Wolfpack JV team on hot streak to begin season

The Walkertown boys’ JV basketball team is off to a hot start this season at 8-1.

Wolfpack JV team on hot streak to begin season
January 20
05:49 2022

The Walkertown junior varsity basketball team has been playing well this year. Led by second year head coach Kenny Anderson, the Wolfpack are a small but scrappy team that is not afraid to lace them up against anyone.

As of the writing of this article, the Wolfpack are 8-1 on the year and their only loss was to Reagan during the Lash/Chronicle Tournament. Coming into the season, Anderson knew they could become a good team if they bought into the coaching from the staff.

“My thought process was just teaching these boys about life through basketball and really I didn’t know what I was coming into, but I knew that once we taught them about life and we taught them about character, success would follow,” said Anderson about his thoughts on his team before the start of the season.

Being born and raised in Winston-Salem, Anderson knows that Walkertown does not have the basketball tradition like other schools around the county, but that did not matter to him, he says.

“I really never thought about having all the talent, I always thought about teaching those guys to play for each other and to play for a school and to play for their families,” he said.

On the first day of tryouts, Anderson and his staff were shocked by the lack of size from the kids that came out. He knew their calling card was going to be to play harder than their opponent.

“Day one I was a little skeptical because we saw the pool of kids that came to tryout and me and the coaches recognized that we were going to be a smaller team,” said Anderson. “I’m pretty sure if you’ve seen us play, you’ll see that we don’t have a 6 ‘2” guy and so our expectations were when we pick this team, we had to have an identity.

“That identity was that we were going to be scrappy and to play as a team and to play for each other. I just know that’s the formula to win and we have had some success from that. We have been able to pull out a lot of games just from us playing for each other and playing that brand of basketball.”

The Wolfpack coaching staff didn’t have to alter their game plan because of their lack of size. Anderson says they just have to put more effort into things such as blocking out and rebounding as a team to make up for their lack of height.  

“We practice really hard and I teach our guys to do the small things that people don’t see in order to be successful,” Anderson said about his methods. “I just teach our guys to play as a team, to rebound as a team, and as a result we win as a team.”

The Wolfpack came into the Lash/Chronicle Tournament as the No. 4 seed. Anderson’s expectation for his team was to perform well. He felt that anyone was beatable on any given day and wanted his team to go out and play with confidence.  

“I kind of gave them the message of David and Goliath and got them to understand that if they played for each other, they would be successful,” he stated.

The Wolfpack finished the tournament 2-1 overall with their lone loss coming to the runner-up in the tournament. Anderson says the tournament gave his team the added confidence he was looking for them to play with.

“Our team mantra is ‘iron sharpens iron’ and so it just boosted their confidence and helped them believe in each other and themselves,” he said about what the tournament did for his kids. “I let them know that it’s fair game when the whistle blows. Our best five against the other team’s best five, we are going to step out there and compete and have the mindset of winning.”

There have been a few players that have stepped up throughout the season for the Wolfpack, Anderson said.Players like Jaden Tyson, Antwan Mitchell, Mitrend Curry, and Nazeir Blackmon have all played pivotal roles for Walkertown this season.  

Anderson says that Tyson and Mitchell provide the veteran leadership that he looks for with guys in their second season in the system. He says they help a lot of the freshmen players make that transition from middle school to high school sports. When it comes to Curry and Blackmon, Anderson says those are his “young gunners” who are not scared of the moment.

Following the Lash Tournament, the Wolfpack team had to deal with a quarantine that halted their season for over a week. Now that they are back playing, Anderson is hoping that they can continue with the momentum they built prior to the Christmas break. They defeated Morehead High School out of Eden, N.C. their first game back by 20 points.

Anderson says the goal now is to hopefully win out the remaining portion of their season and to prepare the kids for the varsity level. He is aware that some of the kids may not play on the varsity level and many won’t get the chance to play collegiately, so giving them life lessons that they can carry with them is of the utmost importance for Anderson and his staff.

Anderson also is an assistant coach on the varsity team led by Richard Daniels Jr. Anderson and Daniels were also high school teammates at Carver High School, so their relationship goes back many years.  

“We formed a brotherhood since then and the communication lines are open and we bounce ideas off each other,” Anderson said about his friendship with Daniels. “We have a great rapport with each other, so when it comes to being a program, it’s nothing for us to talk to each other about our kids.  

“Another thing is we both are educators, so we are on them in the classroom, as well as on the court. It’s been an honor to coach with him and also grow with him. This is my second year as a head coach and this is his second year as a head varsity coach, so just taking that and growing together as a staff and growing together with these younger guys has been an honor.”

Anderson feels that Walkertown is a “diamond in the rough” because it’s not known for their sports. Their goal is to bring a winning mentality and continue to coach the kids up and the winning will follow.

Anderson is also thankful for his JV assistant coaches Kedrick Williams and Jarard Jackson, who he says has done a great job coaching up the players.

“I trust those guys if I wasn’t there, they would be able to have the same success that I have had,” he said about his assistants. “It’s all family, so teaching that brotherhood and family is something they mirror to their teammates.

“I don’t coach as if I’m the chief and I am the end-all be-all. I value everybody’s input and value everybody’s attention. That’s how I look at it and that’s how I approach the team.”


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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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