Ferriday coach recognized

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ferriday — Littered with young players throughout the lineup, Ferriday High School coach K.G. Watkins knew to temper expectations with his young squad.

But the youthful Trojans still gave the experienced coach plenty of smiles this past season.

For his efforts, Watkins was selected as The Natchez Democrat’s 2015-16 All-Metro Coach of the Year.

Email newsletter signup

The grizzled coach managed to guide his team to a 19-8 mark with several thrills along the way, including a 63-49 win over Runnels in the opening round of the LHSAA Class 2A playoffs.

Ferriday’s playoff run and season ended a few days later after its win over Runnels as it suffered a 10-point loss to Episcopal High School. Yet, Watkins remains optimistic about the years to come.

“I’m satisfied with what we’re doing as a program,” he said. “The program is heading in the right direction.”

Sophomore forward Dantrieze Scott led the youthful Trojans, averaging 9.2 rebounds per game to go along with more than a 14-point average. The bruising forward was backed by fellow rising sophomores Marquell Griffin and Dare Rosenthal.

“They’re hungry,” Watkins said. “Next year will be a better year for us.”

Watkins said he has high expectations not only due to his core retuning, but also in conjunction with the LHSAA dividing teams into select and non select groupings beginning next season.

“That eliminates us from (facing) some of these schools that are recruiting,” he said. “And I think that will be to our benefit.”

Watkins said it was a challenge to coach such a young squad, but at the same time noted it was a rewarding experience as well.

“High school basketball is a little different than anything else,” he said. “You have to take what you get, and we’re very fortunate to have a talented young group. We’re looking at two more years with the core group, and then we don’t know what else may come up through the pipelines.”

Watkins pointed out perhaps the steepest challenge coming in how to approach each of his players with a specific philosophy.

“Each kid is different, and you have to approach them with focus on their strengths and weaknesses and try to work with each one to get better, and the kids have responded. Nothing goes further than success and once they become successful, they want more.”

While Watkins remained humble about his coaching honors, the seventh-year coach noted the recognition was a team effort.

“This means to me that the kids what I asked of them,” Watkins said. “I didn’t make a single free throw, and I didn’t a shot. They’re the ones executing on a day-to-day basis. For us to be recognized in that respect, that means the kid what they were asked to do. Whatever accolades I get is based on the kids executing.”