DeKALB – Members of the DeKalb High School girls basketball team ended practice Wednesday in groups of two; one varsity player and one underclassman.
New head coach Chris Davenport, who was approved for the position just last week by the DeKalb District 428 board, wanted to remind the Barbs of a message about family, and if one girl began to fall the other was there to catch her.
Davenport, who spent the past season as an assistant coach for the girls team and has worked with both boys and girls basketball at DeKalb for more than 15 years, already has the confidence of some of the Barbs for the upcoming season.
“I think he’s a great coach; he was around last year,” sophomore center Maddy Johnson said. “We already have that relationship with the team, and we know what the goal is of what he wants.”
Johnson said Davenport’s and the team’s goal was to go further in the postseason. Last year, the Barbs made it to supersectionals, only one game away from state. For Davenport and several of the other girls, their main goal was to make it to state.
Davenport replaced Ben Bates, who resigned to accept a new teaching position in Plainfield.
Davenport said he believes few changes need to be made to improve the team after a supersectional appearance.
“There will always be changes with coaching styles and different people.” Davenport said. “Personalitywise I am who I am, so it will take a while for some of them to get used to that. I intend to bring intensity to the table as head coach.”
Senior guard Rachel Torres felt optimistic on how well Davenport would work with the team and the changes that would be made along with the new head coach.
“I know that he is always going to be encouraging us and he’s going to be there for us. The positive energy we’re going to have as a team with coach Davenport is amazing,” Torres said.
Davenport looks forward to his new role after he spent one year as assistant girls coach and saw how much he loved working with the girls.
“I liked it last year. It calmed me down,” Davenport said, “because my nature is pretty intense, the girls taught me a lot and taught me how to reserve myself.”
Davenport said he was put in a good situation when the girls made a supersectional appearance last season and ended the previous season with a record of 23-7.
The new coach struggles with the idea of having roughly 20 girls in the program, but he hopes to bring more players into the fold.
“I want them to understand that it’s everyone, not just the ones who are getting the most playing time.” Davenport said. “I want everyone to feel like it’s a family because that’s something I’m going to push very hard, and we’re hoping to add more girls to the family.”