Eastside boys hoops look to new season


Eastside Eagles Boys Basketball

• Head coach: Gregory Freeman (first year)

• Last season: 8-17 overall, 5-11 in Region 4-AAA

•Returing starters: Ben Miller

COVINGTON -- Eastside's boys basketball team has not had an overall winning record since their 2004-05 season when they went 16-11. First year head coach Gregory Freeman is hoping to turn that around.

"The desire for them to win is there, they're tired of losing," Freeman said. "They don't understand what it takes to get into a state playoff but they're willing to learn. A willingness is 99 percent of what you need in order to be successful."

The Eagles had run a half-court system which, according to Freeman, puts teams that do not have a lot of height at a disadvantage. Freeman plans on doing things different. He feels that his run-style of basketball will fit the type of players on Eastside team.

This year's team will do a lot of running and pressing, they will be able to do more traps and presses which Freeman hopes will limit the opposing team's scoring ability.

"I don't think we're going to play a lot of teams with big men that are going to be stepping out and shooting 3s. They're going to want the ball around the basket so we're going to attack other people's ball handlers," Freeman said.

Making a good fit into the new system are guards Ben Miller, Treyvon Francis and Jomandi Smith.

"The thing about these guys that is really going to help us, along with Michael Chapman, is that they can provide great ball pressure. We may have four guys in a zone and one person pressuring the ball," Freeman said. "We have a couple of shooters in Anthony Henderson and Dominic Harris. Treyvon can shoot so we may move him around. I think our perimeter game is going to be our strength because we'll be undersized. We have two juniors, Chavis Williams and Quindarrious Russell, that can run. They're 6-3 and 6-4 and can get up and down the floor."

Another thing that is going to change is rather than having one or two main shooters with a few points scattered by the rest of the team, the new Eagles will have three of four players evenly matched putting points on the board. Freeman said that by having more than one or two players with the ability and the approval to take a shot it will force the other team to guard everyone.

"That's why you run. You force them to guard everybody by putting five guys in motion. It's easier to guard one person then it is to guard five," Freeman said.

The other thing that Freeman is doing is teaching the players to think basketball while on the court, both during practice but more importantly during the game.

"I demand that they think basketball. Once they realize that if you think basketball in practice you'll be able to think basketball better in the game. Part of what he wants them to learn and think about is when to set a screen, when to trap a player and when to rotate," Freeman said.

"I want it done right. I want then to understand that there's a way to play basketball and then there's playing winning basketball."