New BLHS hoops coach lays the foundation
New Basehor-Linwood head boys basketball coach Mike McBride's tenure officially began July 21 when his hosted his first summer camp with the team.
Coming from a school roughly half of the size of BLHS and knowing nothing about the team he was inheriting, there was cause for concern. But McBride said there was never a point where he was nervous about his new team.
"I've been around a lot of different kids so I was definitely excited in the sense of starting something new and accepting the challenge," he said. "The challenge is the big thing with me -- I love the challenge. It doesn't matter who we have or how we're supposed to be."
Assistant coach Chad Harvey said McBride demanded, and got, respect from the moment he stepped in.
"Players are responding really well, they're working hard," he said. "Discipline is going to be the big thing with this team. I like that. I'm a discipline kind of guy and he coaches the same way I do. It's going to be a big thing with this team and I think they'll respond really well to it."
Coming off a 2-19 season, the Bobcats were looking for a coach to rebuild the program. McBride said he has extensive experience with teams looking to rebound from losing seasons. He played for a team in high school that went from 2-19 to 14-9 and performed a similar turnaround at his previous position at Licking High School in Missouri and believes this Basehor team has more talent.
"At Licking High School, I went in there to rebuild and we really started from scratch there," he said. "We didn't have that much athleticism, we didn't have anybody doing anything. So as far as moving in here, I've been very pleased in the sense of we do have some athletes, we do have some height, we have some people who can get up and down the floor and we have some ball-handlers."
Despite the big change at the top, the style of play to be employed by the Bobcats will at least be familiar. McBride prefers an up-tempo style of play that will require a large effort from the team.
"We like to get up and down the floor, we try to run secondary break every time we come up the floor," he said. "High pressure, intense, on the ball defense and try to cause some turnovers and wear the other team out by the end of the game and see what we can accomplish with that."
Harvey said in addition to the talent McBride inherited, he has a team that fits into his ideas about basketball.
"We've always been a run-and-gun kind of team and he's a run-and-gun kind of coach," he said. "So they're used to that, they're used to pushing the ball up the floor and that's not going to change. He kind of came into a good situation with the speed we have on this team. Our strength is starting to get there, but it's not really going to be that big of a change for these guys."
Despite his fondness for the run-and-gun style of play, McBride admitted with this team he would be willing to scrap the style against teams that were quicker than the Bobcats.
"We might have to grind some games out this year and that's something I've never had to do, but in the past when I've rebuilt programs, we've started from dead scratch," he said. "We've got some talent here that can win, so we'll probably do whatever it takes to win."
The one area McBride said was a concern is the team's defense, which he said needs to improve if the Bobcats are going to be able to hang around against tougher teams in the league.
"We're not really good right now at taking lay-ups away and in big games during the season, the team that scores the most lay-ups is generally the team that's going to win," he said. "You've got three-point shooters and everybody likes to shoot the three but really if you want to look at the stats and watch the tape, the team that scores the most lay-ups wins."
Despite not being nervous about coaching a new team, McBride said he was concerned how his high-intensity practices and style would affect players' morale.
"Probably the only thing I was a little nervous about was how the kids were going to react to me," he said. "The big thing is when you come in and rebuild, as hard as I make these kids work in my program, the only thing I'm always nervous about is kids quitting. That's probably the thing you try to guard against more than anything."
But considering his track record with rebuilding teams and depending on the team's reaction to his style, this upcoming season could be a huge improvement for the Bobcats.
"Overall the reaction is I'm probably not a very big guy but at the same time I think they realize what I'm about and what I'm going to expect," McBride said. "They've definitely given me the respect that is needed to get this thing turned around."