Coach is backbone of winning basketball program
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 7, 2013
Nothing seems to be certain except for death, taxes and Windsor boys’ basketball’s domination of the Central Connecticut Conference. According to the coach, it’s all about the program. “I put the program before I put myself," said Windsor basketball head coach Ken Smith. "I try and teach the kids to put something else before them to make them better as a whole, as a group. Our program is about developing kids. It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about making them the best they can be.”
Smith has driven his kids to work hard in the classroom as well as off the court, and he believes that the dedication and work ethic they build away from the court will make them that much better on the court. He said he does not measure success by wins and losses, but rather measures it by the number of kids he puts into college after each season, and the number who earn academic or athletic scholarships.
On paper, Smith’s resume is nearly flawless. Over the past five seasons, he has compiled a 110-14 overall record, won a state championship in 2009 and won three consecutive Central Connecticut Conference North Division titles and CCC tournament championships.
His team had three goals at the start of the season: win the CCC North, the CCC tournament and a state championship. Two out of the three have been achieved, and as press time, the Warriors were just three games from their final goal of a championship game at Mohegan Sun Arena. Smith said he is proud of his team for its accomplishments thus far, but the work is far from over, as the players work out and practice every day to fine-tune their game and get ready for the home stretch of the post-season in the state tournament versus some very talented teams.
“Coach Smith is a great coach, one of the best in the state,” said Tyler Rowe, a junior point guard. “He makes us great. He pushes us to work hard and get better.”
The Warriors’ season got off to a great start with eight consecutive victories, but the wins were not coming as a unit, and the team lacked togetherness and cohesion. The team hung a poster in the locker room that reads: "Teamwork - It’s amazing what can get accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." The poster has encouraged players to work things out and define roles for themselves to help the program work toward a common goal.
The development of maturity fostered a winning mentality within the program and proved to be quite helpful when Windsor caught the injury bug and saw a few of its key players miss games, including senior Jaquan Harrison with a broken left foot and junior Jared Wilson-Frame with a right ankle-sprain. The injuries allowed other players to receive more minutes and develop their games, which may prove crucial, as Smith will look to them off the bench to contribute in key situations.
“We have had a lot of ups and downs as far as chemistry and everyone playing together because we are a new team,” said Wilson-Frame. “We had a lot of key seniors leave last year, and a lot of kids on this team did not have varsity experience, so it’s nice that we came together and everything is flowing.”