Parkland men’s basketball team welcomes new head coach
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 02:07
AF: Well Nate left us in pretty good shape. He had 10 guys signed already. There were five returns from last year’s team and then five newcomers. I’m familiar with some, not all. The ones I am familiar with I’m more than content, more than happy that they’re part of the program.
We’re still trying to fill the last few spots with the best available student athletes that we can find at this stage of the summer. We hope to have that solidified by August 1.
PN: Are there any holes in the roster?
AF: We need taller guys. I mean, but that’s almost every college coach in the country. That’s something to be expected. You’re going to go through that every year. It’s rare when you hear a college coach say I’m full on big guys. It just doesn’t happen like that so if there was a need, there’s a need for size. But if we don’t get the 6’6”, 6’7” kid, we’ll make up for it in athleticism and speed.
PN: What’s your recruiting situation?
AF: Currently there have been a lot of kids that have contacted us. We’re just trying to do our background on those guys. We did have already almost a full roster. It’s not like a pressing need but kids are showing the desire to be here you definitely want to take a look at them because you want kids that want to be here to begin with.
PN: Have you talked to any of the former players?
AF: I’ve run into a couple of guys who were taking classes here on campus. Just let them know that they’re still part of the family and if there’s anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to call or come in.
PN: Have you spoken to Mast?
AF: Yeah. We’ve spoken probably less the last week since the Division I started their recruiting process. We still text, we still email.
PN: Are there any glaring similarities between Figueroa and Mast?
RL: Well in addition to both being local products (Mast-Central and Figueroa-Centennial) I think it’s their work ethic. Nothing was given to either one of them and they both worked hard to achieve what they have so far in life. Both have an enthusiasm for teaching the game and helping young people better themselves both on the court and in and out of the classroom.
PN: Are there any glaring differences?
RL: Nothing glaring. Both will have their strengths and weaknesses and will go about things a little differently, but both want the same thing, to be successful and have successful kids.
PN: Do you see any immediate challenges Figueroa will face?
RL: I think anytime you take over a team of players that somebody else recruited, there is an adjustment period. Hopefully he will make that transition a smooth one. I can already see that happening with some of the players who are here this summer. His biggest challenge will be trying to figure out our wonderful Datatel system!
PN: As the athletic department’s head academic monitor, how important are academics?
AF: Utmost importance. The goal I’m sure of all the coaches here is to have their athletes graduate and do as well as they can academically. I’m going to get some training and I just want to make sure I’m as well versed as I can be so when classes start I can start meeting with all the athletes and making sure their schedules are where they need to be and that they’re meeting their goals and their requirements for themselves as well as for the coaches.
PN: How important is the love of the game
AF: I think that within anything you do whether it’s athletics, your 9-5 job or the course of study you’ve chosen to go into, that you have to have some passion for it to be able to do it at a higher level. In terms of basketball, because of the time you have to put in, the hard work that you have to do; you have to have a passion for it. If you don’t like to do it, if you really don’t love to do it, then you won’t be fully committed to putting in all the time that’s necessary on the court and off because being an athlete, there are a little bit more time management skills you need to utilize to be successful.
PN: Where do you see this year’s team going?
AF: That is yet to be said. I have not seen all of the guys play together so I have no idea. My hopes, our goals, every year will be to be competing for the conference championship and for a regional title so that we can get to Nationals. That will not change.
RL: I don’t ever put wins and loss expectations on any of our coaches. On the court, I want them to play hard and represent Parkland in a positive light. WE expect all of our teams to be competitive in the M-WAC and the Regional level.
I think Anthony will continue the program in the direction Nate had started, continuing to build and improve in all areas. I’m confident that Coach Figueroa will be able to put a good product on the court while having young men who understand the value of getting their education and being good citizens.