So far White’s 50-50 plan working for TCC Eagles
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Since the early years of his 10-year basketball coaching career, Mark White has relied on a philosophy he calls a 50-50 plan.
The way it works is he asks his players to give him no less than 50 percent effort during practice and games and in return he gives them freedom on the floor. He thinks the system will be especially useful this year with his Tallahassee Community College men’s team, which has just two returning players.
So far through two games, which they have won, White sees the plan working. But every now and then he has to remind the Eagles what the deal is and how important it is in his defensive-laden game plan.
“Your 50 percent that you’re giving me is that you’re playing incredibly hard; man to man, tough hard-nose defense,” White said.
The players who do that best often are rewarded with playing time.
“I’m going to let you play your game,” White said. “It has always worked for me. You get them to understand that playing time is earned by how hard you compete; how hard you can play defense and how much you rebound.”
The numbers bear out how effective White’s 50-50 plan is through two games. Opponents’ defensive field goal percentage against the Eagles is 32.5 percent, while they average 43 rebounds per game and their opponents 31.
“I like the system because he is not going to give you anything,” said sophomore shooting guard Leon Freeman-Daniels. “He’s always going to make you work for it. I wasn’t the best player on my team or given anything and all my life I’ve had coaches that made me work for my keep,”
TCC started the season ranked No. 5 by Street & Smith’s, a publication with a section dedicated to the two-year colleges.
White calls the group of players that he has assembled the best he’s had in three seasons at TCC. And for good reason.
Seven of them are transfers. The front court includes 6-foot-8 freshman Chris Agbo, Corey Douglas, a 6-8 transfer from Rice and 6-8 Illinois-Chicago transfer K.J. Santos.
Transfers in the backcourt are 6-3 Quentin Jackson from Charlotte, 6-2 C.J. Fisher out of North Florida and 6-5 J.D. Williams from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
In addition to returners Freeman-Daniels and Jacob Winston, the Eagles roster includes another transfer in 6-10 center Khadim Sy. He played at Virginia Tech, where he made 28 starts as a freshman for the Hokies and averaged 4.0 points with 2.7 rebounds.
White said finding their chemistry is still a work in progress, but so far the Eagles have proven to have a solid bench.
“We depend on each other and the players on the bench know what they can do,” Freeman-Daniels said. “When (reserves) step on the floor, they know what they can do.”