By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal

It wasn’t that long ago the boys basketball team from Crestview (OH) High School was struggling.

The Crestview (OH) Knights, moments after winning the Ohio Div. 4 boys basketball title.

The Crestview (OH) Knights, moments after winning the Ohio Div. 4 boys basketball title.

Although the school enjoyed a Div. 4 runner up trophy in 2003, as late as the 2008-09 season, the Knights were mired in 4-17 season.

The squad dropped six of its first nine games to start the 2009-2010 campaign.

Now, having finished this past hoops season with a perfect 29-0 record and Div. 5 state title, those lean years seem like a lifetime ago.

Actually, the Knights have been quite successful under Head Coach Jeremy Best, who has compiled a 192-82 overall record in 12 seasons at the school, including four Northwest Conference titles, six sectional titles, two district titles, two regional titles, and the aforementioned state runners-up and state titles.

Best (in red) coaching up his team during the state title game.

Best (in red) coaching up his team during the state title game.

“Our teams recent success was attributed to many factors, said Best. “We had a core group of kids who really buy into our program and formed relationships with each other. Our seniors were excellent leaders and provided our team with a toughness and competitiveness that was unlike any team I ever coached.”

He later added, “It is really tough to compare this team to others, based on the level of accomplishment this team achieved.”

One fact in the Knights’ success has been the participation of some of Best’s players in various American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) events.

“Typically we have had younger players in our program involved in the AYBT,” said Best. “I do like the 60/40 concept.”

The organization’s 60/40 philosophy maintains that every single player on your roster should play between 40-60 percent of the time during an entire tournament. This not only ensures that all team members will get much-needed floor time to improve skills in game situations, but it also helps the entire roster of players feel like the have contributed, helping teams gel long before the start of the season.

Best gets a chance to cut the final link in the nets that hung during the state title game.

Best gets a chance to cut the final link in the nets that hung during the state title game.

In essence, the 60/40 viewpoint guarantees that, unlike other skills camps, every participant who comes to a district or national tournament doesn’t just end up being a spectator on the bench.

That doesn’t mean AYBT tourney success is any less sweet, though. Best said a group of his sixth graders took a sixth-grade national title a couple years back at the famed Spiece Center at the Fort Wayne Nationals.

For Best, the chance for his younger kids to get a chance to get better in the offseason is important to the overall health of the program.

“We encourage our kids to play basketball and work on their skills whenever possible,” said Best. “If AYBT offers this opportunity, that is just awesome.”

In fact, the ability for his players to get better throughout the entire year makes them so much more prepared once the season rolls around.

“We have a solid program from the entry level of Grade 3 through our varsity level players,” said Best. “We take pride in player development and like our kids to be involved in playing and developing their skills year around. I believe that the purpose of the AYBT model is to provide this and meet the needs of every player at every skill level.”

 

The American Youth Basketball Tour is America’s foremost leader in team basketball skills and character development. For more information on AYBT district tournaments and events, head over tohttp://aybtour.com/.

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Categories: featured, Fort Wayne, Indiana

One Response so far.

  1. jim clay says:

    great article on the knights. thanks coach best

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