HomeNewsOPINION: North Side hoops coach sets example for college-bound players

OPINION: North Side hoops coach sets example for college-bound players

While football and other fall sports gets the bulk of the attention in local media as we’re heading toward the start of the new school year in athletics, it’s worth noting the accomplishment of one of our local basketball programs and their coach in recent days.

First off, a couple of North Side boys’ basketball alumni Tavaris Lambert and De’Andre Minor signed on to play college basketball with Cumberland University last week, an NAIA program in Middle Tennessee.

They join their former teammates Malik Currie (Columbia State) and Malik Reid, who actually signed with Bethel University for football.

Obviously, all sports teams’ primary objective on any given week within the season is to win their next game and try to put themselves in position to compete for a championship at the end of the regular season.

But there’s a higher level of goal-setting for programs that hopefully coaches set for themselves and their student-athletes.

While training and teaching them to be able to win games and compete for championships, hopefully our coaches are doing so with the eventual goal of molding them into productive members of society when they’re done with high school.

A very small percentage of high school athletes go on to continue playing in college, and an even smaller percentage of those college athletes go on to make a living playing that sport professionally.

So making sure to do their part to hopefully influence their group of young athletes will be quality citizens, spouses, parents and employees is hopefully at the top of the list for each of our coaches when we ask them how they’re playing the long game with their players.

Coach Aaron Woods seems to be doing that with his players. Not every coach gets every member of their senior class into a college program, but Woods did it, giving all four of those student-athletes a greater chance for the life-changing results a college education can bring if that’s what they want.

But Woods isn’t just sending his student-athletes to college. He’s setting a quality example for them.

Woods recently received his Doctorate of Education degree from Walden University. He could’ve ended his education with simply getting the necessary certification to teach high school classes and become a basketball coach in his home town and at his alma mater, but that’s not what he’s chosen.

He’s chosen to continue to give himself more options because of the professional legitimacy graduate degrees allow him to have – particularly in education.

And in the process, it takes hard work and a lot of long hours to achieve a doctorate. It also takes hard work and a lot of long hours to coach a high school basketball team. So essentially, Woods didn’t take a nap from October to March the last few years (keep in mind he coached both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Liberty Tech for a couple years as well).

So congratulations to North Side High and its alumni for pushing themselves to achieve greater things in life because of the opportunities they’re receiving in college athletics.

And congratulations to Woods for his big accomplishment and the example he’s setting for his players.

He’s got his own son, Lincoln, coming up through the program. He’s also got senior Joseph Marshall, who’s created his own educational options this past spring when he achieved a 30 on the ACT exam.

So things are looking up academically for the Indians, and let this be a reminder to us all that no matter what sport we enjoy watching or how many games our favorite teams win or don’t win this year, this is at the heart of the purpose of high school sports.

We look forward to seeing what these young men do with these opportunities and possibly watch them give back to their hometown and help bring up the next generation the way Woods is.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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