By Taylor Lockard
The Clopton boys basketball team has a coaching transition they will have to adjust to in this season, as their new head coach is Tony Francis.
When asked about the transition into becoming the new head coach, Francis told the Press-Journal, “I am making this transition with much enthusiasm and the players have shown the same approach. We all have to learn each other and develop trust and that takes time. I genuinely love these young men and I appreciate their approach to practice every day. As we focus on the basic fundamentals of the game and the required intangibles it takes to play at a high level, we will keep things very simple initially.”
Francis is focusing on causing his team to grow on a daily basis. “This sounds like coach speak, but our goal is to simply want to find a way to get better every day,” he said. “I am focused on teaching the men how to learn from mistakes and apply those lessons in the steps of improvement.”
In the first half of the season, Francis said he expects his team “to be all learning and adjusting to new systems and my coaching style, while they continue to learn each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Once they hit the second half of the season; however, “It is their intention to play at a very competitive level,” he said. The team’s record last year was 7-17. While Francis expects a couple of team leaders to show themselves in the first half of the season, he is a firm believer that every member of the team plays an important role. He coached the Clopton girls softball team earlier this year with that same mind-set and is taking that approach onto the basketball court as well, saying he believes that “every member of the team has an opportunity to lead in some form.”
As for the team’s biggest challenge this season, Francis said there will be two the team must accomplish. First, “It will be them learning the new system,” and second, they will need to be “staying confident through mistakes.” At a Jamboree in Elsberry on Wednesday, Nov. 14, Francis said he “played all 13 men evenly so I could get a good idea of what we need to work on, etc. Equal playing time is now over. We played hard and I liked some of the glimpses of tenacity we displayed.” The first game is Monday, Nov. 26 at the Montgomery County Invitational.
The team’s first home game will be on Dec. 14 against Mark Twain with the first tip off of at 5:30 p.m.
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