PHCC men enter season optimistic

November 8, 2013

The Patrick Henry Community College men’s basketball team this season is looking to build upon its 11-13 record in 2012-13, and for Coach Kenny Wade, the drive to a winning season starts with a new approach.1380313_662291467135809_51932131_n

This year, Wade decided to take his team out of the gym to participate in some non-traditional exercises to get ready for the season. He said he was happy with the results.

“The team is coming along really fine,” Wade said. “What we did in the preseason is I went and got a book on Navy SEAL training, and we put the team through some of their training methods. We worked out in the sand over on the volleyball court, and just did stuff to build team chemistry. Team togetherness, I think, helps build closeness with us on the basketball court, because in crunch time you have to stay focused and believe in your teammates.”

Wade saw four of his players from last year move on, and this season has brought in 10 new players. To get his team to improve, Wade is looking at two of his starters and returning players to lead. He also wants them to help the team grow on and off the court.

“I’m looking at my point guard, Daquan Kerman; I’m looking at him to constantly grow and continue to be a leader for this basketball team,” Wade said. “Also a local guy in Latrell Wells, I’m looking for his maturity on this basketball team. All my returners actually. I want all of those guys to be great leaders, and to help these young guys grow and mature throughout the season.”

As for his new players, Wade wants to see them take pride in their work on the court and see their play rise above the level where they were playing last season.

“I want my new guys to focus on being great learners and students of the game,” Wade said. “They need to be willing to learn, willing to listen and work hard each and every day. That’s what I’m looking for in those guys, and I think everything will take care of itself if we can get what I’m looking for in my players.”

The improvement Wade wants to see from his athletes is not just what they do on the court physically, but also in the mental aspect of the game.

“That’s something I tell the guys all the time,” Wade said. “I always tell them the game is 85 percent mental and 15 percent physical. So the mental part is huge and something that I constantly preach to them at all times: ‘Keep your mind right and stay focused.’”

Like his players, the work doesn’t end for Wade off the court. He and his staff are constantly looking for new talent. With players able to stay only two years at the junior college level, replacing full rosters is a constant struggle Wade and his staff face.

“We hit the recruiting trail a lot and in order to get the players we want. We have to work hard and hope for some luck — that’s pretty much how you do it,” he said. “But the reality is, at any two-year school you’re going to have a lot of turnover, and it’s hard to build a foundation with a two-year school because you don’t have as much time to develop.”

Although Wade is excited about his team’s potential, he knows there is always room for improvement and wants the team to get better at one of the most basic aspects of the game. That’s hitting free throws at a much higher percentage than last season.

“We need to get better at shooting free throws,” Wade said. “That’s one of the biggest things with us. In our second game, we went 33-of-58 from the line, so we definitely got to get better, and I think that’s going to come with guys being mentally focused. I don’t think it has much to do with their form or technique; it’s the mental aspect of it. That’s one of the things we have to work on, and each player has to do it their own way.”

With a win in their season-opener Friday on a winning 3-pointer, the Patriots have gotten off to a promising start this season. However, Wade knows that his team has to stay together as a unit and grow, something he believes the Patriots didn’t do a good enough job of a year ago.

“I’m looking to see this team come out here and grow each and every day. Be competitive and play together, that’s what I’m looking for, and if we get that we’ll be a top-tier team this season,” Wade said. “I see guys that are willing to learn together, and that’s what we missed last year. We had individuals, we didn’t have a team concept. But this year we’re more team oriented.”

Filed under: Men's Basketball