The Duncan Banner
New Duncan boys basketball coach Ben Scott is impressed with his players’ dedication.
Scott said he had been prepared to lose some of the players who participated in the offseason program. Not only have those players stayed with the program, but others have joined the team.
“It’s a good position to be in,” Scott said. “The guys want to compete. A lot of guys came out who didn’t play last year and they’ll definitely contribute this year.”
The practices Scott has his players complete are designed to get players to take ownership of their team, the coach said. The drills included running two miles, then coming back to the gym with the task to make 18 of 25 free throws.
Through it all, the players have maintained great attitudes, Scott said.
“It’s been enjoyable, exciting every day,” he said. “As soon as the bell rings (to begin the athletic hour), they are all on the floor setting shots up. Rarely do we have a flat practice.”
Scott was the Demons’ assistant coach last year. Before coming to Duncan, Scott coached boys for two years at Edmond Memorial, girls for one year at Marietta and girls for three years at Holdenville.
He said he came back to Duncan for family reasons and because he liked the community.
“I went to elementary school here, I had parents and grandparents whotaught in Duncan schools, and my sister was the valedictorian here,” Scott said. “My father worked at Halliburton for many years. My wife is from Comanche and her uncle, Aaron Weast, is the athletic director.”
When a teaching position opened at Duncan schools, Scott said he “jumped at the chance to come back.”
Scott had 25 players when practices officially started. When football players finished their season, that number increased.
And although the team will not have much height, Scott said he has smart, athletic players who understand the game.
“They go above and beyond what you ask of kids,” he said.
Two players expected to play significant roles are junior Ben Petersen and sophomore John Campbell.
“They are good leaders and drill changers,” Scott said. “They communicate well and get the rest of the kids going in the right direction.”
Sophomore Caleb Cronk is one of the Demons’ better shooters. Scott said Cronk will give the Demons some size under the basket. Another sophomore, Nathan Clark, started some varsity games as a freshman last season, and Scott said Clark has good size and athletic ability. Adding size as well will be junior Dalton Dismuke.
Junior Mikal Lewis and senior Je’Mario McCoy are fast, athletic guards who will contribute, the coach said.
The Demons will look to improve upon last season’s 5-19 overall record. Duncan opened last season at 5-1 but then lost 18 straight.
“We had close games but we couldn’t get over the hump the last part of the season,” Scott said. “Last year, we would be up in the third quarter but didn’t finish. This year, we want to compete for 32 minutes and win every possession we can.”
The Demons’ first two games against Lawton MacArthur and Ardmore will be good tests, Scott said. The young players then should have an idea about what they need to work on, the coach said.
And while they may be young, Scott said the Demons have what it takes to be a quality team.
“We have a lot of young guys but I don’t feel like we are rebuilding,” he said. “I feel we have a lot of kids who can compete.”