Senior Players Off To College
May 15, 2018
After a terrific season which included a 31-5 regular season record and a trip to the final four in Birmingham, the varsity basketball team will be sending many of their beloved seniors off to play college ball.
“When a kid comes into our program, we try to teach them attributes that they will need in life and on the court as a basketball player,” Coach Jamie Coggins said.
Coggins has coached the team for the past six years and has groomed seniors such as Darren Howard, Jonathan Bolden, Kaleb Mack and Ellis Lee since they came to Sparkman as freshmen. After a successful high school career, they will finally get the chance to play in college, a dream that, once may have seemed far-fetched.
“This year especially, I have been working hard every day and getting in the gym,” Howard said. “This year it got real me for about having an opportunity like this. I really gave it all I had this year and I am gonna keep grinding and improving as a player.”
Howard has been on varsity since his freshman year but saw mostly small rolls until his senior year when he experienced a significant increase in his workload as the starting point guard. He attributes his success to his friends, family and his coach and is committed to continuing to improve. Howard will sign to Columbia state. His friend and teammate, Jonathan Bolden has lofty goals for the future as well.
“It took a lot of hard work and dedication but I still have a lot to prove,” Bolden said. “I want to do a year or two at Columbia State and then transfer to Bama. I gotta stay in the gym and continue to get better.”
Bolden has been on varsity since his junior year and uses his size, at 6’7” to bring a great physical aspect to the game. In tight situations, the team loved to have Bolden’s grit and physical ability in the paint or on a breakaway dunk attempt. Bolden will join Howard, his high school teammate, at Columbia state in the fall of 2018.
“These guys have been able to push themselves to limits that they have never experienced before,” Coggins said. “We tried to make sure they knew the amount of work it would take to play at the next level. We brought in college coaches and players to help mentor them and to show them the workload and the mindset and the time it will take. We make sure they know the expectations.”
Coggins and his fellow coaches worked tirelessly to instill the values of a good basketball player and a good person into his players. He has high expectations for their future and expects and believes that they will succeed in everything that they do.
“That is kind of how we address our program is number one: be the right kind of person, number two: be the right kind of student and number three: be the right kind of basketball player,” Coggins said. “We stress to them to be a champion in everything that they do.