Basketball coach watching players blossom in off season

Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Jackson Powers became a fearsome inside/outside player as a sophomore for the Davie boys basketball team. He was a double-double machine as the War Eagles surprised people by banking 17 wins in Josh Pittman’s first year as the Davie coach, and Pittman really wants to see what he does next.

This spring, Pittman and assistant Will Tibbs have been coaching seven War Eagles on two teams in the Spartans organization. Pittman has three Davie players on his 17-under Spartans squad, including the 6-6 Powers.

“Jackson continues to work and continues to get writeups every weekend we play,” Pittman said. “The coaches are starting to take notice of him. He’s averaging a double-double and he’s playing up a division, too. We see the little things that he needs to work on, like developing his left hand a little bit more and continuing to work on his athleticism and his footwork. And that’s things you get when you play against guys that jump out of the gym and can block his shot. Right now he’s getting D-III interest, but because Jackson has two more years helps him a lot.”

Coleman Lawhon is a rising senior who needs no introduction. He was Davie’s No. 2 scorer in 2022-23 and he generally racked up assists and rebounds to go with his double-figure points. It was a breakout junior season, yes, but Lawhon has transformed right in front of Pittman’s eyes this spring.

“He’s holding his own against very good point guards,” Pittman said. “He’s starting to see the game a lot easier. He’s playing aggressively and knocking down shots more consistently. It’s good to watch him blossom and get better. Coleman is getting some D-III and JUCO interest. I think he has a really good chance at playing at the next level if he continues to progress. In July and August, he has to go a little extra on his own since we will be in a dead period, and get in that weight room and maybe put on five pounds of muscle. Even the Phenom people said they think he should be getting a lot more attention because he’s improved so much. His skill set is tremendous to be a point guard. He’s gotten a lot better and you’ll notice it when you watch him play this winter.”

Ethan Ratledge, a rising senior, is firmly part of the Davie core after turning in a productive junior season as a starter.

“Ethan has gotten more confidence on the offensive end, and he’s starting to understand how to use his body more and be aggressive like we need him to be this coming year,” Pittman said. “The older guys (Powers, Lawhon and Ratledge) have all gotten 2-3 writeups. That means the event staff or some college coaches are paying attention to what you’re doing.”

There are plenty of good depth pieces surrounding the core. While Elliott Erlandsson and Braddock Coleman were varsity contributors last winter, get to know the names of Cameron Owens and Adam Brown, both of whom were JV players. Those four are playing for Tibbs’ 16-under team.

“From what I’ve seen from them, they’re improving and playing against really good competition,” Pittman said. “I think coach Tibbs has coached them up well. We’re playing against the kind of competition we’ll see in the CPC. I think they’re having a great summer and they’re also learning. They’ve had ups and downs, so there’s a learning curve. But the best way to get better is to play against better competition, and that’s happened for them. Hopefully this will translate to success when we come back to school.”