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Lathrup Village

Southfield-Lathrup boys basketball under new direction

January 16, 2013

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Southfield-Lathrup boys basketball coach Desmond Denham speaks to his team during a recent practice. Denham is in his first season leading the program.

LATHRUP VILLAGE — There’s a new face at the end of the bench for the Southfield-Lathrup boys basketball team.

Desmond Denham has begun his first season at the helm and has big plans for the Chargers.

“I was very excited about getting this program, and keeping its rich tradition and taking it to even a higher level,” he said. “I was very grateful and pleased to get the job. I’m just trying to build it from the ground up.”

Denham was an assistant with the program under longtime coach Mike Avery.

At press time, the Chargers were 3-6 overall, without playing a game in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

With senior Jonathan Williams being the only player with varsity experience, Denham said the team has to learn how to finish games.

“I’m working on our basketball IQ and our competitiveness. The last few games, we played really well, but we just have to close games out,” he said. “The last three games, we had the game in our hands. Now I have to teach the team to close. If we can close, we will be fine.”

Denham is also looking for more balance. Williams, a University of Toledo commit, is averaging 32 points and eight rebounds per game. In the closing moments of a game, everyone in the gym often knows who will be taking the final shot.

“That puts a lot of pressure on Jonathan, because Jonathan will take that shot,” Denham said. “I just need to find more people to take the pressure off.”

Denham is counting on forwards Sam Moore, Marlon Tate and Frederick John, as well.

John, a sophomore, is averaging 12 points and 12 rebounds per contest.

Denham is also adjusting to the roster. He said his style is relentless pressure on both sides of the court, but he’s had to dial it back a bit this season to fit the makeup of his team.

“I had to stop and change me and what my philosophy was, to say, ‘OK, this is what I have to do to win,’ because I want to win,” the coach said. “Since I’ve done that, we’ve been turning the corner a little bit at a time, and I think we’re going to turn it soon.”

As does Williams.

“We’re a new team with a new coach, so we just need time to gel,” he said. “I feel if we keep practicing hard as we have, it’ll help us get there.”

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