The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

New coach wants to turn things around

‘We are building something special here at South.’
Ben Gilliand practices with his team. (Cordai Beck)

When asked if he can turn the program around, second-year basketball coach and business education teacher at South High School Ben Gilliland said yes.

“I believe we are building something very special here at South,” he said.

South won two state championships – in 2016 and 2019 – and South basketball has not reached that level of stardom since then, Gilliland said. Being a player for Gilliland, I got to hear a little more insight from him as well as his plans.

The team has undergone major changes since last year. Gilliland believes that talent can be “overrated” at the high school basketball level.

“The teams that win bring energy, are very disciplined, and hold themselves to a high standard,” he said. Gilliland also said that scrappy teams that are overlooked but superbly detailed can win. “That’s what we are trying to be.” When asked if he thinks the team has enough skill to compete at the highest level, “absolutely” was his response.

He explained that overall growth from players on and off the court is what motivates him the most.

Gilliland said he enjoys “seeing success in class and how I am a part of it all, as well as pushing kids as hard as possible to see growth through those times.” He also said he loves to support each student that is part of the Packer basketball family and sees success in each one whether on the court or off.

But not all things are perfect, and with 13 new players on the varsity roster, it takes a while to develop each player. As far as strengths and weaknesses of the team, Gilliland said that “we have good kids who are successful and push themselves to being uncomfortable to become better still very early on.”

Gilliland’s style of coaching is new to the area, and the players and Gilliland think the team is adjusting well. “One of our weaknesses is when we play above our experience. Now that more is expected out of players, it is an adjustment,” he added.

Gilliland said he feels that he’s made a big impact since joining the team last year to include raising team members’ GPAs from 1.8 to 3.2 and getting seniors to college with academic scholarships. Gilliland added that he is looking forward to starting some great things here at Omaha South.

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Cordai Beck
Cordai Beck, Staff Writer
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