan uses it; so does McKinney in our area.”
Barnett explained that the ‘Dribble Drive’ offense is one of few passes. There are no plays where team members pass the ball around six or eight times, he noted.
“It’s a ‘Do it Now’ offense,” said Barnett. “It’s simple and it fits well with our athletes. You don’t hold the ball. It’s a fast paced offense; we’re not going to wait to shoot. We will get it to our best players as fast as possible.”
Barnett also said that the Jackets would employ an ‘athletic aggressive’ defensive scheme.
“We will have that aggressive mentality; we will press; we will trap,” he explained. “And we will get up and down the court.”
With official practice just starting, Barnett doesn’t have much time to build his team before the first scrimmage against Melissa on Nov. 3. The following Saturday, Sherman and Paris will join Melissa in a joint scrimmage at Denison. Then, the games begin with perennial Class 3A powerhouse Burkburnett on Nov. 13; and a trip to Byron Nelson Nov. 19 to face Curran for the second year in a row.
The Yellow Jackets will participate in three tournaments in December including Sanger, Durant and Sherman. The traditional McKinney tournament has been canceled, Barnett noted.
“We thought it would be easy to replace it with the Sanger tournament – this will be the first year we send our varsity – but who do we draw in the first game? Denton Ryan!” said Barnett incredulously.
Then, the Jackets begin District 13-4A play on Dec. 18 at Royse City. Since there are eight teams in the district, there will be a ‘home-and-away’ schedule for 14 games this season. Barnett understands how tough the district will be.
“Most of the schools don’t rely on football players to make their rosters; so they are practicing almost year around with their players,” explained Barnett. “It is a competitive district; there will be no easy teams. Every game will be a battle.”
Barnett conceded that Lucas Lovejoy is probably the district frontrunner, but Wylie East and McKinney North are strong contenders.
“Wylie East has those two tall receivers from football on their team,” said Barnett. “And McKinney started four sophomores last season; they will be better this year.”
For now, Barnett will practice with the players he has while the team waits for football to conclude. The smaller schools in the district – Denison, Sherman and Greenville –have to rely on football athletes to round out their rosters, according to Barnett.
“But I like their toughness and what they bring to the game,” he added.
With that in mind, Barnett is ready to improve in his second season as Denison coach.
“We are going to work hard and play our style of basketball,” he said. “I can’t wait for the first game.”