By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Brad King has coached this year’s senior boys basketball players since they were in the 4th grade.
He knows these player’s strengths and what they bring to the basketball court.
“I’ve coached them in basketball, baseball, youth football, AAU for some of them,” King said.
That, and King’s extensive knowledge of the sport, made him an easy choice to be named the new head coach of the Warrior boys basketball team.
King will replace former head coach Josh Diersen, who resigned from his position back in May.
The school board made the hire official during their June meeting.
Dream come true
“I always wanted to be the head coach, but I thought the odds of me coaching in Caledonia were long,” King said. “JD (Diersen) was young, so we prepped our boys the whole time ‘this is who you’re going to play for, this is the style you’ll play, this is what he’s looking for,’” King said of preparing his own sons, Owen, Noah and Eli for playing basketball for Diersen.
“It never crossed my mind the possibility that I could be in position to be the leader of the program,” King said.
But conversations between Diersen and King, which began last year, made the possibility more likely.
“He started talking in the spring seriously about stepping down,” King said. “I applied and it worked out great.”
The long-time assistant of Diersen’s said a few minor changes will be made to the style of play that fans are accustomed to from the Warriors.
“Like Josh, I love to play fast, up tempo,” King said. “I wish we’d be like Wisconsin and adopt a shot-clock in high school.”
King said his defensive philosophy will look to free up the offensive play. He said he plans to tweak the main defense some and may play less zone coverage.
“We’re at our best when we’re running and open space up and down the floor,” King said.
King knows that the pace he plans to play will mean he’ll have to go seven, eight, maybe even nine or 10 players deep on his bench.
“We want the pace of play to wear our opponents down, not ourselves, so if we can’t go that deep we won’t be able to play that style,” he said.
The coach knows, however, this year’s team is the team that can do it.
When asked if he feels added pressure given the multiple trips to state, King replied, “I’m not really looking at it like win a state championship or bust. If I have 17 players who are successful in life and go through the process then we’ll be a success.”
King said he doesn’t plan to try to be the second coming of Josh Diersen and will bring his own style and experience to the position.
The coach is excited that his team will have eight seniors, Austin Heim, Owen King, Andrew Goergen, Jordan Burg, Walker Spier, Noah Kearney, Marten Morem and Sam Barthell.
That experience will help make the transition smoother as well as positively influence the younger players.
King is also looking forward to his non-conference schedule.
“We play Lake City in non-conference play, we play Minnehaha and Minneapolis North again,” he said. “We play a very good team from Wisconsin in the players classic. So we’ll be tested.”
King said he plans to be in the position for the foreseeable future. Some in the community have worried about him being torn with his son Owen agreeing to play basketball at South Dakota State University next season.
“I told him you might have gotten more of me when you were younger and now Eli and Noah will get more of me when I am older,” he said. “Susan will travel to Owen’s games but we knew when we were looking at schools that we would be giving a lot of time to Caledonia basketball even if I hadn’t gotten this position.”
King has already had several scrimmages in which his players have done well and he’s looking forward to the upcoming season.