Q&A with Monticello head coach Josh Keyes
by Rhett Sifford
Monticello High School boys basketball head coach Josh Keyes has begun his third year and 19th as assistant and head coach combined. Keyes recently fielded a few questions from the San Juan Record.
He discusses his team, their expectations for the year, and important qualities to learn in the course of becoming a man.
San Juan Record: Josh, you’ve been doing this for a long time. What’s your approach from the coaching side this year?
Josh Keyes: This is my 19th season with Monticello Basketball. Coaching has changed exponentially since my first year. The game is faster, more analytical, and the players are different. The state adopted the shot clock this season, which changes the approach teams will take offensively and defensively. We will see more sets, more full-court and three-quarter-court presses, and teams are going to have to make shots to win.
I am a big fan of the shot clock and I hope it brings a new level of excitement to the game. Fans, coaches, and players are really going to see the effect in the last three to four minutes of the game. As for my approach to this season from the coaching side, I believe preparing the kids mentally for the stress of the season is important.
Too many students accept the easy path as the only path, and that doesn’t always work. My coaches and I are going to work hard to put our players into situations where they can learn and be successful.
SJR: Tell me about your assistant coaches.
JK: My assistant coaches this year are Ryan Young and Doug Christiansen. This is Ryan’s third year with the program and he will primarily work with the younger kids. We have nine freshmen – by far my biggest class – and he will oversee their development this season.
Coach Christiansen has been with the program a long time. He is invaluable for his experience, passion, and basketball knowledge.
The boys love Doug and he works tirelessly to help them achieve goals. He is a true servant of the community.
SJR: Tell me about this year’s team.
JK: This year’s team is experienced. Landon Ewart, Easton Young, JD McDonald, Tommy Sheeran, and Donovan Atwood bring back a ton of varsity time. They will be looked upon to lead a group of young players who will need their example to be successful.
SJR: What new players are stepping up?
JK: Curtis Bunker and Mason Atwood will see serious varsity minutes and will be expected to contribute.
SJR: What do you think your strength(s) will be this season?
JK: We will be big and should be able to handle our business in the paint. Easton brings a perimeter threat, but ultimately we need to get our bigs a touch every possession.
SJR: What things do you think you’ll have to work on the most?
JK: We will have to improve from the perimeter this season. Teams are going to push us out of the paint and that will force us to shoot a bit, especially with the new shot clock.
SJR: What are your expectations for the season?
JK: Expectations are tricky. I expect to be competitive. I expect to compete at state. However, I think it’s important to understand the purpose of extracurricular activities like basketball. We promote and teach work ethic, commitment, dedication, and communication. I expect my players to grow into adults who are ready and willing to tackle the greatest challenges after they leave Monticello.
SJR: What do you want to accomplish as a team?
JK: As a team I hope we will continue to grow as a unit and by the end of the season the boys can look back upon their experience as beneficial to their growth and maturity. As a team we have many goals related to basketball. First and foremost we want to finish at the top in region and compete at state.