By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Just before Memorial Day, The Jewell Gates Era began at Millington Central High School.
After a successful stay as an assistant coach at Southwind High School, Gates is making his way North to Flag City to take over the Millington Trojan Basketball program.
Gates notes the rich history of Trojan Basketball over the year from players like Tony Dumas, David Jordan and Jermaine Dailey reaching the Division I level. After experiencing major success with the Jaguars, Gates is ready to translate those winning ways to Millington.
“I’m a very low key guy,” Gates said. “I am proud to be leading the program but I am equally humbled by the administration’s trust and the trust of the parents to allow me to coach their sons. I’m very appreciative and honored.”
Gates’ roots are from Munford. He has a knowledge of the area and the expectations in along Highway 51. Recently he was the lead assistant for the Southwind Jaguars helping that program rack up victories and send players to the Division I level.
Gates met his new team May 27 in the William Osteen Gymnasium. He takes over the program from Rob Sabau, who moved onto St. Benedict.
Since his introduction, Gates has started the summer practices for the Trojans.
“This summer will have the look of teaching a new style of play,” he noted. “The players will be learning and adapting to a new terminology, a new person’s voice and a different desire.”
Millington graduated six seniors from the 2015-16 team, but the Trojans featured some youthful underclassmen who logged several minutes for varsity last season.
Gates said his experienced players and newcomers will all buy into one main philosophy?
“I’ve always thought the staple point/stamp of any great program starts on the defensive end,” he said. “We will pressure the ball defensively in a variety of ways.
“My stamp as a team is to be in a great condition physically, in order to play the style of ball I want us to play,” Gates concluded. “We will raise our intensity and energy level and work as hard as we possibly can.”