Hoops coach Nagel brings new attitude
One of new Park City High School head basketball coach Matt Nagel’s biggest challenges on the basketball court came in the eighth grade in Denver when he got into a shoving match with future NBA-er Chauncey Billups.
These days, he has accepted another daunting challenge taking over the 0-9 Miners midseason amidst controversy and turmoil.
Nagel won the first time with Billups getting ejected and he plans on a similar outcome.
After former head coach Troy Buford resigned last week, the position was offered to the English teacher and debate coach and by Friday afternoon he was running the program.
Nagel says he’s ready for the challenge. Although he only played hoops through high school in Louisiana, he says the he loves that game and that’s what qualifies him. Nagel adds that he wants to establish a tradition of basketball at Park City. He plans to be the coach far into the future.
Nagel will be joined by assistant coaches Ed Potts, George Murphy and Lane Andrus. The entirely new staff is completely made up of teachers, except Andrus, which Nagel feels will make a huge difference.
"We want to have as many teachers coaching as possible," Nagel said. "Our loyalty is to the school, not any individuals."
Otherwise, much of the previous program will remain intact. Nagel credits Buford for leaving the program in better shape than before his tenure, and is very thankful for the new uniforms, equipment and strong youth development Buford left behind.
As far as digging the Miners out of their preseason hole, he is hopeful that fundamentals will bring the team back together.
"We are not a tall or fast team, we have to perfectly execute," Nagel said.
He has put himself in charge of focusing on the basics at daily practices and will look to Potts for game strategy.
As far as team strategy, Nagel is focusing the team on optimism. He knows that it has been a rough start for the Miners, and thinks a positive attitude could make a big impact on team unity and team output. He also expects each boy to assume certain assigned roles for the good of the entire team.
His optimism extends right into games. He fully expects the miners to start winning. Not every game, of course, but he expects to win.
"We’re going to get a new attitude and take the next step and build on what Buford started," Nagel said.
He will also emphasize effort and accuracy. Nagel says that, as long as the boys are playing their best in games, he will be happy.
"If we lose to better teams, then so be it, but we are not going to lose because we’re not executing," Nagel said. "We will play as well as the kids can play.
As for immediately addressing the team’s scoring issues, he plans to put many hours into controlling the number of possessions in games. This means improving defense and rebounding. Once the team has the ball more often, he can then focus on increasing the team’s shooting percentage.
He is also hoping that more students will tryout for the team next year. He isn’t expecting the next Allen Iverson to emerge from the woodwork at next year’s team tryouts, but he says that there are more good basketball players in Park City than are playing on the team and hopes that next year they feel comfortable in coming out for the team.
Basically, this basketball-loving debate instructor just wants to bring a fresh positive spin back to Park City basketball this year, next year and beyond.
Who can argue with that?
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