On Thursday, Oct. 5, Anna High School hosted its first-annual basketball clinic for local high school coaches and members of Anna’s boys and girls varsity teams. Guest coaches from both the collegiate and high school ranks were on hand to pass on their knowledge and expertise. Leading the instruction were Jason Burton, women’s head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce; Darin Grover, women’s head coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State; Russell Best, boys head coach at Van Alstyne High School; and noted Dallas player-developer Tim Martin.


Lady Coyotes head coach Albert Cager and Coyotes head coach Kyle Phifer were among the coaches observing the event along with about 10 local-area coaches. Anna players assisted by demonstrating drills and strategies described by clinic leaders.


“It was a good night,” Phifer said. “We got a lot of coaches together and had some really good speakers who were able to share some things that made their programs successful. I hope it’s something we can continue, moving forward.”


Cager said he too hoped this is something Anna will repeat and build on. “Anytime you get a chance to hear from college coaches — be hands on, that close to those college coaches — it reiterates what we’ve been doing,” he said. “A lot of the things that they talk about, a lot of the same concepts, are exactly what we’re trying to get to. And it was good for the girls and the boys to hear it from someone else besides me and Coach Phifer. Sometimes they get kind of tired of our voices saying the same thing over and over. Hearing from actual college coaches who have been successful at the next level … it just puts us in a really good spot as we move forward. It’s confirmation that we’re doing the right thing.”


Burton, who owns a 50-36 record in three years at A&M-Commerce — the highest winning percentage in program history — spoke on offensive techniques and team culture. SOSU’s Grover was the 2015 Great American Conference Coach of the Year and has amassed a 233-142 overall head coaching record. His portion of the program involved describing methods for creating success. Best, with a 114-44 mark in recent years at Van Alstyne with numerous post-season appearances, discussed motion offense and shooting. Dallas-based Martin provided court demonstrations on skill development and a breakdown of the “read and react” workout.


“Tim Martin is going to L.A. next week to work out Juwan Evans, who played at Oklahoma State and plays for the Clippers now,” Phifer said. “And [Clippers head coach] Doc Rivers actually asked him to do this individual work with all the Clippers. [Martin] just got back from China, working out their national team. He talked with the kids about being professional on and off the floor and how to handle yourself. He also talked to the coaches about networking.”