NAUGATUCK — With 1:12 left in the fourth quarter in last week’s game against Derby, the Naugatuck boys held a two-point edge and Mike Wilson, the Hounds’ first-year head coach, called a timeout.
It was an opportunity for Wilson to talk to his young team about clock management, shot selection and how to react to different defenses. It was a chance to explain how to close out a victory.
“It was a teaching point about playing with the lead,” Wilson said, moments after his team pulled out the 52-41 victory over the Red Raiders. “It felt very good.”
The game was Wilson’s first win as a varsity head coach at Naugy. That also felt very good.
Wilson is quickly settling into his role as head coach and developing his own style following his record-setting career as a player in the 1990s. How does Wilson view himself on the sidelines?
“Passionate,” Wilson said to describe himself.
It was evident during the final quarter of the game against Derby. Wilson spent most of the time on his feet, pacing up and down the sideline, shouting instructions to his players.
Wilson’s enthusiasm was on display a night after the win over Derby. Wilson said he was hit with a technical foul at Torrington with three minutes to go in a two-point game. He reacted to a foul call and voiced his displeasure. Naugy lost, 59-45, despite 21 points from Brandon Kuczenski and 11 from Adam Neveski.
The technical didn’t help Naugy win the game, but it did underscore Wilson’s true passion: His team.
While Wilson admits the technical was “stupid.” But, it still had its purpose.
“Our kids work really hard,” Wilson said. “They have to know I have their back.”
The Greyhounds are off to a 1-7 start. However, there’s still time to get better. Thanks to the weather, Wilson and the Greyhounds have had some time to regroup.
Naugy’s game last Friday against Sacred Heart was postponed due to school cancellation. On Monday, the Greyhounds spent the entire day together.
The team practiced from 10 a.m. to noon. Then, the team spent a couple hours at a parent’s house and conducted an off-campus study hall, followed by a pasta dinner.
Wilson said it was a productive day.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Wilson said. “It’s about bonding and coming together as a team for a greater purpose.”
Naugy returned to the court with two road games this week—at Pomperaug on Wednesday and at St. Paul on Friday. The Sacred Heart game was rescheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. in Naugatuck.
Perhaps Wilson’s best asset is his attitude. Despite the team’s slow start, he remained upbeat with half the season left.
“I’ve got a great group of kids,” Wilson said. “And we’re starting to play some good ball now.”