By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Transitioning from a long-time, successful coach like a Tyler Allen is no easy feat to say the least. It’s a giant hole, crater perhaps, to fill entering the first-year following Allen stepping down from the program following South Salem’s fifth-place finish and after eight years coaching the Saxons.
With the coaching staff expecting 60 kids to show up to one of the final open gyms entering try-outs on November 18 Thursday evening, first-year Head Coach Travis Brown hopes to make it as smooth of a transition as possible.
Brown will still work the offense as he did last year as an assistant under Allen, Jaren Jones will stay with the defense with the practice schedule very similar to that in which Allen ran in 2018. Also too, it’ll help with returning players like Trey Galbraith, Parker Johnson and Peyton Kriezter in help in that transition.
“My coaching philosophy is very similar to Allen’s. We’re going to get up and down the court, have a AAU-Style of coaching where we’re going to get up-and-down the floor. We’re going to be fast and we’re going to transition to our fast defense,” said Brown. “We want to play fast on defense…it won’t be that much of a change of what he did. Basketball is basketball.”
The in-transfer of Emorej Lynk from Kennedy will help too once the Senior gets cleared from a knee injury he suffered in the Trojans 2A State Football Game against Santiam in 2018.
But the difficulties of replacing athlete’s like a Ryan Brown, Eric Lungu, Jaden Nielsen-Skinner and Treyden Harris is no easy task to say the least.
Nielsen-Skinner’s at Portland State for basketball, Lungu was Defensive Player of the Year and Brown’s athleticism landed him a spot on the Oregon State University baseball team and Harris’ shot making ability was helped South in clutch situations last season. So filling those voids left behind is a sizable dent all in itself for Travis Brown taking over the program this season.
“Lungu was a huge one because he’s a defensive force, he was everywhere. Then you got a guy like Treyden who can sit in the corner and hit down (shots). I was watching the McNary film and he shot us back into the game with his shooting ability,” said Brown. “Then Brown, his athleticism in the paint, those are very hard to replace.
“We have a lot of good guys coming in for us that will fill some of those shoes, but the shoes will be a little bit sloppy on their end.”
Galbraith will be looked too to fill Nielsen-Skinner’s shoes this season as a Senior himself, having learned from Skinny and Tyler Wadleigh over the past three years as he came into his own as a ball-player.
And as the November 18 first practice day comes up, Galbraith will be looked at the same way as Skinny and Wadleigh to lead South Salem this Winter.
“He’s been groomed really well for it. Being under Wadleigh and under Skinny, he’s been in a Varsity role for four-years of his life,” said Brown of Galbraith. “More things to get out now is being more boisterous. Skinny did a really good job last year being a boisterous leader, a positive boisterous and that’s what I’m trying to do with Trey this year is be more positive boisterous (role).”