The Salt River High School junior varsity boys basketball head coach, Jeff Johnson, said his team primarily has been focusing on improving defense to limit scoring opportunities for the opposition. The team is extremely aggressive and their effort on the court is obvious.
The basketball coaches are committed to developing the program. “Our focus is really on developing the younger squad, but [we have] even bigger goals for the varsity team,” he said.
Johnson said a lack of depth hurts the team; coaches are limited to playing certain players during certain quarters for certain time frames.
A few of the players on the junior varsity team share time on the varsity squad as well. For this reason, Johnson said they try to space out the boys’ playing time and “try to give more to our true junior varsity players.” As a result, he said the team is currently struggling with endurance.
In a game that is so fast paced, full of highs, lows and many challenges, it takes mental focus and heart. Heart is something each player must develop, said Johnson.
“You can’t teach heart, will and desire. It is more of an inner characteristic that shines when certain moments call for it,” he said.
Johnson tells his players that if they work harder than the most talented person on the court, they will walk away with a win “no matter what, because it is really about how we face challenges and solve problems when it seems like there is no solution or answer.”
The junior varsity team is focused on improving, and Johnson said at this point the team has done so tremendously. The team has battled with the fundamentals but has made great strides with individual players.
The team goes through offensive and defensive sets in order to address the trouble areas and tighten them up. So Johnson said the team will now be focusing on running offense and continuing to learn patience in the offense.