Brentwood’s basketball program has two new coaches this season.
But that’s not all that’s new.
District 11 has a new look and the BHS teams will have different styles of play.
Start with the coaches: Troy Bond came over from Oakland to coach the boys and Marcel Williams was promoted from assistant to head coach for the girls.
After 45 years of a three-classification system in Division I basketball, the sport now has four classes.
Brentwood is in the largest enrollment class, 4A.
The Bruins are in District 11-AAAA with two familiar teams (Franklin, Centennial) and two new ones (Hillsboro, Overton).
Bond is happy that he landed in Brentwood.
“I always had an interest in Brentwood from afar and all the success they’ve had as a school and a program,” Bond said. “Just excited to be here.”
Bond moved to Brentwood last November while he was still coaching Oakland.
Greg Shirley resigned in April after going 132-57 in six seasons and Bond was hired in May with a 113-56 record during the same stretch at Oakland.
“It just kind of lined up,” Bond said. “The girl that I date, Gayle Hardwick, lived here so I’ve been coming to Brentwood on a regular basis for the last five years.”
Bond brought his longtime assistant, Troy Crane, along with him. They’ve coached together for 18 years.
“We went through some summer work, really trying to implement the weight room into the program here and just our style of play with our zones and our traps and just kind of getting people familiar,” Bond said. “Brentwood traditionally does not have a lot of football kids, but it’s kind of funny three of our starters are football guys that are still playing.”
Jake Brock, Davis White and Daniel Cochran will join the basketball team after their football season ends. Brentwood visits Summit in a second-round playoff game Friday night.
Cochran is a 6-foot-7 sophomore wing with a huge upside as a college prospect.
Shirley ran a slow-paced, methodical, half-court offense, but the Bruins will become a more up-tempo team under Bond.
“We like to play a little faster, up and down and they were more man-to-man,” Bond said. “We’ll be switching up defenses a lot and really trying to push the pace. So definitely a little bit of contrast of styles, but in the end there are a lot of different ways to be successful.”
Throughout his 29-year career, Bond has always tried to push the ball quickly.
Match-up zones, half-court traps and full-court traps have always been his signature defenses.
He’s emphasizing the weight room so the Bruins can dictate a physical game. Preseason weightlifting and conditioning began at 5:30 am.
Brentwood hosts McGavock in its season opener Tuesday.
“I think the key is going to be the learning curve of getting everything installed and everybody understanding what we’re wanting to do,” Bond said. “I think we can have a really good year if we stay healthy and grow as a program.”
The Bruins graduated much of their scoring in guards John Windley (13 ppg, Johns Hopkins now) and Griffin Burke (8.5 ppg.)
Bond battled Brentwood several times during previous stops at Oakland and Wilson Central.
“The substate game here in 2012 was a huge win for us at Wilson Central, beating one the better Brentwood teams I think that’s ever been here,” Bond said of a 60-52 sectional victory that ended the Bruins’ season at 26-8. “We fell on the short end of the stick (in the 2014 Class AAA sectional.)”
Brentwood beat Oakland in overtime on a last-second alley-oop in a 2019 state quarterfinal.
“The support here is really amazing and we’re excited to be a part of that,” Bond said.
Bond started the program at Wilson Central in 2001, leading the Wildcats to four state tournament appearances in 14 seasons.
“It was tough at the beginning, for sure,” Bond said. “A big-time learning curve. We really wanted to build a system and a program there and I felt like we did.”
He went on to lead Oakland to two state tournament appearances.
Bond owns a 405-211 record with six state tournament appearances during 20 years as a head coach.
He played guard at Lebanon, Columbia State and Tennessee State before becoming a coach. Bond graduated from Lebanon in 1987.
Jake Brock got a good first impression of Bond during summer workouts.
“It’s definitely a new style of play, but we really like it a lot,” the Bruins guard said. “Coach Bond is an awesome coach. He came in first day and really brought intensity and enthusiasm, and everyone really likes him and Coach Crane at school.”
Brock believes the up-tempo style will allow Brentwood to use its athleticism and speed to make plays.
The new district will be an adjustment for the team.
“Seeing obviously Ravenwood, Independence and Summit on the schedule and have that not be a district game is kind of weird,” Brock said. “We’ve played Hillsboro in the past in the playoffs and we know what they have to offer. We played Overton my sophomore year and that was a really good game. I think it went into overtime, so we know those teams are good.”
Brock likes the idea of mixing the schedule up during his senior year.
The top four finishers in the district tournament will still advance to regionals. There were nine teams in District 11-AAA last season.
Brentwood went 19-7, advancing to the Region 6-AAA semifinals last season.
Bond and Williams aren’t the only new coaches at Brentwood. Clint Finch is in his first year as head coach in football and Cathy Cram replaced longtime coach Barbara Campbell in volleyball.
“I can definitely feel the change of guard, so it definitely feels like a new era in just Brentwood in general,” Williams said. “It’s very unusual, especially (because) a lot of coaches had really good seasons.”
Williams was promoted to head coach in April after spending five seasons as an assistant.
He replaces Myles Thrash, who left after four years to become the Battle Ground Academy coach.
“It’s really exciting,” Williams said. “I still can’t believe it sometimes. Just waiting for the first game, I’ll just be like, man, it’s really happening.”
Williams said he never really thought about becoming head coach back in the days when he was Ron Seigenthaler’s assistant.
“I figured he was going to ride it off into the sunset and then when Myles came, we had a really good thing going,” Williams said. “I was just enjoying the moment, but sometimes opportunity just tells you it’s your time to shine.”
Brentwood will remain aggressive on defense, but will switch to a motion offense to get everyone involved on a young team.
Thrash emphasized the 3-pointer the past two seasons with veteran teams.
“We’ve got seven or eight freshmen on the team with little to no experience, so it just depends how fast they grow up,” Williams said. “We could probably be good late after they start figuring out how to play at the varsity level.”
Seniors Sydney Ryan (15.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Kaitlyn Lorenzi will lead the Lady Bruins.
Ryan is keeping a positive attitude about all the coaching changes, a different playing style and the new district.
“Change is good,” Ryan said. “Change happens all the time and the best way to deal with change is just go with the flow and enjoy every minute of the process.”
Ryan likes what she’s seen in her new coach.
“He’s been awesome,” Ryan said. “I feel like he understands each of us not just as players, but as people. He understands our work ethic, what we’re thinking when we’re on the court and he uses every little piece of that to the advantage of the team.”
Williams is taking more of a structured approach with the Lady Bruins this year because they are so much younger.
He was a power forward at Austin Peay from 2007-11. During his senior year at Ocoee, Fla., Williams played for Shirley.
Ryan signed with Furman on Wednesday, picking the Paladins over Jacksonville State and Austin Peay.
“Furman offered me when I was a sophomore and I just kind of knew the second I walked onto that campus,” Ryan said. “It’s just like a huge family. I just feel like that’s where I belonged. With Furman, everything felt perfect.”
Her parents, Jennifer and Steve, played basketball at Northwood (Mich.), where they met.
“They would go on dates and play horse and whoever lost had to buy the other like, hamburgers, after practice,” Ryan said.
Brentwood graduated five seniors from last year’s 23-6 team that made it to the region semifinals.
The Lady Bruins will really miss guard Amelia Osgood, who is now a freshman at Princeton.
She set school records in career points (1,958), assists (574) and 3-pointers (273).
“I’ve been petitioning to get her number (32) retired at Brentwood,” Williams said. “She’s going to be a hard person to replace. It’s going to take a team effort.”