From the football field to the basketball court

Davis and Tibbs now suit up for Coach Delaney


Photo submitted

Sophomore Jaron Tibbs honed his skills playing AAU basketball over the summer. He now will transition to winter sports as a member fo the varsity basketball team.

Andrew de las Alas , Reporter

For some fall athletes, the lower temperatures and shorter days of winter are accompanied by a hiatus from a season of energetic practices and high-stakes games. However, for sophomores Jaron Tibbs and Jake Davis, falling leaves mean an end to football and the beginning of basketball. 

Tibbs, a wide receiver, and Davis, a tight end, both ended their second year of football at Lucas Oil Stadium in a victory over Zionsville at the 5A State championship game. Now both are in the process of transitioning to point guards on the basketball team. Although both athletes are in shape physically, they will need to make adjustments. Tibbs said over Zoom, “I have to get my body back into basketball shape. It’s way different from football.” Davis added that on the court “it’s mainly all cardio” compared to “sevensecond bursts” on the field. 

Speaking via Zoom, Head Basketball Mr. Coach Jason Delaney said that much of the physical improvements will come with practice itself. However, improving the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are a must. Delaney said, “It’s two different styles. Basketball has a lot more up and down activity and quick movement.”

Delaney said, “We do high intensity drills. We’re a high intensity offense.” Tibbs and Davis will need plenty of energy to continue the team’s success, which ended last season as the third-highest scoring team in the state. 

Both players take the initiative to work on their own. “Both go to gyms to make shots and work on their skills,” Delaney said. Both are enrolled in advanced physical education, and Delaney said that they’re adjusting despite online instruction. Davis said that he wants to build more lean muscle to be quicker on the court and is “focusing on what Coach (Mr. Cody) Johnson did” when he lifts on his own. Tibbs said that he’s “doing what I can at home to stay in shape” and specifically works on his jump shot. 

Aside from improving their bodies and skills, integrating the mental aspect will be necessary as well.  Tibbs said that he just needs to “get back into the flow of basketball.”

Delaney said, “The mental piece is already there. They’re on the target.” The coach was happy to note that both athletes remembered the plays. As freshmen, both made varsity, an indication of their talent and athletic ability. Delaney said, “They took advantage of the opportunity.” Tibbs and Davis shot 59% and 53% from behind the three-point arc, respectively. 

The transition from the field to the court is made easier from time spent playing on an Amateur Athletic Union team over the summer. Tibbs said that they played with one of the top guards in the country, and were exposed to “the best competition in the grade.” 

For the coming season, Delaney said, “We want to see some leadership out of both of them.” Tibbs and Davis played more than 20 games last year, and as experienced team members, Delaney hopes that they can pass on their knowledge and make the squad even better than it was. 

We want to see some leadership out of both of them.”

— Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney

Maintaining the cohesion from football is vital. “I want to bring the team feeling. I felt like we really connected. This year, football was different. It would be great if we had that type of connection in basketball,” said Davis.

Echoing the sentiment, Tibbs said, “The bond we had on the football team was the closest I’ve ever been with a team before.”

Davis said that in particular, “We as a team need to take in the freshman players to help prepare him for his next four years.”

Tibbs said, “Last year we were the newbies. We had people help us. Since we’re experienced, it’s kind of our job to help them.” The two named Tayshawn Comer ‘20, Jared Frank ‘20, Grant Tuag ‘20, and senior Vincent Brady as mentors. Comer in particular was able to give his own experience as a former freshman varsity team member.  

Building from a tremendous football season, Delaney said, “We hope the championship mentality carries over. It’s two different sports, but the same concepts and mentality to win.” Both players will bring a degree of toughness that they can provide for the rest of the team.

Delaney said, “We have high hopes. We’re a very deep team.” With the boys’ absence during the first two varsity games, other players were given an opportunity to improve their skills. Now with their return, “we can add them back to a stronger team,” the coach said.  

For the season, the athletes are optimistic. “We finished it off right, got a ring in football, and maybe basketball,” said Tibbs. “We’re trying,” said a smiling Davis.