Fairview boys basketball has featured a Cooksey at the helm since 2006. The Eagles have had three different coaches in that time frame.
Three years under Rex (that time around) and 10 years directed by Derek paved the way for Brett.
Brett Cooksey is no stranger to the hardwood sideline.
“It’s been pretty smooth,” the former assistant said of the transition. “I was the JV coach for 10 years, so I’ve been around a lot of these guys as they’ve come up through our program. I got to watch them develop.”
Derek Cooksey gave his brother a good deal of freedom, Brett said.
So, what’s the younger Cooksey’s style?
“We’re not going to go up and down the floor 100 mpg, but whenever we’ve got chances, we’ll take them,” Cooksey said. “Defensively, we’ll work on the half court and shut down driving lanes.”
Jaxon Manning, Terrick Smith and Jack Roy are returning starters and provide a solid foundation for building blocks.
Manning logged a considerable chunk of minutes as a freshman. He’s a versatile guard who will likely assume the point guard spot, primarily.
Smith enters 2019-20 as a third-year starter. He’s no longer simply a 3-point specialist.
“Every year, I’ve had to change my role because different people leave,” Smith said. “My first year, Cameron Conley was the leader of the team, so I just had to shoot.”
Shoot, he did. And shoot, he did well. Smith splashed in 75 triples at a 41.2% clip as a sophomore. He attempted only 42 2-point shots.
Two years later, Smith said he’s focused on weight training, ball-handling and lane penetration going into his senior campaign.
“Defense, rebounding and boxing out are the main keys this year,” said Smith, who canned 77 of 207 3s (37.2%) last year. “If we do those things, we should be able to win a lot of games.”
Roy, a 6-foot-3 forward, has the potential to excel in the paint. He leaned on athleticism to battle through hoops inexperience. He collected 36 rebounds over the final three games of the season, including a dozen in Fairview’s 70-63 loss to Boyd County in the 64th District Tournament.
“Jack’s a real good athlete,” Cooksey said of the junior who doubles as the Eagles’ quarterback. “We’ve got to do a good job of looking at him first, playing inside-out. If we do, it’ll open up that perimeter shot. He’s gotta have his touches in there.”
Added Manning: “We’ve definitely gotta hit Jack in the post. Last year, we didn’t do that as much. This year we really gotta focus on getting him passes. He’s a beast down there.”
Manning and Smith averaged a combined 19.5 points a contest last season.
Cooksey pointed to several others who will contribute on both ends of the floor. Among them: Jay Ferguson, Eric Jordan, Jason Mays and Brandon Elswick. Ferguson, Mays and
“We’ve had more numbers this year, so we’re getting a better look at everybody in practice,” said the coach.
With his dad on the girls’ sideline, Brett Cooksey said he can rely on sage advice whenever needed.
“If I need to change something, he’ll be the first one to say, hey, this is what I’m seeing. You’ve gotta listen to him,” Brett said. “He’s got 40 years of experience. Every once in a while, we’ll be in practice and I’ll look down the court and he sneaks in there. He’s always around and that’s a good asset to have.”
As for the brother-versus-brother matchup between Brett and Derek (Fairview and Russell) slated for Jan. 17 in Westwood, Brett said, “That’ll be a good test in the middle of January. Whenever we play that one, it’ll probably look weird that he’s on the other end of the floor because we’ve never been that way. ... We’ve got a lot of tests before then.”
Fairview visits West Carter on Dec. 3 to tip off the season.