NECC Observer

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

Stratton returns as basketball coach

The love of the game is something we hear a lot in the sports world, but only few can say they have seen others show this type of love on an everyday scale. Here at NECC we have some very dedicated staff members that work hard making sure think that NECC is a great place to grow and learn on and off the field.

One guy who is very known for his contributions across the Haverhill landscape and has a respected basketball rep is new men’s basketball coach Darren Stratton. Stratton will be taking over for Joe Tardif who took over for Stratton over the course of a few years and will inherit a team whose last year record was a blistering 5- 20.

Many people would probably look elsewhere for a coaching job, but Stratton sees the community college game as his niche in the market and plans on making an impact by focusing on all the little details from day one.

When asked about the long Hitaus from JUCO basketball, Stratton says “I came back because I missed the game and being able to help those guys in my community. Yes, I have been volunteering since my time off to help coaches but being able to give those community college guys a chance, some a second and third is something I truly miss.”

Now back in his first season in 6 years, the Knights have missed the playoffs the last 2 years and high player turnover rate has been an issue when coming into the second half of a season.

Juco players come and go, and this year will be no different with a total of 5 out of the 9 players leaving this year.

It all seems to be familiar to a vet like Stratton who says “I always have high expectations no matter what. Last year team lacked depth which helped lose some games on the defensive side of the ball, but that will change with more in-depth recruitment this summer. Also lack of shooting killed us down the stretch last year as teams went into zone defense early, but if I was to take something from the team this year it would be the attitude and the fight to get better every day despite the record.”

Coach Stratton plans on bringing his hard nose defense to NECC as well and this is his calling card throughout Region 21 play. “Yea some guys are offensive, but I’m a defensive guy.”, says Stratton.

“I plan on wearing teams down with my defensive schemes for a full 48 mins, but the challenge will be finding an offensive minded assistant coach that will help bring NECC to a new level.” Until all the coaching is figured out, Stratton has already had a few early commits and looks to use his local presence on the basketball scene to help attract some of the drifters.

It’s tough to say exactly what will happen with the Knights this upcoming basketball season because of the high player turnover rate and now factoring in the new corna virsus, but we do know that Coach Stratton will be there ready for war with his troops.

The love of anything can bring us through many ups and downs but in the end of the day, it’s what we love and makes us who we are. Coach Stratton, to say the least, loves the Merrimack Valley and many people love him back because of this and his dedication to hard work and fostering a winning culture where eve he goes.

From the deep basketball abyss to head honcho, the knight has been reborn and ready to lead NECC back to the top of region 21 basketball.