NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Women’s basketball gearing up for season

NECC women’s basketball coach Brent Bass has been working since last winter to bring a competitive women’s basketball team to the floor for the 2014-2015 season.  Coach Bass, in his first year as the head coach, has been recruiting at high schools all over the area over the past year in hopes of bringing in new talent.

Bass spent a lot of time speaking with local high school coaches and asking about players they have who are interested in attending NECC.  High schools in Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, Haverhill and southern New Hampshire were all contacted.  Bass also attended various summer leagues and camps for high school players, hoping to scout recruits for this year and possibly the 2015-2016 season.  Over this past summer, Bass has spent time following up with many of these recruits and gauging their interest in the program.

In addition, Bass has taken advantage of the many open houses that NECC offers, and he has gotten plenty of exposure for the program, which has been an issue in the past.  Coach Bass’s goal is to make the program more visible not only around campus but also in the community.  He understands that there are other programs for these players to choose.  Bass even admits that he has lost a few recruits to nearby Middlesex Community College and other Division III basketball programs, which he says is “just a part of the game.”

“There’s a lot of options out there, so you really have to sell the NECC product to these girls.  That means education and basketball,” said Bass.

Coach Bass has plenty of work still to do with his team.  Once he has a satisfactory amount of players to commit, which he hopes will be 10-12, he has to make sure that those commitments are kept.  Bass knows that, as community college students, there are many other commitments, such as a job or a family, that can take priority over basketball.

In response to this, Bass is making an effort to make the team much more accessible for the players.  One way he is doing this is with the flexibility of practice times.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, which are known to be heavier schoolwork days, Bass runs practice later in the day at 7 p.m.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the lighter workload days, practice begins at 3 p.m.  In addition, the will be practice on Saturday mornings.

Bass hopes that this staggered practice schedule will help those players who may have work after class some days during the week, or have one day where classes run until the evening.  This way, all of the players will be able to make it to some practice over the course of the week, even if they can’t make it to every single one.

As far as the way practices are run, coach Bass has a system that he’s been using in his years as an AAU coach in the area.  He has a simple playing philosophy that he is always repeating: “defense, rebound, and run.”  In order to play this style well, Bass focuses on many different skill work drills, such as dribbling and passing, in order to help ensure ball control.  Ball control is a large part of Bass’s game plan, as well as a tight, clamp-down defense.

Bass is a big proponent of playing smart basketball.  His practices are very regimented, focused on building up players’ fundamentals and learning to execute plays.  He also knows that basketball is a game of running and jumping, so conditioning is a big part of his preparation.

“I think it’s one of the more physically taxing sports out there, and you need to be able to run,” said Bass.

Practices are fast-paced, changing between drills with little rest, and consist of various cardio-workouts and team drills.

Practice begins on Monday, Oct. 6 in the Sport and Fitness Center.  This gives the Knights just over a month to prepare for their first game against Lincoln Technical Institute on November 8.  This season, the schedule is heaviest in the months of November and January.  The Knights kick off the season with six games before Thanksgiving break, and there are 10 games in January once winter break is over.

Coach Bass uses his past experiences as a coach and instructor to help him lead the Knights this year.  Bass has been an AAU instructor and coach since 1999.  In those 15 years of experience, he has been a coach for the Bay State Blizzards programs and has also coached various ages from both genders.  Bass came to NECC in 2012 as an assistant coach, and took over the head coaching position in the summer of 2013.  He knows that the key to getting good players is selling the school as well as the program, and he’s already been doing so.

“I would love to build a program here.  It’s going to be a quality program that will represent the school well,” Bass said.

The test begins on October 6, when Bass and his new recruits begin their preparations for a great 2014-2015 season.  With a tough schedule on the horizon, the hard work is going to have to begin right away.