Farragut sticks to Wolf Nelson’s philosophy to come back and beat Leo in Emmanuel Little’s first game as coach
Farragut has been one of the state’s most predictable basketball programs over the past three decades.
As with many teams, the level of talent would rise and fall. But rebounding was always the bedrock of Wolf Nelson’s program. Nelson, a math teacher, once told me that in his experience if a high school basketball team gets 30 rebounds it will win the game almost every time.
I’ve kept stats for thousands of high schol basketball games over the past 20 years and Nelson is right. He retired this year after 33 seasons as Farragut’s basketball coach, but that rugged rebounding philosophy is still in place.
Emmanuel Little, who played for Nelson, picked up his first win as head coach with a 52-44 victory against Leo on Monday in Richton Park.
“Wolf is a legend,” Little said. “It’s different without him. But we want to make him proud and keep playing that Farragut basketball.
Nelson plans to attend some games this year and he would have been happy with what he saw on Monday. The Admirals had their two best players transfer away over the summer, but they found a way to win, out-rebounding Leo 36-21.
“There were a lot of jitters early since it was the first game,” Farragut guard Jerrold Brock said. “[Jamari Pickens] really kept us in the game by hitting the boards.”
Brock scored 16 points and Pickens added nine points and 13 rebounds. Jaylen James added 11 points and seven rebounds.
“I never really played last year,” Pickens said. “I didn’t get in the game much before so now that I have a chance I’m going to play as hard as I can.”
Leo (0-1) led by 19-14 at halftime and 37-34 after three quarters. Farragut (1-0) opened the fourth quarter with a 14-0 run to take control of the game.
“No one believes in us so we have to believe in each other,” Little said. “It was the first game. They are young and I’m not upset but we have to make free throws.”
Leo is young as well. Junior Emmanuel Walker led the Lions with 11 points. Junior Marshawn Durr and junior Jerry Brown each scored eight.
“I miss Wolf, he’s still around a little bit but it’s definitely kind of weird and different,” Brock said.
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Author: Michael O’Brien