Story written by Stephen Wise, Caroline Hine, Christian Banks
A new addition comes to the Dutch Fork basketball team in the form of head coach Bret Jones. The former White Knoll head coach (2000-2014), joins the team after being the girls’ basketball coach at River Bluff last season. Coach Jones is looking forward to the opportunity presented to him at Dutch Fork.
“I think Dutch Fork is a great school and has a good mixture of good athletes and good academics,” Jones said, “It’s a great school and I am excited about the opportunity, great kids, too.”
Typically with a new coach comes a new outlook, and that is the case here as well.
“The culture we want to be is all about team. Basketball is a team sports and its five guys pulling together as one, the biggest stat we want to know is the scoreboard,” Jones said.
So far the team has not had any full practices, mostly working through conditioning multiple days a week, but Jones noticed a few things right away.
“I think they want to win and they want to be successful. They want to win. They want to prove themselves, and nobody knows who they are,” Jones said.
One point of emphasis for the team this year is team building.
“Coach Jones brings a different mindset towards how we work hard and how we handle ourselves both mentally and physically this season,” said senior guard Justen Chatman, “We will be more of a team this year. We hope to have a good relationship on and off the court and hold each other accountable more.”
After losing nine players to graduation last season, Jones will have to adjust the strategy for this year’s team.
“Last year’s team was huge. We’re gonna have to rely on our speed and quickness and play man to man and pressure defense,” Jones said, “We will look to push the ball and press and play good half court defense.”
Coach Jones played basketball at Presbyterian, and is now enshrined in the South Atlantic Conference hall of fame. He uses his experience as a player to better prepare his team.
“I’ve always coached using my experiences as a player, what worked well for me and what didn’t. I always think that I am a player’s coach,” Jones said, “They want to know that you respect them and love them and I try to use that approach.”
A common theme across Dutch Fork athletics is lofty goals and expectations. Coach Jones and his players share similar aspirations for the season.
“I think we can win region this year. I want to beat Irmo, that’s one of our main goals,” Justen said, “If we do those and make a good run in the playoffs, it will be a successful season.”
Both senior guard Devon Long and Coach Jones were adamant that they want to end this season on top.
“Our goal is always to win state, we have to fight through the inexperience but when you have not done something you have to learn how to be successful. This is the toughest region in the state,” Jones said.
“Honestly the only thing that will make this season a success to me is [to] win state,” he said. “That’s our one goal.”