LOVEJOY — Basketball coaches are on the move this year and Lovejoy High filled the boys’ basketball role earlier this week.
Head coach Willie Reese is picking up the program where the season ended with a 10-15, 6-10 record. It was their fifth losing season in a row but the team was beginning to trend upwards. Reese comes from Griffin High School and his program was 9-15 during his final season with the Bears but he says that this job is not different at all.
“My job as a coach and mentor of young men is to instill high character and work ethic,” Reese said. “This first year, it’s very important that the right culture is created in order to foster a positive winning environment. This will be done in the classroom, on the court.”
There is a lot of returning talent that Reese will have to work with and senior point guard may be the focus of 2019. Jamal Reynolds led the Wildcats in 2018 with 11.9 points per game.
Not to count out a good looking sophomore class that may also contribute to the team in 2019.
“I don’t want to put any limitations on this years basketball team. If you work hard enough anything is possible,” Reese said. “Our goals are to compete for the region championship and go deep into the state tournament.”
As with many other programs around the state, the summertime is an official time to get to know a program and see what you’ll be working with during the coming season. Lovejoy is one of the same in that regard.
From being in the gym four to five days a week to lifting weights and working on basketball fundamentals, Lovejoy is hard at work. Reese has been able to relate their work for this season to what he experienced as a player himself.
“What I’ve found out from my days as a player and coach at Georgia Tech, and now as a head Coach in high school is when you work harder than anyone, you develop a sense of never quitting because of the sweat and time that you’ve put into your craft,” Reese said. “We will also develop a sense of family at Lovejoy High School; you never want to let your family down.”
Lovejoy’s summer basketball work has them set to play in the Miller Grove shot clock summer league with two teams, the Georgia State team camp and the NCAA Georgia GHSA Team Camp as well.
The competitive grinding environment that Reese is looking to install should also help with getting his players to buy-in to the program as well while Lovejoy watches the cream rise to the top.
“You must set high standards for all that are in your program from coaches, to players and team managers,” Reese admitted. “But you must also understand that what motivates one player might not motivate another. It’s my job as a coach and mentor to communicate with each player in a way which helps them to reach their full potential as a student-athlete.”