Havelock High may be known as a football school, but after the boys basketball team reached the final eight in the state last season, Daniel Griffee is hoping to keep building the school’s basketball program as well.
Griffee was officially hired as the new boys varsity basketball coach last week, replacing the retiring Bill Fryczynski.
“I think it gives the guys extra drive,” Griffee said of last season’s success. “We’re on top in not just one sport but two sports. We have to put forth the work and the effort to keep it that way.”
Fryczynski helped guide the Rams to a 19-7 record last season. Havelock lost 68-60 to Wilson Hunt in the regional semifinals, marking the end to the most successful boys basketball season since 1992.
Griffee has been the boys junior varsity coach for nine years, working with Fryczynski in helping develop the program.
“I learned a lot from him,” Griffee said. “I was with him for nine years, so just about everything I learned about the game as far as the coaching strategies I learned from watching him and talking to him.
“Coach Fryczynski has probably forgotten more basketball than what I know. He probably had a lot more basketball knowledge than a lot of people do. Anytime I ever had a problem or an issue, I could bring it to him. He would never tell me what to do, but he would give me ideas to maybe it do it like this or maybe do it like that. He let me do my thing. A lot of times I would ask him if I was correct in a certain situation. Did I see it wrong, and I would just learn from that. He has a great basketball mind.”
Griffee said he would not plan on changing much heading into the 2014-15 season.
“I wouldn’t call it changing. You can’t argue with the success,” Griffee said. “I just think you add and build on to what’s been laid down, the foundation that’s been laid.
“When you make it to the regionals, I don’t think there’s much to change. You just have to build to help progress the tree.”
He said one of his biggest goals would be to develop more shooters on the team to support last year’s leading scorer Kyran Bowman, who averaged 24.6 points per game. Beyond that, only Micheal Bowman averaged in double figures at 14.2 points per game.
“One of the things I’m going to try to implement is to get the guys to be better overall shooters and get more scorers in the game to help Kyran out,” Griffee said. “Kyran is going to get his points, but he needs that support system in place. That’s one of the things Coach Fryczynski and I discussed. We’re not a great 3-point shooting team. If we can build on that and make teams respect more than one person on the offensive side, it’s going to open up more avenues for everyone on the team.”
Kyran Bowman, a rising junior, has committed to play football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but he admits he would like to play basketball as well.
“He’s a special, special player. I’m glad I get the opportunity to coach him,” Griffee said. “Besides the basketball part, he’s a great kid outside of basketball, which makes it even better when you get to coach a kid like that.”
Havelock lost just three seniors from last season’s team and is expected to return both Bowman brothers as well as point guard Matt Boykin and inside players Keion Joyner and Shondel Granison.
“The offense will basically be the same,” Griffee said. “We’re going to run and gun. We’ve got a lot of athletes. We’ve got a lot of fast players, a lot of good, strong players who can get the ball up and down the floor.”
Griffee said he knows he will have plenty of experience and talent on the court next season.
“You can’t coach talent,” he said. “You just try to persuade it to go where it needs to go. Kyran has ability and God-given talent. Matt Boykin is so fast with the ball, getting up and down the floor. Micheal Bowman is so strong. You can’t coach that. You have to develop it so that when they get in a situation, they know what to do and then their athletic ability and God-given talent takes over from there.”
But that doesn’t guarantee success, Griffee said. He expects a tough challenge as the Rams look to repeat as Coastal 3A Conference regular season and tournament champions.
“The guys made it look easier than it really was (last season), which just goes to show their athletic ability and talent they have,” Griffee said. “But now there’s going to be a circle on the calendar when people play Havelock, and I think that’s a good thing. That’s where you want the program to be. That’s what it’s all about.”