11/12/08 — Jones will make debut versus Saints

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Jones will make debut versus Saints

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 12, 2008 1:46 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Taylor Jones preaches intensity and mental toughness.

Even to himself.

"I am enthusiastic ... always ready to go," said Jones less than 24 hours before tonight's season-opening game against Southern Wayne. "Whether it was as a player or as a coach, I am always going to give it my best effort."

Jones took over for Johnny Galarza, who spent one season with the Gators. A North Duplin and Campbell University grad, Jones is the fourth varsity men's coach in the program's eight-year history.

"I want our guys to focus on getting better every time they step on the court," said Jones. "The thing that has impressed me the most about the group of players we have is the maturity level.

"They seem to have grown up a lot since last season."

Jones is familiar with the team after spending last season as Galarza's assistant. He was the obvious choice to take over the program.

"He really did a great job last year coaching both the junior varsity basketball team and the junior varsity baseball team," said Spring Creek athletics director Heath Whitfield said. "His enthusiasm and his positive attitude seems to bring out the best in his players."

All that familiarity is valuable to Jones.

"It's a big advantage, just moving into the head coaching position from the junior varsity," said Jones. "I know what to expect from the returning guys. We scrimmaged Wayne Country Day and we play our first regular season game against a 3-A team (Southern Wayne) on the road.

"I will learn a lot about where we are as team during the opening stretch."

One place Jones expects his team to be strong is in the backcourt.

"We have a very athletic set of guards," said Jones. "We have some versatility and flexibility with guys that can play the point or the wing, or even in the paint. We want the kids to get better, and we want them to understand what it takes to play their best.

"I don't have a certain magic number of wins and losses in my head, but I do know what I want to see from this team."

Spring Creek finished 6-14 a year ago.