Friday, September 18th I landed in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to begin my journey working at Florida Coastal Prep. The flight was smooth but the weather was mediocre as the last remains of Hurricane Sally could be seen everywhere. This included standing water, debris from uprooted trees, siding and roofs damaged from the storm.
I made my way down to the beach (about 300 feet from the front door of my condo). The surf was still rough but you can see such potential once the weather clears and the sun really begins to shine.
On Saturday I met the other coaches. Lee DeForest, Paul Peck, Chase Langston, Vando Bechelli, Dmitry Utolin and of course yours truly, The Texas Adidas Man.
There's a great blend of youth and experience at every level, including the two internationals (Utolin-Russian) and (Bechelli-Brazilian).
Saturday night the 6 coaches were up past midnight arranging the condos so that each two bedroom unit had 2 twin beds for each "pod". It required the removal of king beds and then assembly of the twins. Suffice it to say that none of us was a competent furniture assembler.
Sunday the players began to arrive from noon to 6 pm. 23 guys with big dreams. The parents helped them move into their rooms which surpass 90% of the college dorms I've ever seen. The guys are ocean front on a beautiful beach in expensive condos. Every amenity they'll need are there including one of our weight rooms, a spa and a steam/sauna.
Monday to Wednesday were evaluations. For us coaches we learned the players names, evaluated what they were good at and where they needed improvement. Our day consisted of breakfast, shooting, small group training (ball handling), plyometrics and wegihts. We broke for lunch about 2 pm and then went into scrimmage mode for two additional hours in the afternoon.
Did I mention the chef? Yes, we have our own chef. No cereal and milk or cold cuts for the guys at Florida Coastal Prep. Chef Ryan was the Chef for the Governor's Mansion in Illinois for 11 years. His food dishes this first week have been amazing.
We have a extensive travel schedule that will see us do multiple trips from our home base in the Panhandle of Florida to Miami, Orlando and Tampa. We will also head out of State to Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. The players will travel in style in our 40 passenger conversion bus.
Complete with reclining leather seats, USB outlets and screens that will display movies they'll travel in style and comfort. And for the coaches we have 8 seats facing each other with tables in between so we can work while traveling.
Wednesday we lightened the mood by having competitions. First we conducted our three point shooting competition.
The winner was Ruben Littlehead of Lawrence, Kansas/Lawrence HS. He bested Jack Hatten of Bakersfield, California/Garces Memorial HS. Third place went to KD Jolly of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma/Putnam City HS. Looks like there's no shortage of shooters among our squad.
The One On One competition was won by Garry Clark of St. Louis, MO/Cardinal Ritter who were State Champs in Missouri. The 6'7" Clark is tough off the bounce, has a nice stroke and can handle it as well. He bested Terrian Roy of Ville Platte, Louisiana/Ville Platte HS in the finals. Third place went to Chris Herbort of Dayton, Ohio/Beavercreek HS.
Periodically during the season we will conduct additional competitions as practice only can become redundant.