The coaching carousel in high school hoops was spinning full tilt over the summer, after one school after another made changes.
Jared Wallace’s departure from Warsaw set off a domino effect as the Wildcats brought in former Green Ridge coach Jason Ollison, Green Ridge replaced Ollison with former Green Ridge girls coach Jason Cannon and to coach the Lady Tigers, brought in former Stover assistant Mason Dunnaway.
Cannon is excited about his new role.
“We’ve got some kids that really want to play and play hard,” he said. “Coach Ollison did a great job of getting them mentally ready for practice and I think they’ve transitioned well.”
Cannon’s system is somewhat different from Ollison’s — still a motion offense but not the five-out dribble drive the Tigers used last season. Ollison’s system also used a lot of banana cuts and around the outside cuts with dribble drive where Cannon focuses on straight-line cuts.
Cannon still being in the building has been helpful to his successor with the Green Ridge girls.
“Coach Cannon’s been able to tell me some of the things to expect, some of the strengths, some of the weaknesses as well,” Dunnaway said. “That has been very helpful.”
He admitted it can be a work in progress as the Lady Tigers get used to the new system. In one practice, it was a passing drill which Dunnaway runs differently than Cannon that it took a while to get down.
In Otterville, Jay Allen is the man who will lead the Eagles into their first season in the Kaysinger Conference.
“I’m really lucky in that I have good kids,” Allen said. “They’re hungry, they want to work, they want to change. They want to do something different than they did last year. …. They’ll run through a brick wall for me right now. All I’m doing is pushing and pushing and pushing and they keep going harder and harder.”
Billy Jeffries is no longer in Tipton, leaving the Cardinals after eight seasons. Now on the Tipton bench is Jacob Watson, in his fifth year of coaching. His Hogan Prep teams reached the district final two of the past three seasons, only falling short in 2014 with an overtime loss in the district semifinal.
Making the move to Tipton, he was able to get to know many of his players by serving as an assistant coach on Tony Braby’s football staff.
“They’re figuring out my system and what I expect,” he said.
He’s stressing fundamentals at Tipton while also hoping to make the Cardinals a more up-tempo team.
“Our new coach is really helping a lot,” said Tipton senior Bryce Sanders. “I think he knows what he’s doing. I think we’re going to have a great year with the new coach.”