Eastside boys basketball has a history of success. With the exit of former head coach Greg Freeman, there will be a new regime in town under newly hired head coach Brent Wren.
Wren says that he plans to continue the winning tradition that has already been established at Eastside. Wren praised Freeman and assistant coach Marquis Gilstrap for laying an excellent foundation. He says that he and Freeman have some of the same principles, which makes the transition that much easier.
“The key is to put your players in position where they can realize their potential and improve, and that’s what we want to do," Wren said. "We want to continue that legacy that they have going on there."
Coaching high school basketball isn't just about winning basketball games, it's about preparing the youth for their future and Wren understands that completely.
“The biggest thing we want for them is to kind of see basketball the way I see it. As a way to form life and character and be able to build from that," Wren said passionately. "We look at basketball kind of as a tool. A lot of times, for our kids we need something to help them and a lot of times the court is it. If I can reach them through this, we can push toward the classroom and a lot of other things. You get a lot more respect sometimes just being looked at as a coach and somebody that’s mentoring or teaching."
With the building of character and men, Wren also wants to win. He's a defense-first coach, and he primarily likes to use man-to-man defense.
Wren says that if you're playing man-to-man the right way it looks like a zone. He wants his players to understand how to defend screens and how to defend movement in order to be successful under his philosophies.
On the offensive end, Wren says that he wants his team to get high percentage shots, move the ball and play ball inside-out.
“We want to get the best shot we can in about 15 seconds so that we kind of put pressure on teams offensively in transition is really what we want to do. Not allowing teams to set up on you defensively works in your favor as an offense,” Wren said .
The Eagles and Wren have started practicing this summer and from he's seen so far, Wren says his team is a really high-character group that's hungry and wants to do it the right way.
Wren was previously a teacher at Liberty Middle, he says that with the support of that administration and Eastside principal Jeff Cher, he was able to get the job and continue to help the youth through basketball.
“They have been instrumental in allowing me a lot of freedom in terms of trying to reach the youth through basketball," Wren said. "Also, a lot of guidance in terms of what not to do administratively, what to do in terms of the nuances of coaching, the nuances of teaching and the nuances of being a professional."