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Hardwick to bring community back to Alcovy

After a winless season last year, Alcovy boys basketball has a familiar face leading a new regime to change the culture in Tiger country. Mack Hardwick, who served as an assistant last year under one-and-done head coach Duane Kelley, will begin his first year as a head coach in the Fall.

Despite having a year under his belt with Alcovy, Hardwick had to go through the interview process like all of the other candidates. However, Hardwick says his experience with the team will prove beneficial going forward.

“It benefits me a lot because I already know what’s here. There’s no surprises coming in,” Hardwick said. “When it comes down to it, I’m just excited to be working with the guys. We had a good experience last year. We had a bunch of young players – freshmen that were actually starting for JV. We’ve got a bunch of young talent so that’s the thing I’m gonna try to concentrate on maturating that young talent and bringing the community service and so forth.”

Hardwick says that he's been playing basketball since high school, before going on to play at Albany State. He was an assistant at a school in Dawson, Georgia before coming to Alcovy last year.

“I was never the best athlete. Some people were very gifted with talent and I had to work, I was real tall and awkward," Hardwick said.

Despite his flaws as a basketball player, Hardwick worked hard at the game and won most improved player every year in high school. He says he's old school, he believes in hard work, cardio and discipline.

“Without discipline your whole foundation will just rock. So this year I want to bring in the fundamentals, that’s all I’m concentrating on," the rookie head coach said.

Hardwick says that he wants his team to understand science of basketball and have a balanced attack of offense and defense.

On offense Hardwick plans to implement an inside-out game to get high percentage shots.
“Last year we did a lot of outside guard play, which was pretty unsuccessful in my opinion," Hardwick said. "Relying on guards as a high percentage shot, is very difficult. I’m mainly focused on trying to win inside-out, defense and basic schemes. That’s it."

As an assistant, Hardwick has an abundance of experience, which has taught him a lot in terms of how to coach a team.

“I actually learned you really have to adjust your schematics when it comes to offense and defense to the team that you have," Hardwick said.

When he was down in Dawson, Hardwick says the team had maybe one or two plays because they just relied on raw talent. He recognizes that here he doesn’t have that luxury, yet.

“One thing I’ve learned as a coach is to try to make sure that I put a system in that is linear to my student body. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned the most," Hardwick said.

The team is already at work this summer working on fundamentals, discipline, skill development and cardio. Hardwick says his most important task is to bring the community back to Alcovy

“The saddest thing in the world to me is to see the gym – at a home game – and you can hear the plays being called on the court versus it being so loud that you use hand signals," Hardwick said. "It’s really sad to see a gym at a home game that empty, in my opinion. That’s one of the things I’m really focused on, trying to bring the community back to support these kids win or lose."

“I just want to encourage the community that we’re starting a whole different program, it’s something that they can trust. What we’re gonna do is work hard and one of the main things I would like for them to do is come out and support Alcovy.”