Varsity Boys Basketball: Seeking Control

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Aala Basheir

Byron Benton '21 getting ready to pass the ball in the game against Muscatine.

Aala Basheir, Reporter

With a new head coach and the season just getting started, eyes are on the Little Hawks as they approach the 2019-2020 season. City High varsity basketball players have hopes of turning around their records from previous years.

“The people that criticize us, they don’t see the process. We see it throughout practice, we believe in ourselves, we know what we’re capable of,” Byron Benton ‘21 said.

Former assistant coach and new head coach Brennan Swayzer has his own history with basketball. Both his parents played basketball, and after having attained a height of six feet around age 10, Swayzer was immersed in the sport. After graduating from City High in 2000, he moved overseas to play professionally for six months, before a career-ending knee injury brought him back to Iowa.

“One thing that I’ve noticed is the most different [from] when I went to school here, and played basketball is how much we enjoyed each other’s success,” Swayzer explained. “Getting excited for each other instead of competing with each other.”

Swayzer believes in more than just doing drills and practicing plays before the season starts. In preparation, he’s getting the players in the right mindset.

“Learning how to deal with adversity [is important]. One of the things I like to tell the kids all the time is, ‘Control which you can control.’ You’ve never in any sport [seen] a player complain to the referee and the referee say, ‘You know what, you’re right, take that foul off the board,’” Swayzer said.

It’s a goal for Swayzer to make sure the boys are improving individually and as a team.

“Most of the preparation we’ve been doing up to this point has been mental. I’ve been putting the kids in positions and asking them to accomplish tasks that in reality are damn near impossible,” Swayzer said. “But the reason I do that [is] so you train for the extreme, but anything less than that, you’re still extraordinary.”

After becoming head coach, Swayzer has noticed a difference in responsibility when interacting with players.

“When I was an assistant coach, I was the guy that [the players] could lean on, they could come talk to when maybe they were upset with something the head coach had said to them,”