JIMTOWN — New Jimtown coach Ron Dietz is blending the old with the new as he tries to come up with a winning formula for a Jimmie boys basketball program that finished 4-17 last winter.
He certainly has plenty of both ingredients with which to work.
There are six veterans — Michael Hobbs the leading scorer among them last season at 3.3 points a game — but also three freshmen on the varsity roster.
There is, of course, the new head coach, yet in some ways the staff oozes old Jimtown as much as ever. Not only do three of the assistants stay the same, but longtime Jimmie JV coach Ryan Gingerich is back after a one-year gig at Northridge, and one of the Jims’ all-time great players, Tyler Leighton, has come aboard after stints playing pro and helping out at Valparaiso University.
Then there’s that historically feisty and disciplined defense, an area where Dietz says he definitely wants to maintain the old, and the program’s historically calculating offense, which he is daring to speed up with something new.
“There is going to be a bit of a new approach to the old way of doing things, with great respect to the tradition here,” Dietz says. “You have that hard-working ethic that is implanted in the kids here. So we have that, and then hopefully we’ve given them coaches they’re comfortable with who will help them succeed.”
Dietz himself qualifies as old and new. While this is his first year as Jimmie head coach, it’s his 18th head coaching season overall.
He’s accustomed to challenges. The latest includes taking over a club that lost its top three scorers from a year ago.
“We want to improve the win total over last year, no doubt about that,” Dietz says, “but we also want to set up the program so that the seniors have a positive experience this year and the younger kids are developing.”
Jimtown opens Nov. 27 when it hosts Lakeland Christian.
Jimtown Coach Ron dietz’s take
Who are the candidates to receive regular playing time and what do they bring to the mix?
We don’t have five starters, but we have a nucleus that starts with our seniors inside. Augie (Farwig) and Michael Hobbs and Mason Brown are all seniors, and then you add Brody Olson to that, who’s a fantastic leader and a Jimtown hard-nosed kind of kid, and we’re glad he’s joined us. Then our experience on the outside is Alec Brown at the point. And then out there we’ve also got Chase Hoeflinger, and then the younger kids are out there to supplement.”
What have been the challenges that come with a transition to a new coach?
“If there’s been any challenge, it’s just making sure the kids are comfortable with the system we’re putting in. There are subtle changes that we’re making that we think will help not only this year, but in the future. We’d liked to get a little more up-tempo, but not at the expense of turning the ball over. Jimtown’s been known for taking care of the basketball, and hopefully that’s not going to change. The kids have been real positive about any changes, and I think a lot of that is the comfort with the coaches.”
You can teach kids defense, but you can’t teach them to love it. Is there an advantage here in that a lot of the kids seem to love it?
“That’s exactly right. It’s been the bread and butter here. It’s been preached here for a lot of years, and it’s going to continue to be. We want to take that defense and create opportunities for the offense. Even though it has a ways to go, I think our defense is potentially solid. It has a good foundation.”
The offense didn’t have much punch last year, and the main punchers are gone. How do you proceed?
“We think we’ve got some kids, especially the younger kids, who could shoot the ball very well. Adam DeShone can shoot the lights out. Alec can shoot when he’s settled down. Chase and Dylan (Guldager) can shoot. (Nick) Floyd might be our purest shooter. Now, one or two of them are small, so we may have to help them get the shots, but we have kids who can shoot. I think we have kids who shoot better than last year, but the ball still has to touch the inside with the experienced people we have in there. Offense has to start on the inside. Our challenge is going to be learning roles and certainly shot selection, but I think we can be better.”
By the numbers
The Jimmies’ road record over the last three seasons — including 1-10 last season — compared to 17-13 at home.
Consecutive years that there’s been a DeShone in the program. Adam, son of longtime coach Randy and brother of last seaon’s coach, Derrick, is a freshman guard.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Yr.
10 Luke Crocker G 5-10 Jr.
14 Alec Brown G 5-11 Sr.
20 Chase Hoeflinger G 6-2 Jr.
22 Nick Floyd F 6-2 So.
24 Adam DeShone G 5-10 Fr.
30 Mason Brown G/F 5-10 Sr.
34 Dylan Guldager G 6-1 Fr.
42 Trevor Hobbs G/F 6-3 Fr.
44 Augie Farwig C 6-6 Sr.
50 Brody Olson F 5-11 Sr.
52 Michael Hobbs C 6-4 Sr.
Coach: Ron Dietz (first season at Jimtown; 177-194 in 17 seasons overall; 44-86 in 6 seasons at Marian; 49-60 in 5 seasons at Concord; 84-48 in 6 seasons at FW Dwenger).
Assistants: Alan Grzeskowiak, Tyler Leighton, Ryan Gingerich, Dave Sharpe, Joel Sienicki.
27 — Lakeland Christian. 30 — at Clinton Christian.
4 — at Northridge. 8 — Argos. 11 — NorthWood. 14 — at Culver (c). 18 — Central Noble.
4 — Knox (c). 9 — at Marian. 11 — at New Prairie (c). 15 — West Noble. 19 — Westview. 25 — Triton (c). 29 — Elkhart Christian.
1 — at Bremen (c). 7 — Glenn (c). 12 — at Bethany Christian. 15 — at Concord. 19 — Fairfield. 22 — at LaVille (c).
(c) — Denotes Northern State Conference game.
Points: Michael Hobbs 3.3, Mason Brown 2.8, Chase Hoeflinger 2.4, Augie Farwig 1.6.