American coach calling defence a priority

New Eagles coach wants team to be known for defence.

By Lucas Meneses-Skoda

Coach Stefon Wilson wants to turn the men's basketball team's fortune around by playing tough defence. Wilson was an assistant coach for the SFU Clan last season. Jeff Groat/The Runner

If you were to ask newly-named coach Stefon Wilson what the number one key to success is going to have to be on the basketball court for the men’s team, he would answer with one word: defence.

If you were to ask him what his favourite word is, I bet you’d get the same answer.

The American born coach is bringing a new mentality to the Eagles nest, and it goes something along the lines of stressing defence as much as Allen Iverson was “talkin’ about practice.”

“I really do believe in ‘defence wins games’ and it wins championships,” said Wilson. “And that’s how you’re going to get playing time at Kwantlen University while Coach Wilson’s there. That’s playing defence. We want to be known as a defensive team.”

The hiring of Wilson came around six weeks after longtime coach Bernie Love announced his resignation.

Although Wilson has only briefly met with his players on various separate occasions, the Detroit native is already stepping into the office with a precise idea of how he wants his boys to be competing come the start of November when the regular season begins.

“I know a lot of the guys probably think, you know, ‘Let me show Coach Wilson that I can really score’ and that’s fine, but my number one priority is to stop the other team from scoring.”

Wilson joins the Eagles organization after holding an assistant coaching position with the SFU Clan last year when they competed in their first season in the NCAA Division II league, and understands what it takes to compete night in and night out at a high level of basketball.

“I really do believe that you have to use that 24-second shot clock to your advantage,” he said, “and you really have to pressure the ball and make teams make quick, bad decisions.”

The young head coach, who was also once a player at Algoma University in Ontario and was named team captain in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, is a big believer that establishing the defensive game paves the path to a strong, well-rounded performance.

“You can’t predict on how you are going to play on the offensive end, but one thing you can bring every night is the effort to the defensive end,” said Wilson. “I mean, if you play defence its going to open up for easy shots on the other end and easy transition baskets.”

Another key point that Wilson has identified on his list of priorities is the importance to be able to go out and find new guys that are suitable to the type of squad he is trying to assemble. According to Wilson, it’s the “athletic speed guys that can really create problems for the other team” that he’s looking to stack his roster with.

“To be successful at the collegiate level, you have to be able to recruit,” he added. “First thing I’m going to do is see if the current players here fit my type of system, and see what I can go out and recruit, and bring in here to Kwantlen.”

It’s been quite a while since the Eagles have been able to scrape together a winning season and really pose a threat in the BCCAA pack, but the new coach has already closed that door.

“I know we were only 1-17 last year,” he said, “but I think that if we can turn this into a year-round program and we can put in the time in the off-season, I really do think we can have a really good improvement and try to compete for the conference title.”

As for all the Eagles fans that will (hopefully) be in the stands come next season, start getting really good at chanting “DE-FENCE”, because we now know Coach Wilson will be on the sidelines yelling the exact same thing.