By Taylor Houston, Herald Staff
The Purcell High School Girls basketball team located in Cincinnati, Ohio and considered an unstoppable over the last couple of seasons. The basketball team is filled with state and nation-wide ranked players, and they have a state championship under their belt. But with this success it makes fans wonder why? What is their gameplay, thoughts and emotions when taking the court? In this interview head coach Jamar Mosley walks us through what makes his team great and how this roster came to be.
Taylor Houston: What was the mentality for this season? Did you want to improve your own record and gameplay, or did you come into the season with a different mindset?
Jamar Mosley: Honestly, we won a state championship last year and if someone would have asked me what my goal was last year before winning the state championship and what my goal is this year, it’d be the same thing. The goal is to get better every single day. We want to peak and, to win a state championship, it takes luck. We were healthy the entire year last year. We gained someone, we lost the season before, so luck plays a role in it.
I tell my girls every single day, our goal is just to get better every single day. That’s still my mentality. With that being, said, with the year that we had last year and coming off a 27-1 record and then returning just about everybody and adding a couple of pieces, I think we have some pretty high expectations from outsiders. However, if we do those things great but if not, like I said my goal for this squad is just to get better every single day. Whether it’s a practice, whether there’s a game, whether we have study hall or a film session, I just want us to get better day by day.
TH: You mentioned how you got rid of a couple and then added a couple pieces, meaning players to your roster. Are you finding yourself utilizing the same players that you did in the past winning season? How are you learning the new players and their gameplay?
JM: The first game of the season last year we started five freshmen, so those freshmen are very well not freshmen anymore, but those sophomores are very accustomed to what we’re trying to do, what we’re doing and how we go about things.
This year we brought in more talented freshmen; their biggest adjustment is getting fully acclimated with the speed of a high school basketball game. I think they’re just still trying to learn the system, still trying to learn how I go about certain things and just trying to find their niche within our system.
TH: What is your coaching style? Do you find yourself being a tough coach, or someone the girls could relate to?
JM: If you ask anybody, I know they would probably say I am a tougher coach. When we say tough, part of it is due to a course of a practice or a game, I’m very loud. However, I’m not saying anything demeaning, I’m not using any profanity, but I am loud the entire course of any practice or any basketball game, and I hold our kids to a very high standard and accountable.
Some may call it tough love, but at the end of the day, I know what it looks like when they leave the four walls of our high school. I know how tough the real world is. So, I just try to prepare them for anything outside of basketball because one day the basketball will stop bouncing.
TH: With the success of your team, how do you keep the outside noise and pressure out?
JM: I tell my girls all the time, if it’s not coming from the 30 of us [coaches, teammates, managers], I don’t care what people have to say to me. Even with ESPN ranking us as one of the top 20 teams in the country. Yes, that is good publicity, but at the end of the day it’s still someone’s opinion. Like I said, good publicity for the program is good publicity for the school. Regardless of what anybody is saying, we’re just going to go out there and do what we do. We keep everything on the outside on the outside.
TH: On your roster you have defensively strong players and offensively strong players. Are other schools catching on to who those players are? If so, how are you changing up the gameplay to throw those teams off?
JM: Yeah, I think that’s what makes us such a tough team to scout. Everyone knows about Dee Alexander. She’s averaging 28 points, top five player in the nation, regardless of class, everybody knows about her. But then you have Jayda Mosley and Trinity Small, who both have already had games where they’ve hit four plus threes. We also have Cy’aira Miller, who’s leading our conference in assists, but also averaging 10 points. Then there is Leigha Acoff, a freshman who’s had a game where she’s hit four threes, then there is McKenzie Jones who’s capable of having 15-20 points but just hasn’t got there yet.
So, you have eight good offensive players. There are not many teams that can say that they have eight threats offensively and I think we have eight true threats on the offensive end. I didn’t even say Nicohl Dicks because like I said she’s already had two games where she’s had 12 points shooting over 50% from the field from inside and from the three-point line. So, I think that makes us a really tough team to scout.
TH: Do you hope that these players that you’re stating go on to play at the collegiate level?
JM: If that is what they want. For example, Nicohl Dicks [she is our only Senior] I think if something just pops out saying, ‘here’s, a scholarship come play’, but even then, she may be one who says, ‘once I am done playing in High School I am done playing.’ But on the other hand, I know we have 5-6 girls who have the dreams to play at the next level. Because of this, my staff and myself do a really good job of pushing and challenging our girls so when they get there to the next level nothing’s brand new to them.
So, we have a very tough schedule on the floor. And just as our schedule by itself as far as our practices, our weight room sessions, and our film session. We do all those things on a daily basis. Before I took this Zoom meeting, we just got done with practicing film. So, if we’re not practicing film, it’s practicing study tables, if it’s not practicing study tables, then it’s practicing weights. We have a pretty rigorous schedule for those who want to go play at the next level. We want them to be as prepared as possible so there are no surprises.
TH: How is the film just as important as the practice? How does getting in the habit of watching film lead to the success of a game?
JM: When we watch film, I tell the girls ‘I am giving you the answers to the test.’. We are trying to make sure that our girls are as prepared as possible when they take the floor. I don’t want our girls to be surprised once they hit the floor to take an opponent. Because of this we try to show them as much personnel showing them what every player is going to do. We try to show them offensively and defensively, whatever the opposing team is going to do. We want them to feel ready when going into a game, and film is the number one piece in our program for that.
TH: Where do you hope to see your program in five years’ time?
JM: On the Basketball side I hope we can win five more state championships. But to be honest with you, I hope on the basketball court we continue to grow in numbers. Giving more girls opportunities to be a part of something special.
The reason I am on a mission for that is because in my first year I only had nine players. This year I have had the most players I have had since I’ve been here and that is 22. So, in five years if I can have a freshman JV and varsity team, that would be tremendous. And to continue to win. Like I said, we’ve done a really good job winning over the past few years. Last year winning the state championship. So, I just want to continue to grow the numbers and give more girls in our building the opportunity. I think what we have within our program is something special. So, I want to give more girls around our building an opportunity to be a part of the something special.