Basketball athletes

Athletes and men’s basketball coach share thoughts on regional success – The Allen Flame

The Allen County Boys Basketball team, led by head coach Andy Shaw, won the first regional championship in 24 years. The team persevered with a difficult start to the season and returned after the Christmas break with a stronger defensive team than ever. I was able to meet Coach Shaw and three of the team’s athletes (Ed Wright, Brayden Thompson and Nick Whittick) to ask them their opinion on the 2021-2022 season.

Question: “How long have you been coaching at Allen, and did you coach before Allen?”

Coach Shaw: “I’ve been with Allen for eleven years, I was an assistant my first year and then a head coach the last ten years. Before Allen, I was at Oklahoma State; I played at Oklahoma State for two years. I been a student assistant for a year and then a graduate assistant for the last two years, so I spent a total of five years in Oklahoma State where… I got my master’s degree.

Question: “Since it’s been so long since the last championship, do you think there’s anything you’ve done differently this season that has led to the team’s regional success?”

Coach Shaw: “Yes, I think the main reason for our success has been our defense. It’s the best defensive team I’ve had in my ten years as a head coach. We finished as the fifth-best defense in Division II of the NJCAA in terms of points allowed in games. I think that was the main reason; that our defense was the best it’s ever been. We limited our opponents to 62 points per game.

Question: “What changes for this season do you think have really pushed your team towards regional success?

Ed Wright: “The turnaround after the Christmas break, after we came back and played conference games, we realized that we were one of the best defensive and fundamentally strong teams in our conference. So we looked at that and realized that we could make an effort for the regionals this year and we did. I feel like we succeeded [in] our goal and we did what we had to do.

Brayden Thompson: “Last season there was a lot of negativity and selfish basketball between a lot of us. I feel like when we got rid of the most selfish and cancerous pieces for us, we came together and had better chemistry [as a team].”

Nick Whittic: “I… think overall the aura and the whole program has changed. Expectations have changed, new guys have helped us and the guys who have come back have grown a lot since our difficult season.

Question: “What are your favorite memories of this season? »

Wright: “Personally, when we won the regional championship. When I saw the referees waving their hands… I just collapsed and screamed like ‘Oh my god it’s over, we’ve done it’. As for the group, when we played against Neosho at Neosho, that game was crazy. It was just a lot of standout pieces and I feel like we were all really on trend, we felt really good about ourselves.

Whittic: “[Firstly,] Winning our region was probably one of the best moments ever and every home game was fun. Especially in our playoffs and at the end of the year, our fans were great.

Question: “How do you think your teamwork has evolved from the start of the season to the end of the season?”

Wright: “At the start of the season we still had new guys, we were still trying to figure out what line-up worked best. I feel like later in the season we realized what our roles were, so the coach just figured out where to put us in the right place for us to have a good year.

Thompson: “I feel like we developed that a lot because we always pushed to get along as a team and work as a team, last year we never really had [that]… By imposing that we had to put the team first so early on, it really helped us in the long run. Do everything for whoever is next to you, for your team, for your brother, and do it first.

Whittic: “It has evolved a lot. At the start of the season we played a lot of jamborees and we didn’t play very well, but then our season started… We started three and three and just took off from there. “

Question: “Do you have any advice for freshmen or any other incoming players?”

Wright: “The most important thing I would say [players] enter college; confidence is easily the key… If you have confidence in your game, people will respect you… This will fall into place if you have confidence in yourself.

Thompson: “Just join and follow what the second graders tell you…Join the team and…stay on the team.”

Whittic: “Work hard and stay on your notes. Do what the coaches tell you, they’re never hard on you because they don’t like you, they’re hard on you because they want to get the best out of you.

With many sophomores returning next season to play for their COVID year, things look promising. Coaches and athletes are excited for the coming seasons and hope to continue their victories.

Amar’e Cooper

Whittick stands at attention as he