Mustangs wait on opening tip

Posted 11/17/20

The start of Madisonville’s basketball season has been delayed due to a suspension of the school’s extracurricular activities as a result of an uptick in COVID-19 activity, but the Mustangs and new head coach Brad Taylor are eager to take the court in 2020.

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Mustangs wait on opening tip

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The start of Madisonville’s basketball season has been delayed due to a suspension of the school’s extracurricular activities as a result of an uptick in COVID-19 activity, but the Mustangs and new head coach Brad Taylor are eager to take the court in 2020.

The Mustangs were scheduled to begin their pre-district season against Anderson-Shiro Friday after competing in a scrimmage Nov. 17, but both events were nixed. Many of the team’s players enter basketball fresh off their football season.

“I think (missing the start of the season) was a disappointment, but at the same time it was an opportunity for our football players to get their legs back underneath them,” said Taylor, who takes over the varsity basketball program from Chris Reid.

Taylor was also an assistant coach for the MHS football team in the fall. The Madisonville native played tight end at Baylor University from 2007-10 and was the head track and women’s basketball coach at Lehman High School for a year before finding his way back to his hometown.

“We have been trying to develop a different mindset,” said Taylor on the offseason work the team was able to participate in. “Basically, a defensive mindset: playing defense and getting the ball out in transition whenever we get the opportunity. The main thing we’ve been preaching is their mindset, believing and trusting in the process. We are trying to set the tone for the season and get the guys to buy into our mentality.”

Much of Madisonville’s roster got their first taste of the varsity level last season. They will be led by senior players Armando Juarez and Josh Griffin in 2020.

“I like to put all our faith and trust in our seniors,” said Taylor. “We are going to be leaning on (Juarez and Griffin) because they have the most varsity experience. Overall, I think we have a pretty good, young corp of athletes. If these guys buy into the system, I think we can be pretty successful.”

The Mustangs will also rely on underclassmen such as juniors Wayne Roundtree and James Randle and sophomore Casey Holiday. Jeramiah Burns and Lorenzo Johnson will compete at the varsity level as freshman for the Mustangs in 2020.

Taylor’s style includes an emphasis on defense and a desire to move the ball up the court as fast and efficiently as possible. He credits much of his familiarity with this style to former Madisonville coach and Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame member Johnny Carter.

“I came up under (Carter), he was one of the legendary coaches around here,” said Taylor. “I got an opportunity to see him lead a basketball team all the way to the state tournament on several occasions. Seeing that growing up and then actually playing in that system under him in high school, I am kind of cut from that same cloth.”

Madisonville will compete in 4A Region III District 18 after last spring’s realignment with a handful of highly-competitive programs, including China Spring, Mexia, Robinson, Connally and La Vega.

“My expectation is for us to make the playoffs,” said Taylor. “I’m not going to lie, the district we are going into is going to be pretty tough. But at the same time, my coaching staff and players are embracing this opportunity because not a lot of people are expecting us to do a lot this year.”

The Mustangs are scheduled to begin district play against Robinson at MHS Jan. 12.

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