With new coach Heath Kent and a revamped roster due to transfers and graduates, the defending Northern Illinois Big 12 East Champion DeKalb girls basketball team is turning the page.
“It’s a new team,” senior forward Paige Wogen. “We pretty much lost our whole team from last year so I think we just need to start getting to know each other and work together this summer. I think we will be fine this season.”
Summer workouts are underway for the Barbs and the defending Northern Illinois Big 12 East champions are looking to rebuild after a successful season.
With Madelyne Johnson transferring to Sycamore and Brittany Patrick missing practices make Kent wonder if she was returning, the new coach has been looking at the summer as a chance to evaluate new players. Wogen, Jasmine Malloy and Ashlei Lopez will return to lead the Barbs.
“In the summer, I try to give clear expectations of what I expect and how I want it done,” Heath said. “If I feel like the objectives aren’t being met — there are some ultimate ways of getting things done.”
Heath has been coaching high school basketball for the past 14 years, including eight with girls programs. He spent 10 year coaching at Marine City High School in Detroit before moving to Clayton High School in St. Louis for another four years.
Heath has ran numerous systems during his coaching tenure, with running a up-and-down-the-floor style in Detroit and more of a half-court set in St. Louis. The coach said that he isn’t married to a system, but coaches according to player’s strengths.
“I have had a couple of weeks to work with them and we are somewhere in between getting up and down the floor and play half court,” Kent said. “We are still trying to figure that out.”
Defensively, Kent wants his teams to guard players and not looking to sit in a zone. He said that he likes to pressure and attack teams. Wogen said that she likes what he will bring to the program.
“He is really nice,” Wogen said. “I think that he knows what he is doing. He is getting us in shape and getting us ready for the season.”
Having been commuting from DeKalb to St. Louis, which is more than a four-hour drive, has been tough for Kent to see all of the players. Now that he has officially moved to DeKalb earlier this month, he hopes to see more consistent play over the summer.
“We have a pretty dedicated group of kids that have been coming in the last few weeks,” he said.