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The Drill: Lupton trades college coaching for C squad

Taylor Lupton knows that he’ll have to do things just a little differently this year with his basketball team. The former Minnesota West men’s basketball coach has stepped down from that position to become the Worthington High School C squad boys basketball mentor, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a coach can’t always handle high school freshmen the same as he handles college freshmen and sophomores.

WORTHINGTON -- Taylor Lupton knows that he’ll have to do things just a little differently this year with his basketball team.

The former Minnesota West men’s basketball coach has stepped down from that position to become the Worthington High School C squad boys basketball mentor, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a coach can’t always handle high school freshmen the same as he handles college freshmen and sophomores.

The Drill: Taylor Lupton

“I don’t think I’ll break any clipboards this year,” Lupton explained. “I’ll hold my tongue a little bit, but I’ll still kind of be back to where I started. I got my start doing AAU basketball for 5-6 years in this age group.”

By taking on young high school kids this winter, Lupton -- who cut his basketball teeth while growing up in Sioux Falls, S.D. -- will essentially be working to support the efforts of a friend of his, first-year head boys basketball coach CJ Nelson. The two of them have worked together at Minnesota West for years, and they enjoy a good rapport. It would make Lupton very happy, indeed, to be able to prepare his young players well enough so that they’re ready to slide right into the varsity game.

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Lupton, and his easygoing smile, should be a good fit for teen-age basketball players. In the meantime, his experience with college athletes has hardened him enough so that he’ll focus intently on getting results -- without the clipboard tossing.

You can see a video of this week’s Drill subject online at www.dglobe.com . Here is a preview of the interview:

QUESTION: What went into your decision to step away from the Minnesota West coaching position?

ANSWER: “When it comes down to it, a big reason was a big financial reason, and time. There’s a lot of time that goes into coaching, and you’re not always getting paid if you’re not in season. And that was kind of tough on me -- answering the phone every 30 minutes, every hour. Or if you got text messages, you got emails coming in. You want to be the best, so you’re really putting your heart into that. And trying to balance that, working a 9 to 5 and coaching, that was really tough.”

QUESTION: How do you see the difference between coaching college athletes and coaching young high school athletes?

ANSWER: “C squad’s going to be a little different from coaching college. When you’re coaching college, you’re coaching young men, 18-to-24-year olds. And coming to C squad you’re getting your high school freshmen. And they’re definitely young adults, and you want to treat them differently. They have a lot more to learn, and a lot more you can teach them. The goal of a C squad coach is definitely to get them ready for varsity.”

QUESTION: Have you got a favorite memory from your Minnesota West years?

ANSWER: “One thing I’m always going to remember about Minnesota West , coaching there, was when Aaron Poor Bear and I, we ended up winning regions and going to the national tournament in New York City. It was so much fun, we got on a plane, went out there. I think we had nine guys on the team at the time, went up there, drove around New York, got lost a little bit, and went and played three awesome games.”

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