By Evan Grice
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and new Piedmont boys basketball coach Troy Lallemand made the most of his opportunity Thursday night.
In front of his future players, their parents and members of the Piedmont school administration at Collett Fieldhouse, Coach Lallemand laid out his plans for the future of Piedmont basketball.
Lallemand comes to the Wildcats after spending the previous year as an assistant coach at Bixby High school, where as a member of the coaching staff led by Scott Padek, was a part of a Trojans squad that finished 18-9 last season, reaching the state quarterfinals.
Before making his debut in Bixby, Lallemand was first a coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita, Kansas for four years, where he also coached baseball and football as well.
His second coaching job came at Winfield High School, where he served as head coach of the Vikings basketball team. Lallemand helped lead the Vikings to their first state tournament berth since 2005 under his command, which included the programs 11th winning season in the last 40 years at the time.
Lallemand takes over a program that made the state quarterfinals last season under then head coach Ryan Wagner, who is now the head coach of the Putnam City North Panthers.
“We want to incorporate a team atmosphere here,” Lallemand said in his first interview following his meeting with his players. “I never heard one bad thing about Piedmont when I was asking about this place and interviewing for this job. I’m very excited to get to work with these players and see what we can accomplish.”
There was plenty of excitement amongst the parents and everyone in attendance as the 2005 graduate from Missouri Southern State University laid out his plans for the future of Piedmont basketball.
Included in those plans was a three day mini-camp which ran Tuesday through Thursday at the Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium.
After day one Tuesday morning, the results were very positive about the first-year head coach, from the players and the man himself.
“I thought the kids did well overall,” Lallemand said about the opening day of mini-camp. “I’m very happy about the turn out considering this time of year. In terms of grasping the concepts of what we are trying to implement, you could tell they understood it. Mainly, we just need more time and more reps.”
“This process was new to them and you could tell it wasn’t as fluid as it needed to be,” Lallemand added. “Again though, they did a great job handling the change and I can tell from the first day that this is a great group of kids. We mainly tried to put in our base offense and emphasize playing without the ball patiently.”
“We had a great first day working out,” Wildcat player Dupree Millhouse said. “Coach Lallemand fits great for this program right now. We learned a lot of new things from him and the team looked solid. He comes from a 6A school in Bixby, so he’s got a solid knowledge of the game of basketball. We just have to keep working hard and going off of what he teaches us in practice.”
Fellow Wildcat player Delbert Todd said he feels like the team is moving in the right direction under the guidance of Coach Lallemand.
“We got a lot of mental work in during our first session with Coach Lallemand,” he said. “He’s got a great knowledge of the game, and I really feel like he’s going to push us in a positive direction this season.”