Genesis Hoops – Much More Than Basketball…
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Hardwork paying dividends for Danny Weinmann in her senior year at Vista Murrieta. She’s been hard at work this pre-season with the Genesis professional skill development team preparing for a great year. She and her Bronco’s team are starting to hit a stride and the Press Enterprise among others have taken notice. Keep up the good work Danny!
Check out the full PE article here: http://www.pe.com/articles/points-822514-huskies-murrieta.html
If you are expecting big things from yourself and your team this coming basketball season, be sure to read the following list of 3 critical items you, as a player, should be doing, and leading your teammates to do by example:
Finally, remember that we are what we habitually do. Focus on creating good habits and good results will be a natural outcome. If you want this season to be your best yet, begin your path to success now…No Excuses!
If you been paying attention to Corona’s Roosevelt High School boys basketball program lately, its easy to get the feeling that something very positive is brewing, and that the 2014-2015 season could be a very special year. With a coaching transition in 2013, the program, now under head coach Vonn Webb, is all about mentality! In fact coach Webb makes sure that the motto is visible in as many places as possible… It’s posted on his office walls, on team gear, and the team’s website, www.mentalitybasketball.com. Coach believes it is more than just a catchy motto or slogan, it sets the tone for the right way to approach the game of basketball and life. After sitting down with him for just a few minutes, you get quickly emersed in his passion and enthusiasm for developing athletes on and off the court. Check out his commentary below on his coaching approach, season outlook, and pointers for younger players, full of great nuggets for success.
What is your overall coaching philosophy?
My philosophy is having the right mentality. Mentality Basketball. But it’s not just basketball. The right mentality encompasses everything you do to be successful…it’s what it takes to be successful. Diligence, great character, developing an incredible work ethic, being a good person, being a good teammate, academically being on top of your responsibilities on a consistent basis, not falling behind, not making excuses, getting this done the way they are supposed to be done, treating people the way they should be treated. It’s all encompassing. It’s a mantra of how to live your life as a whole. Success is not always about winning or losing, it’s about being a good person, doing the right things, and putting your best foot forward. Character building is a major part of having the right mentality…doing the right things when nobody else is looking, not just when someone is watching or the cameras are on. It’s also important to know how to resolve conflict when it arises. Many players are talented, but they don’t know how to treat others or communicate with their teammates to help everyone improve. We want them to know how to handle conflict.
What are some of the ways that you try to convey the message of having “the right mentality”?
I lead by example. I am honest with my players and I don’t BS them about the game, their abilities, or about life. I always keep it real with them, and try to give them real life experiences to teach them more about what it means to have the right mentality. Our team has worked with the Special Olympics, volunteered with Tom’s Farms during the holidays, and during out-of-state tournaments we have volunteered at the local Children’s Hospital. This helps them to realize the blessings they have, but also helps them see that no matter what circumstances you have in life, it takes the right mentality to get through it. Some people may have limitations, but they don’t act like it and you wouldn’t know it, because they have the right mentality. It teaches that life isn’t just about you, it’s also about everyone around you, and it’s important to be as selfless as possible, and do the best you can to help everyone (teammates, family, etc.) be the best they can be. It helps you mature and grow.
Being a former College Coach, how do you prepare your players for the next level?
I run my practices like a college practice. I want them to be prepared for the level of intensity, mentally and physically. We have a challenging schedule. We condition and/or practice everyday starting at 5:45am. Depending on the school schedule we also have 6th period 2-3 days a week for conditioning and/or skill development. We also study film. And then after school we have weights 4-5 days a week, and then we have practice after that. On Saturdays, 2-3 times a month, we have a skills enhancement coach that works with them on their balance, explosions, footwork, etc. So it’s a college schedule. Our schedule is so rigorous and so demanding, that they have no choice but to be focused. And if they fall behind in school, they can’t be here. I’m serious about the academics. I say all the time, I don’t care how good you are, if you can’t get it done in the classroom, nobody will know how good you are on the floor.
Being a new Coach at Roosevelt as of last year, how did you get your players to buy-in to your philosophy and coaching style?
They may have thought I was crazy last year, but I told them I want to compete, and be the best we can be, and have one of the most respected and recognized programs in the state…if not the nation. I have a great staff, who have all proven themselves in the field. We are not perfect, but I expect us to work our butts off to be the best we can be. I push them, but at the same time my door is always open to parents, players, everyone. Last year, we had the best win/loss record the school has ever had. I think they realize that when I am tough on them, it’s not personal. It’s my job to help them be better and get to the next level.
What is your perspective on the potential for this year’s team?
First, I want everyone to be healthy. A few players have had injuries, or are coming back from an injury. With everyone being healthy, I think we can compete with the best. Centennial, who is one of the top teams in the nation is in our league, and they set the standard right now. They have good players, and the coach does a good job with them. King is a perennially good team, Santiago is always tough, Etiwanda, North, all are really good teams. But we are not afraid to compete with anybody we see. The IE has some of the best basketball in the state, so it’s going to be competitive, but I think it’s up to us to bring our best, throw the ball up, and let the best team win. This year we have a better mental approach for the season, and are better able to compete at a high level…mentally and physically. This year’s team isn’t afraid to show up, play, and compete. My second year here, the players know me and my philosophy, and what our goals are for the season.
What type of player do you want to come play for you?
I want kids that want to work hard to win. Kids who want to be a part of the mentality that we support.
How can younger kids prepare themselves?
Don’t be afraid to work hard. Be disciplined. Have a strong work ethic. We want kids who are confident, not cocky. We want kids who aren’t looking to be given anything, but want to earn it. You got to have heart.
What skills can kids work on?
Genesis Hoops would like to thank coach Webb for sharing his thoughts and insights with us. For those that don’t know coach Webb, here’s a little more information about his coaching background:
Coach Von Webb has been coaching for over 30 years, having coached at the Jr. High, High School, and College level throughout his career. He led the Easton Washington Union High School Varsity team to 2 State Championships, where he coached NBA players Chris Jeffries and Deshawn Stephenson. After serving as Asst. Coach of Fresno State, and Associate Head Coach at UC Riverside, Coach Webb took a brief break and began coaching in the private sector. Fortunately, last year he returned as a top High School Coach to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Corona, where he is steadily building a program that rivals the best around. Many recruiters have said it is one of the few high school programs that mirrors the intensity and training level of a college program.
Check out this video from a recent pre-season practice.
We caught up with Centennial’s Varsity Coach, Joshua Giles, to pick his brain about the upcoming season, and after sitting through a practice it is clear that Centennial is ready to bring the intensity, focus, and effort needed to be one of the best teams around this year. Check out some of the great insights Coach Giles shared with us…
Give us an overview of your time at Centennial and the things that stand out the most to you.
This is my 12th year at Centennial. Out of the 11 previous years, we’ve won 8 league Championships. We went to 2 CIF Finals, and won 1, and 2 Southern CA Regional Finals, and won 1. In my time here we’ve had 249 Wins, 81 losses. In 2011 we finished 15th in the country, and our record was 30-5. But our whole team was seniors, so we graduated everybody. So in 2012 all the guys who are seniors on this team now, were freshmen then. So we had 8 freshmen on the team that year, and they had to play…we started 4 freshmen almost every game. I think we were 9-16 that year. Five of those players are still here, and they have been awesome. That first year we kind of took a whooping from everybody, but the next year we went 26-3, and last year 29-4. And they’ve just gotten progressively better. It says a lot about them as kids and as competitors, to come in as freshmen and play that many minutes and really, you know, get your butt kicked, and then to work hard and come back the way they have. We just need them to do it for one more year. We’ve got some really, really good players. We try to play as tough a schedule as possible. I know some people disagree with that, and kind of lighten their schedules. I just think that if you want to be good, and you want to be the best, you’ve got to play the best and you’ve got to beat the best. I don’t think you can be the best if you play a soft schedule and beat up on people that you are better than. It’s about finding a way to win those tough games.
We have 11 tournament games that are going to be really hard. Our league games are always tough, because there are some really good coaches/teams in our league. They are always well prepared for us, so our league is always a challenge.
What returning players and/or newcomers are you excited about and how do you feel they can contribute this year?
Sedrick Barefield – He has really turned a corner as far as maturity and intelligence. He is playing at a high level and could really lead this team if he keeps doing it.
Khalil Ahmad – He’s a senior committed to Cal State Fullerton. He’s a leader that is ready to have a breakout year.
Ike Anigbodu – A 6’9 Junior who gets better everyday. He is Big and physical.
Jalen Hill- A 6’8 sophomre. His size and athleticism can make a difference.
Having had such a great run during your time as Coach here, what is your perspective on this year’s team and how they measure up?
For this team you have to use that “scary word”…potential. Because potential just means you haven’t done it yet. But I think we have the potential to be one of the best teams, if not the best. The potential for that is there, but we’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got a lot of stuff to do to get there. But the potential is definitely there…so that’s big.
I started coaching at Centennial at age 24. Dennis Pratt, the AD who hired me, told me straight up, “I’m not hiring you for the coach you are at 24, I’m hiring you for the coach I think you could become one day.” He thought I was too young at the time, but he didn’t want me to go anywhere else. I’m still in touch with him all the time. At the time, if you think about it, Centennial was already a really good program, and he kind of stuck his neck out there hiring a guy that was so young. I’ve always been kind of indebted to him. The first couple year, it was kind of a struggle. It took some time. I had an idea of what I wanted to do here with the program, and we had to take a bunch of steps backward to go forward. But thank goodness it happened. We’ve had some amazing leaders/players come through this program. My 4th year was my first senior class, and we won CIF. It was a big sigh of relief. We just had to keep building upon it.
What is your coaching philosophy regarding winning/losing?
We actually never talk about winning or losing. We stress getting better everyday and playing to the best of our abilities. If we can do those things, the winning and losing will take care of itself.
How do you motivate your players and encourage them to fight through adversity?
Nothing comes easy. Anything worth fighting for is going to be difficult and you will face challenges. What separates champions from mediocre people is the champions embrace the adversity and get better, while others quit.
Other than talent, what characteristics do you look for in younger players looking to play for you?
I think every year, the fundamentals of the freshmen that come in, get worse and worse than the year before. It’s like we have completely gotten away from fundamental basketball. I mean, if you turn on Sports Center, they’re not showing you a jump stop, that leads to a two handed chest pass, that leads to an easy lay up. You’re seeing the windmills. So kids have all these unbelievable moves, but they can’t see man and ball, basic things. You would think you were speaking Greek. I don’t want to sound like an old fart, but I really think the fundamentals are deteriorating, and it’s noticeable. Basic basketball terminology. But the trainers who are teaching fundamentals to the younger kids, it’s huge. I’ve been able to develop a really good network of college coaches, and one of them sent me a video of a trainer doing/teaching these huge crossovers, and the coach said, “This is what we have to deal with now”. It’s like, when are you ever going to use that? People are teaching these kids how to play at the park…not how to play in a regular game. Travel ball games are a necessity…I get it. But when you get to high school and college, you have to run a system. So as a coach I want to know can you make a jump stop? Can you see man-and-ball? Do you know how to help the helper? Can you box out? Some of the basic things they don’t know. So we spend a lot of time with the incoming kids teaching fundamentals than we ever have. So having the fundamentals is key. It’s something that we really look at.
What are the character traits that appeal to you most about a player?
If you give me a group of tough guys, they don’t have to be the most skilled, but if you give me some tough guys, we are going to win. We try to instill that toughness. During practice we don’t take water breaks. I know that’s kind of old school. They can go get water, but if they miss a drill because they are getting water, we are going to be on the line. We don’t do water breaks, we don’t do break time, we don’t take naps. It’s go, go, go. From one drill to the next we have 4 seconds, and that next drill starts. There’s no down time. For most of the drills we don’t play out of bounds. We want them to get into that mind frame of “you don’t stop until you hear a whistle.” And I don’t bring a whistle to practice. So we don’t stop. We keep going, and we want to carry that onto the floor when we play. I want that fine line of guys, who are enthusiastic about their goals, because they can accomplish a lot of stuff. That’s what we try to instill in their practice. At practice you may hear me say, “This ain’t the library!” Because we want it loud and intense. That’s why we never go over 2 hours. If I can’t get it out of you in 2 hours, then we try again tomorrow. We do 2-a-days all throughout the year. They’re in the gym at 7:15am, first period basketball, until 8:30am, then after school 4-6pm. So we do individual work in the morning, and team stuff after school. We want to instill in our players that you have to be willing to something that the other guy is not. And if we are willing to make the sacrifice that the other guy is not, then that should give us a bit of an advantage. Give me a tough, unselfish kid, and we are going to win a lot of games. Those guys will always find their way on the floor. Coaches love those guys.
One last piece of advice for younger players?
Understand that the people that are hardest on you are probably the people who care the most.
Check out video below of Centennial in action during a pre-season practice:
Shortly after opening in 1999, Martin Luther King High School became a Riverside County basketball darling, winning a host of league championships, CIF divisional titles, and a State championship, under the direction of former head coach Tim Sweeney. This year his former assistant, coach Jeffery Dietz has taken over the ranes and aims to build on their great tradition of success. His talented roster of emerging players will surely turn some heads this season in their pursuit to hang another championship banner in the gym. Many know King as the former stomping ground of NBA players like Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) and Tony Snell (Bulls), but this class is looking to make a name for themselves. Coach Dietz admits that they are a young group who still needs to be battle tested, but they are anxious for game day. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us below. Be sure to check out his responses and the Wolves this season.
We have several underclassmen that are really going to help our team succeed. As a whole we are young group.
Youth vs Experience
Work hard and give good effort – success will follow
We use the big picture concept. Neither success or failure are final – the group just need sto stay focused on playing hard and for each other.
Seeing the kids grow and develop as a team is always rewarding
Learn how to play good ball defense. Contain your player!
Pre-Season Series – Jurupa Valley High School
This series highlights the programs of various Inland Empire basketball teams, coaches, and programs, offering a rare glimpse into the methods and philosophies of programs that are working hard at being GREAT…on the court, in training, and in life. Stay tuned as we continue to highlight teams, and root for them during their upcoming seasons. Be Great!
Genesis Hoops is putting a spotlight on the Jurupa Valley High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team. Since 1989, they have won 3 League Championships, and are looking to win another. Focused on hard work, and fundamental training, we were impressed with their program, coaching and players.
We had a chance to catch up with the Boys Varsity Coach, Mark Gard, to discuss his thoughts about the outlook for the Jaguars’ upcoming 2014-15 basketball season. Check out some of his great responses below (scroll to bottom for video):
Damian Givens – Sophomore, Guard ; Alex Ortiz – Senior, Guard; Edwin Leyva – Senior, Guard. All are good shooters and returning contributors from last season’s squad. Newcomers would be Andrew Morales – Freshman and Justin Francis – transfer Freshman.
Maturity. We were very young last season with very limited outside shooting capabilities.
We have never been a program only concerned with winning/losing. We teach basketball and life skills, and hopefully how to be successful. If you are successful in endeavors undertaken, wins will come along.
By constantly reminding them that all fail, but to look at failure as a temporary setback to be overcome in the future, while working hard to not repeat the same mistakes.
All the players I’ve had the privilege to be a part of their growth from teens to adults.
Don’t think you know it all. Be a student of the game constantly trying to improve your game physically and mentally. Also, have fun, it is a game.
About Coach Mark Gard
Coach Gard has proven longevity and impact over his impressive coaching career. He has been the Boys Varsity Coach at Jurupa Valley High School since the school opened in 1989, but previously coached at Long Beach Wilson High School, Avalon High School, and Riverside Poly High School, where his dad was the Coach during the High School career of Riverside legend and NBA Hall of Famer, Reggie Miller. Coach Gard is assisted by Coach John Gorham (father of Norte Vista High School Boys Varsity Head Coach, Geoff Gorham), and together they bring a critically important fundamental approach to player and team development. Watch and listen to this video taken at a preseason practice, in which coach Gard discusses their goal this year of finishing among the top 3 in their league and making the playoffs. He also throws in some interesting details about his basketball background and motivation for coaching.