Transitions are never easy, but that’s exactly what head coach Jesse Davis is trying to do at Ypsilanti Lincoln this season.
One of the bigger stories in the Southeastern Conference White Division last offseason was the decision of head coach Rich Marion to step down from the program. Last season, the Railsplitters put together a 13-10 record and finished third in the division.
Ultimately, Ypsilanti Lincoln opted to bring in Jesse Davis to take the helm.
Most recently, Davis was an assistant at Milan where he helped lead the program to a state championship in 2014 and the development of several Division I players, including Nick Perkins and Latin Davis. In last year’s Prep Hoops Michigan rankings, Perkins and Davis came in at No. 8 and No. 11 respectively.
However, despite Davis’ experience and success as an assistant with Milan, he’s primarily just focused on getting to know his players at this point. In fact, he said Lincoln had a lot of open practices over the summer just so Davis could “get to know [his] players and see what [he] had on the roster.”
In fact, one of the biggest things that Davis has been focused on achieving is a smooth transition. He told Prep Hoops Michigan that there would be “no Coach Carter moments” as he wanted the transition to be more about him getting to know the players and the players getting an opportunity to get to know him than anything else.
Of course, there are some things that Davis is hoping to bring from his previous experience.
“I’ll definitely be bringing things I’ve learned throughout my coaching experience,” Davis told Prep Hoops Michigan. “I’ve had a chance to be friends with and coached with some great coaches like Steve Brooks, Anthony Davis, Latin Davis, Latin Davis, Sr., Mike Garland, Chris Pope, Brandon Schmidts, Josh Tropea, and the late John Edwards. All great coaches I have been able to learn from, so I will take with me a piece of them plus my personal approach to the game.”
Heading into this season, Davis has high hopes for his team. Two of the players he expects to lean on the most will be Ty Groce and Tray Jackson. Prep Hoops Michigan has Groce ranked as the No. 7 player in the 2016 class and Jackson ranked as the No. 14 player in the 2018 class.
Nonetheless, Davis sees this year’s Lincoln team as a young one that he hopes to see improve during the season. Three players that he says having the potential breakout are Nick Linton, Charve Patterson, and JeJuan Williams. In particular, he sees Patterson and Williams as high energy players that can provide defensive boosts to the team.
Though Lincoln will have plenty of room to grow heading into the season, it’s a roster with some legitimate talent and plenty of young players that could improve down the stretch. Ultimately, if Lincoln can improve as new head coach Davis hopes, maybe the transition can go better than even Davis himself hoped when he took the job.