high school basketball

Coaching high school basketball again, Josh Baker aims to revive River Rouge’s state championship legacy

RIVER ROUSE, Michigan – River Rouge High School has found its new men’s basketball coach and isn’t afraid to show it off.

While River Rose hosted a social event this week to introduce new Panthers head coach Josh Baker, administrators and district staff gathered in business attire for a chance to meet the new coach while eating Horse d ‘Ovres and they had a buffet dinner. I played some melodies.

The only thing was a red carpet.

They talk about having a great family here, Buck said as he took a break from his mixing. So, it has been a great blessing. They are 100 percent about the kids and 100 percent about helping the kids and doing whatever they can.

Why go to all the River Rose Baker problems? After all, he was only in school for a few months and taught the history of the United States of America.

Well, Bucker is also seen as one of the most successful basketball coaches in the state.

Baker coached the Southfield Christian men’s basketball team in five Class D / Division 4 state championships from 2012 to 2016, setting records of 181-30 during that time. Nearly a month after winning his fifth title with the Eagles in March 2014, the University of Alabama hired Knuts Oats Baker, the men’s basketball head coach, to join as its special staff.

Suddenly, Buck was left coaching a school with fewer than 200 students to join the NCAA Division I program staff at a Power Five conference.

Baker has enjoyed every moment.

I think obviously Coach Oates was a great piece and throughout that process a great mentor and a great friend to me, Buck said. I tried to learn as much as possible from him … Of course, I talked to him about how to hire staff, how to run the systems and what should be set up first, and what our character culture is like. He is an incredible asset and a friend to learn from. This is really a big part of the training journey.

Baker appears to be an old friend of Oates and was his assistant at Romulus High School before taking a job at Southfield Christian. Naturally, moving to Alabama felt like a match made in heaven. However, after spending only two seasons in Alabama, Buck wanted to return home so he could be close to his five children under the age of 10, including two sets of twins, who continued to live in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Because of cavities and familiar things, I couldn’t get my kids out, Baker said. I have five little ones and they were still here, and I don’t like it. So, I went back to be by their side and to get closer to them. That was the main reason.

Although time is running out to work at the college level, Buck said River Rouge was his new job fit for him and his family. Also, he is interested in bringing back what he learned at the college level to the high school gym.

I think for the two years at the college level, there is a mindset with little things and then being on time and learning about the character culture every week, booking clubs and important things about strength and conditioning, performance and nutrition from video and scouting. – A Many of these things are high-level, said Baker. Obviously, I am trying to take a practice at the same level at the same time.

Of course, Baker knows the expectations are too high for him considering that the River Rouge men’s basketball event has won 14 state championships, more than any other team in Michigan history.

“I know this and their story very well, how good they are and the expectations for the program and the school,” Baker said. … Look, I can work as hard as I can today. We will exercise in the morning, then we will take the boys to the gym for lunch, we will exercise after school. Basically what I learned from NAT is that every college has a training building (college coach). If you do it a couple of times a day and do it for 100 days, you will have passed a lot of studies.

River Rouge fired former head coach Lamenta Stone in March before the start of the Division 1 tournament when the team was 6-3. The River Rouge administration allowed former assistant Todd Bergan to serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season, as the Panthers lost 11-4 to Ann Arbor Hurran in the state quarterfinals, finishing 11-4.

In the days following the show’s Stone shooting, River Rouge superintendent Dr. Derrick and Coleman received criticism from Stone’s supporters because they questioned the purpose and timing of the shooting amid an epidemic-ridden season. Although Coleman said in a statement that Stone had not lived up to his expectations, some remained unhappy. Coleman would take no further action on the details of the stone throw, saying that he had nothing to do with winning or losing.

At first, I admire Coach Stone and everything he has here … but I have released an official statement, Coleman said. Those people automatically assumed it was about wins and losses and basketball, and it wasn’t. Out of respect for Coach Stone, I did not speak publicly about these things. But I can say that I think we have a coach whose value is tied to our expectations of being young … There are some styles of training that may not be as acceptable to this generation of young people and how you should get involved. with them (and) parents. It is just a different landscape that we find within ourselves.

Coleman said Bucker applied for the position a day before the poster was unveiled. Coleman said that he contacted Baker immediately and that the recruiting process worked biologically from there, as the exact timing was effective.

Coleman said that the day he was hired, he should have played Lotto. I don’t think my luck can be better. The day he applied, the game should have started.

Going over one reference after another, Coleman caught a glimpse of Baker, some of which he said were undesirable.

“When we were trying to identify the traits and qualities that we wanted in our next coach, he checked every box,” Coleman said. People often talk about his success as coach of the Southfield Christian team in five state championships, but I think what is meant or understated about him is his character and qualities as a man.

Looking ahead, Coleman hopes the Baker River Rouge basketball program can help restore a rich championship history. Considering the 14th River Rouge state championship, Coleman wasn’t afraid to call his program the Boston Celtics basketball from Michigan High School. The Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA titles since the crowd of NBA champions began in 1950.

At the same time, however, there are more comparisons to the River Rouge-Celtics. River Rouge won 12 of its 14 state championships from 1954 to 1922, its last title in 1999. By comparison, the Celtics won 11 titles between 1977 and 1969, with the most recent title being in 2006, followed by the previous one in 1986.

Although River Rouge’s Division 1 runner-up finished in 2019 and was 20-1 in 2020 before his season was shortened due to a coronavirus epidemic, the show is still trying to break the championship drought streak.

Although the 22-year championship drought will be discussed alongside Baker’s own winning history, he believes that he has won the championship by focusing on the future rather than the past.

We are all looking to take action, Bucker said. Collectively, we’re just trying to say that if we have 12 people, everyone needs to improve, everyone needs to stay in the gym, and everyone has become better shooters. Each of us has to be a child who knows how to dribble, pass and shoot. So 100 percent, we seek concerted efforts from everyone.

No matter how River Rouge led Baker to Helm, Coleman believes Buck could lead the team in the right direction.

I’m sure we have the best coaches in the state of Michigan, Coleman said. But when you talk about the qualities you look for in a man to help develop young men and women, I don’t think you can find someone with a relaxed hand whose resume and references match what Coach Bucker has.

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