Brodhead’s Team Blossoming With Maturity
The joy of watching something grow is all in the slow process, but it can be beautiful.
Before you can even plant the seeds, you have to prepare the soil. Seedlings turn to saplings with care, and if you feed the young plant and tend to it properly, its roots grow deeper as the structure becomes stronger. The branches and leaves reach higher and higher as the base tightens its hold on the ground, and eventually it reaches its prime.
Seeing a flower bloom is a gift of nature. Gardners understand the process involved in producing a single petal, and it involves patience and time.
Coaches are asked to grow programs all the time, but they're rarely afforded the time to watch them develop.
Fan bases and athletic departments can kill a coach's tenure faster than a drought dries up a rose bed. Luckily for Garry Brodhead, he is getting to watch his Ragin' Cajuns blossom before his eyes. He planted the seeds for success, and the tilling wasn't easy at first.
"Some of those losses we had early on when we first got here, they've learned a lot," Brodhead said about his veteran players.
Before winning 23 games last season, it was tough sledding for Brodhead's bunch. Losing seasons can cook a coach, but Brodhead's Cajun blood was made to bare the high temperatures.
In order to get callouses, you have to put in the work. Keke Veal, Kia Wilridge and some of the upper classmen for Brodhead took their lumps, but it's hardened them into winners. Wonder why his team is playing better in the second and fourth quarters? It's clutch time.
"When our back's against the wall, we pretty much step up," Brodhead said about his team's gritty mentality.
Veal and Wilridge were expected to steer the ship, and Jaylyn Gordon's production to start the season is adding a deadly third head to their attack. More than averaging double-figures in the scoring column and leading a ferocious defense, the battle tested upper classmen are taking a group of talented youngsters under their wings.
With nine players averaging over ten minutes on the court each game, communication has been key from top to bottom. When the players start echoing the coaching staff, magical things happen.
"Our players are starting to coach the younger ones on the floor," Brodhead said.
Maturity is usually associated with positive growth. The best wines are allowed to age before tasting, and fruit isn't supposed to be eaten until it's ripe. The time is now for the Ragin' Cajuns. The tree is overloaded with a bounty of talent, and the sun continues to shine.
To illustrate his players' increased passion, Brodhead shared a story from practice. For the first time coaching this team, the players stayed for an hour after the end of practice to work on their shooting. As he put it, "the kids are buying in."
They say food tastes better when you grow it yourself. Brodhead's success couldn't possibly taste any sweeter right now.