PRYOR, OK —
‘Transition’ really is the perfect word to sum up new head boys coach Russ Gilmore’s approach to Pryor basketball in 2013.
“It’s a totally different style than what they're used to,” Gilmore said. “That’s been an adjustment. The thing they have going for them is that they are a bunch of really good kids with great attitudes.”
The transition between systems will include a full-court press to take advantage of transition opportunities, create turnovers and wear down the opposition.
“My approach here, for the first year, will be to put in the system that has been highly successful for me,” Gilmore said. “Teach them a highly aggressive approach to the game of basketball, see if I can get us mentally tough and see what we’re able to do, you know.”
Gilmore’s approach produced positive results in New Mexico high schools, where he coached for 14 seasons. He replaces outgoing coach Greg Arnold, whose team finished 13-10 in the 2012 season and lost to Skiatook in the first round of a 5A regional.
Gilmore’s system requires plenty of depth, and he received a boost this week in the form of several football players returning to the court after their state quarterfinal loss. At Hobbs (N.M.), a school of about 2,500, Gilmore said he rarely had any crossover players between sports. However, Gilmore said he has been pleased with what talent he’s had in the gym since the school year started.
“[Daniel] Frailey is a really good leader,” Gilmore said. “He’s one of the only seniors I’ve got. He lost about 25 pounds since August. (Junior) Robert Ross has come a long, long way in terms of ability, and he’s learning to take on a new role of becoming a leader. He’s been real solid for us.”
Gilmore also spoke highly of juniors Tyler Bradshaw, Brice Daniels and Conley Ledoux.
“Conley will fit in really well with our program. He’s lengthy and he can finish on the break. Once he picks up our defense he’ll be a really good player,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore is excited about the potential of freshman Tyler Arnold. “He’s got a long ways to go, but he’ll be a good one,” GIlmore said.
Gilmore said he is thrilled to be in Pryor and has big designs for the team going forward.
“I'm going to give it every ounce of effort that I’ve got. I’ve been to the mountaintop many, many times, and I’ll be fine no matter what happens. I’m still extremely competitive.”
Pryor will tackle Bishop Kelley to open the season Dec. 3 and will travel to Inola for the Longhorns’ tournament from Jan. 9-14. The Tigers will host the Pryor Invitational Jan. 20-25 and will get to play at the BOK Center in Tulsa against Coweta Jan. 18 as part of the High School Hoops Showcase.