WILLIAMSBURG — Basketball coaches across the Tri-County have had to adapt to the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their respective programs.
Williamsburg Basketball Coach Nick Napier Yellow Jackets are among those teams.
Napier’s squad finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 17-13 mark before seeing its season end during semifinal action of the 50th District Tournament to Corbin.
The Yellow Jackets graduated their top two scoring leaders but will return a solid nucleus of talent that would have benefited from playing summer games, and getting in spring fundamental work.
“I think like with most coaches it’s frustrating because we lost spring fundamental work and summer competition,” Napier said. “Spring is a time to develop skill-wise and do a lot of individual improvement. Then summer ball with a new team you want to see how your team is meshing and get them all playing together so those are some things we are missing out on. But we are all in the same boat with the pandemic occurring.
“As coaches, we all want to win championships every year and have great seasons on the court, but our job is to be there for our players,” he added. “To hold them accountable, push them beyond what they are comfortable with, pat them on the back, and give thoughtful advice. I believe our players need us coaches and we need to be able to start back providing the things that have been potential voids in our players’ lives.”
Despite no spring work or summer games, Napier said he was pleased to see the KHSAA-mandated dead period lifted.
“I think it’s a great thing to give everyone that flexibility,” he said. “We can get fundamental work in and develop our players before football really ramps up to full-blown practices. It gives us coaches a chance to go to work and earn our wages so to speak. It is voluntary and some families plan vacations during this time, but you want to work the players you can get in the gym.”
Napier said another disappointment caused by the pandemic was the cancellation of his annual summer basketball camp.
“It hurts from the standpoint of losing an opportunity to develop your future players,” he said. “It’s something we all look forward to. Financially we usually use our camps to help with summer ball so with that being canceled, it doesn’t hurt is there.”
Editor’s note: Today’s story is a part of a series of stories the staff of the Sentinel-Echo and Times-Tribune sports departments will be running for the next few weeks from head coaches of boys and girls programs in the Tri-County.