Photo by Gabriel Stovall
Seniors Brandon Clyde (left) and David White are two of just three seniors who have helped keep a young Drew team in playoff contention one season removed from playing in the Class AAA state championship game.
RIVERDALE — Want a quick gauge to know if Drew coach Jarrod Davis is happy?
“As long as he’s yelling, he’s good,” Drew guard Brandon Clyde said. “When he’s not yelling, something is definitely wrong.”
Backcourt mate David White agreed.
“When he’s talking, we know that we’re doing alright,” White said. “So the goal is to keep coach talking.”
With just three seniors returning from a team that made it to the Class AAA finals last season, Davis said he initially thought he’d have to do quite a bit of teaching, correcting coercing, you know, talking, to get this young team together.
But midway through the season, Davis said he saw something change in his team.
“It’s funny. I thought I would have to be more of a nurturer, take them through the process of having to coddle them a bit and build up their self esteem,” Davis said. “But I got to a point where I just decided to put the foot on the gas and mash the pedal. And they’ve handled it well.”
That’s saying a lot considering the only two players on the current team that were even close enough to the action to be considered a part of last season’s Class AAA runner up squad was Clyde and White.
Davis said he’s enjoyed watching them grow into their leadership roles.
“It’s really been interesting to see this young team trying to figure out where we’re going to go,” he said. “Brandon and David have done a pretty good job with leadership and going from being uncertain to buying into their new role in leadership.”
Davis will get no argument from Clyde. While his senior guard said he is proud of the progress his Titans have made, he also regrets the moments of potential dominance they feel they’ve left out on the court.
“We’ve still got to learn how to play better against certain teams,” Clyde said. “Our field goal percentage, our free throws need to get better. We could have blown some teams out if we would have been better at hitting our free throws.”
Tristan Pink, the teams only other senior besides Clyde and White, said he’d like to see the Titans treat every game as if it were the same.
“We’re a team that rises up to play better against the better teams and then the teams we probably should beat by more, it’s like we play down to their level,” Pink said.
But Drew has been winners of nine of its last 10 games to improve to 13-8 overall and 11-2 in Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A. The Titans hold a one game lead over Mount Zion in the standings heading to tonight’s contest against Mundy’s Mill.
It’s a place that White said few outside of the Drew locker room expected the Titans to be.
“Everybody thought we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” White said. “Everywhere we go we’re the underdog. People expect us to lose. But that’s okay, because it makes us play that much harder.”