Sylvania boys basketball head coach Zach King instructs players in a huddle during a scrimmage at Collinsville on June 2.

From coaching under Johnny Pelham at Asbury and Jamie Pruett at Section, Sylvania’s first-year varsity boys basketball head coach Zach King learned the importance of adapting a system to the strengths of the players in a program.

King, who was hired as Sylvania’s new varsity boys head coach in April, has been at work this summer sculpting the school’s boys basketball players by helping each player add to their respective individual skill set.

“We’re just trying to get to work this summer. We’ve already played in a couple of team camps, so we’re doing the best we can,” said King, who is back at his alma mater.

King was hired to lead the Rams’ varsity program after previous head coach Tyler Brooks left the school to become the assistant principal at Ider.

After excelling as a basketball player at Sylvania and graduating in 2013, King began pursuing a career in physical therapy. His hopes of getting into a physical therapy program didn’t pan out, so he began helping coach basketball and found a love for teaching the sport.

Both of King’s parents worked in education and retired from Sylvania High School this year.

“My dad was a high school coach and I ended up following in his footsteps,” King said. “It wasn’t planned to happen but it just happened. I’m enjoying it.”

King began working at Section High School, where he served as the head coach of the junior varsity boys basketball team and assisted with the boys varsity team for one season. From there, King went to Asbury High School, coaching ninth-grade boys and assisting with the varsity boys. He later journeyed to Geraldine to lead the school’s JV boys basketball team.

At Sylvania, King teaches science and a few physical education classes in addition to his basketball coaching duties.

Coming home to Sylvania meant everything to King, he said.

“This is where I grew up, so this is where I want to be,” he said. “A lot of the same teachers who I grew up with still teach here. They know me and I know them. A lot of their kids are coming through the program, so it’s good to be back. I feel blessed for this opportunity.”

King said upon his arrival at Sylvania, the boys basketball program started with 50 players from grades 7-12. He said the varsity has 12-13 players and the junior varsity team has about the same number.

“The kids have brought a lot of energy,” King said. “We’re trying to be positive and do things the right way, starting with the defensive side of the ball. We’re trying to be fundamentally sound on the offensive side.

“We’re trying to make Sylvania basketball something special, something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

King said he expects his varsity team to push the ball in transition this season, while also incorporating the post skills of players and highlighting some creativity they bring around the basket.

“We’re going to have a variety of things going on, but I think the main thing is trying to utilize all of the talent, getting those guys in position to score the ball,” the coach said.

Derek Talley will be an assistant coach for the varsity boys, along with Staton Robbins. King coached Robbins as a junior varsity player at Section.

The Rams will host Ram Ruckus Night, a night of basketball scrimmages for the varsity and JV boys and girls, beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, June 25 at Sylvania High School. Admission is $1 and concessions will be sold. The event will include a raffle for some free passes to all home basketball games for the 2021-22 season.

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