The importance of a ride or die

Having a person whom you trust to have your back in life is important.

The right-hand man or woman, the confidant, the ride or die: aka the assistant coach.

To a college coach it might mean having someone who can coach the team to a conference game win.

Without a strong assistant staff, a coach can’t feel comfortable in case unforeseeable circumstances arise.

For example gallbladder surgery.

The men’s basketball head coach Rodney Watson missed Saturday’s game against Illinois Springfield University after undergoing surgery Friday.

Assistant coach Brent Owen took the reins for that game and came away with an 85-64 win.

This also brought the team  to 2-0 in Greater Lakes Valley Conference matchups which is not something many other teams in the conference can say.

On the sideline Owen showed he could handle being called up from his position with little notice.

After Illinois Springfield opened the game with a 6-0 run Owen held up three fingers from the sideline and simply said, “Let’s get three stops.”

The men responded with four stops and junior guard Bobo Drummond sank a shot from the three-point line.

From that point on the team never trailed.

I can’t say for sure that the one swift motion of Owen holding up three fingers changed the course of the game, but it had an impact.

It showed the team respected his authority and his ability to lead never came into question.

With a little more than 13 minutes left in the first half, senior guard George Edwards received a technical foul.

As happens with basically every foul ever, the accused player didn’t know he had done anything wrong.

In this instance most of the bench and crowd didn’t understand either.

The refs explained what happened to Owen and he calmly discussed it.

At this point Edwards got a little curious and attempted to have his own discussion with the refs—an attempt Owen quickly foiled.

He saw ahead of time the possible repercussions that often go hand in hand with a player talking to a referee after a technical.

These both may seem like basic level coaching decisions, but in this instance I think it was exactly what the team needed.

They needed the normal stability and smart decision making that comes with Coach Watson during games.

Owen stepped in and kept the team level-headed and  focused for an important game.

He did what any good right-hand man does: he delivered when called upon.