T.C. Williams Varsity Basketball Coach Julian King will have some big high-tops to fill when he takes over from former coach Ivan Thomas next season. Thomas led the Titans to their first state championship in 31 years. But that was last season.
People forget that King is also a championship coach. As assistant coach last year, King worked directly under Thomas, helping coach the players to go above and beyond the rim. But that was last season.
This season, King, a former professional basketball player overseas, will take the helm of the Titans ship to steer a young team forward. He is no stranger to the program or to the game.
Alexandria Times: How will you continue the success of last years team?
Julian King: We need to wipe the slate clean. That was 2008. A new season is coming. We cant dwell on that. We can look at it and reflect, but Im not going to try to be Coach Thomas and I dont want these [players] to feel the pressure to be those seven players from last year that was a unique group o guys. They had a chance to grow and develop together. Well have younger players next season.
AT: Whats your coaching style like?
JK: Probably a little more laid back. Of course, I have my boiling points, but Coach Thomas is such an eloquent speaker, a good motivator, before and after the boiling points. I state the point, You can either get it done or we will find some one else who can. Play hard, work hard no matter what, and we will continually get better day by day. We will keep the same work ethic and philosophy from last year.
The prediction is that well play hard and good. If not, you’ll be writing my name in the obituaries.
T.C. Williams Basketball Coach Julian King
AT: Is there any pressure following in the footsteps of a such a successful coach?
JK: To be honest with you its not any more pressure I would put on myself than if we hadnt won it. Our goal is to win the state championship. The ultimate goal of any high school basketball team is to do that, so theres always pressure to do that. I put pressure on myself and I know that this is a community that loves its basketball. The season is going to be real tough. We may not win the way were accustomed to winning, but you dont know. I feel the pressure but I also felt the excitement.
AT: How will your playing experience contribute to your coaching?
JK: Its tough. I had one year [in pro basketball] when I served as kind of a player-coach. Its really a really tough transition because being a player, you dont have as much to worry about. Now its a whole program. My year with Coach [Thomas] game me a better understanding with management and things like that. I think I learned from one of the best.
AT: What will be different from when you were assistant coach?
JK: Being an assistant coach you have a different relationship with the players than the head coach. I was that buffer between the player and the head coach. I have to let them know that its a different story this season.
AT: Any predicitions for next season?
JK: The prediction is that well play hard and be good. If not, youll be writing my name in the obituaries.