The recipe for a winning culture isn’t always just talent. Sometimes it’s far more. For Stephens County, the boys basketball program has been, is, and will littered with talented athletes and two-sport stars. The Indians have made it to the Sweet 16 in each of the past three seasons, which is no easy feat.
However, they’re looking for more, even with a big coaching change. Former Elbert County coach Jeremy Hughes takes over the program, and brings with him Final 4 experiences as a coach and former player at Hart County. He knows the best way for Stephens County to make that next step is what happens off the court, not on it.
“I brought them all in…I’ve changed from being focused on winning all the time to have a growth mindset,” says Hughes. “We’re going to work on character, and try to build a culture of growth and accountability. If I can get two or three to really buy in and really start holding each other accountable, then we’re heading in the right direction. Winning is not everything, but if we take care of all the little things, that winning will continue.”
Stephens County has had some solid playmakers in recent years, including De’Undra Singleton (University of North Georgia) and Ty Nails to name a pair. This year’s group will feature many of the same names as last year, including Chris Sinclair, Nigel Green, Daniel Mayfield, Kenny Colwell, and MJ Jones to name a handful.
“[Green] has probably some of the best vision with the ball and of course quickness that I’ve seen out of any player I’ve ever coached,” says Hughes about his point guard.
“I know nothing but play fast,” adds Hughes about what to expect from the tempo for Stephens County this year.
Senior guard Jones, a football standout athlete as well, feels like the Indians are built with this coaching change to go places they haven’t been yet.
“For me and my class, we’ve been wanting a region championship and past the Sweet 16,” says Jones, who believes this coaching change may be what pushes the Indians over the top.
The Indians have won 59 games in the past three seasons, earning two region runner-up titles and making the Sweet 16 each of those years. With that success came rankings as high as #3 in the state during the 2017-18 season.
Digital Copy of Interview – DJ Jones
Digital Copy of Interview - DJ Jones
Digital Copy of Interview – Jeremy Hughes
Digital Copy of Interview - Jeremy Hughes