KINGMAN – As some of his players left the locker room with red eyes and heads down, coach Nick Juby stayed and talked with his team an hour after the game: picking up their spirits in what has been a week filled with adversity.
The fans of Kingman High School boys’ basketball are not going to get shortchanged this year with their team’s effort on the court, or by the effort of second-year head coach Juby. This, after a 70-36 loss to Lee Williams Friday night on their home court. In fact, Juby relishes overcoming adversity.
Juby teaches his players that the ability to execute the simplest things on the court will carry over to life with the game being the greatest teacher. He wants to impart life’s greatest lessons on the court for those who play for him. He doesn’t worry about who he has in the lineup that night, all he cares about is that his players play hard, limit mistakes and D-Up, (guard their man).
With so much of the season left and time off in the upcoming week – Juby is encouraged to receive three players back soon, and believes his team will be OK. He must get his players to believe they will be good to go if they are to have any chance of making it to the playoffs this season. He knows that for a few missed chip shots at the bucket, and a couple of three pointers that didn’t go in the second quarter they could have been up or tied at the half. Who knows how the game turns out in the second half?
“I always tell them if they do three things we will be in every game, and probably win,” Juby said. “D- Up, knock shots down, and don’t turn the ball over. ”
Juby will have his starting five that has played 38 games together so cohesiveness is their greatest asset. In the third quarter of Friday night’s game against the bigger, much-improved 4A school of Lee Williams, the Bulldogs defense left them and their offense went on vacation as they scored only 18 second half points to turn a 24-18 halftime score into a rout.
“I like that we have guys who have played so many games together. That’s hard to replicate. I think that little chemistry those five guys have when they play together is awesome.”
After shocking a lot of teams last season with eight wins, don’t look for teams to take them lightly this season. After going 8-19 last season, Juby is pointing to his team bonding over break and playing in a basketball tournament in Las Vegas on Dec. 27-28, at Desert Oasis High School. All this in hopes of his team being ready for conference play.
Juby wants to play the tougher teams to get his player’s battle tested and ready to make a push for the tournament at the end of the season. Last season’s tournament didn’t leave a good taste in his team’s mouth, yet he sees a silver lining in the clouds.
“Last year we played these teams in the tournament and got crushed,” Juby said. “I noticed a big difference in our team last year after break and that tournament. “I’m a kind of glass is half-full type of guy,” Juby said. “I like that we have some expectations this season.
Those expectations will be met if they remember his first rule as coach: D- Up.
The Bulldogs return to the hardwood Wednesday at home when the Parker Broncs come to town for a 7 p.m. tip.
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