Marist Captains Picked Good Teacher
BY RYAN RESTIVO, NYCBUCKETS.COM
In order to become the next head basketball coach at Marist, coaching candidates not only had to ace the interview with athletic director Tim Murray, but with the players as well. Over the course of a month, coaches toured the facility and met the team making their case why they should be the next head coach.
Towards the end of April, they met with Jeff Bower then-coaching candidate and the one thing seniors Adam Kemp and Jay Bowie, and junior Chavaughn Lewis noticed right away was Bower’s level of organization.
“The first time he met us he just he hit us with statistics,” Kemp said that Bower laid out tables, statistics and charts all over in their initial meeting. “It was just a high level of organization that we saw right away.”
Kemp said he knew that his coach kept a ranking of every player in the MAAC, but he said he hasn’t seen it yet.
Junior Chavaughn Lewis (right) scrimmages against fellow classmate T.J. Curry (left) during the Red-White game. (courtesy: Marist Athletics)
“He seemed like a guy of great character,” Lewis said. ” He’s striving for the same thing that I’m striving for and that we’re striving for as a team collectively. We were head hunting for the same success.”
As a group, none had ever been in the position they were sitting in during the month long process to find a new coach. Countless coaches visited the campus and interviewed for the job during the process. The players were encouraged from what they heard from other coaches on their program’s talent.
“All the coaches in the interview emphasized that we had a really good team coming back,” Bowie said, while Lewis added that it helped seeing others assess their talent and that allowed them to understand who they are now as a team.
Last season the Red Foxes showed signs of being a competitive team, winning five of their final seven regular season games. However, mental lapses plagued the team throughout the year and resulted in a large number of close losses. Marist lost six games decided by four points or fewer over the course of the 2013 season, while also enduring offensive woes – the low of which was a 37 point performance in 57 possessions in a 34-point loss at Fairfield.
“There were definitely times last year when we just really didn’t play good basketball,” Kemp said. “I just think the biggest difference that there is from this year to last year is just the commitment to being a good basketball team.”
Early in his tenure Bower has emphasized harnessing individual pieces into team success, a message that Lewis knew that their group did not embrace during last year’s 10-21 effort.
“We didn’t play together last year. We weren’t a team,” Lewis said. “This year we’re going to be more of a team, the way we play the game is going to be more team based.”
The largest difference between practices, the captains said – other than the overall attention the team has paid – has been Bower’s teaching. Jay Bowie first noticed that skill during practice.
“He’s a great teacher,” Bowie said. “If we’re doing something wrong he’ll tell us to stop and he’ll explain it really slowly, but in a way that makes a lot of sense, and then we can just work on that.”
“The main problem that we had when Chuck [Martin] was a head [coach], as a team collectively we all weren’t buying in to what he was trying to teach,” said Lewis of the difference between last year’s practices and practice under Bower. “I think that’s the difference in this season and everybody is starting to buy in.”