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December 27, 2013

Q & A with Olympic's Ty Baumgardner

Olympic is coming off an undefeated season and a state championship, a season that was one for the record books for that high school.

Now, the target is on their back this season, as everyone is coming for them.

NCPreps was able to catch up with head coach Ty Baumgardner and ask him how his team is handling the pressure to repeat what they were able to do last year.

Even though he lost several key players from last year's team, he seem to be pleased with how his team has handle the early success, as they are on the hunt to become back to back state champions.

The Trojans are 8-1 on the season, coming off a huge victory against Mt. Tabor, as they soon will be heading into conference play.

Here is what he had to say recently about his team this year.


To start it off, how are you feeling about your team in the start of the season, starting the season?

Going into the start of the season, if you would have told me we would be 8-1 with everything we lost from last year's team and the early season schedule that we were playing, I would have said get out of here!

So I am tickled to death where this team is at thus far and really like the direction they are headed.


What kind of pressure have you as a coach had to endure with going 30-0 last year and have the target on your back? Have your players responded the way you have liked or are you looking for more?

Obviously, when you win a state title and then also go undefeated in the process (which is almost unheard anymore these days) it does put a huge target on your back.

But quite honestly we have had a huge target on our back for quite a few years now because of the incredible success our program has had over that time.

Our players and our coaching staff understand that and embrace it knowing that we have established ourselves as one of the top basketball programs in the state.


What are some things you came into the season looking for or what are some things that you are currently working on with your team to get better?

One in particular was leadership, as it is with any good team every year.

We knew that we had lost a ton of leadership off last year's team and that with really only one guy back from that team with any real game experience that would be a key area of concern for us.

Two would be chemistry, because we have 10 new guys on this year's team and anytime you have so many new faces on a roster with so many different personalities your anxious to see how that all blends together towards the one common goal, team success over individual success.

Both are still a work in progress right now but we do like what we have seen in these early stages of the season.


Can you talk more about your players that you have this year and who they are as a player?

Well it starts with our lone returning starter senior combo guard CJ Jackson.

He has been asked to shoulder a huge load this year and we have put a ton of responsibility on him. Run our offense, score, be a leader, defend......you name it he is being asked to do it.

Another guy is junior wing Malik Constantine who has no idea how good he can be. He's left handed, 6'5 and can be a match-up nightmare because of his ability to play both on the perimeter and in the post.

Three others would be senior forward Kenny Lemon, junior guard Jared Ray-Campbell and junior wing Quincy Eaddy because they are the other three guys back from last year's State Title team. They didn't play much unless the games were already decided but they experienced what that team went through and know what it takes to be a champion and know exactly what it means to play in this program.

And they have been really good for us early here in the season and shown that they were ready to step in and fill those roles that were vacated by graduation.

They have been without a doubt a huge part of our success thus far and we don't expect that to change.


What is your team going to have to do to repeat as state champions again this year?

Wow! Repeat? A lot of things would have to go our way and we would need some bounces here and there for that to happen.

Not going to say it can't because I do think with maybe the exception of two or three teams, the rest of 4A is wide open with a ton of just really good solid teams, us included.

And as you see every year with March Madness and the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen come tournament time and a one game scenario.


Olympic will certainly be a team to watch this season in the 4A, as this could be a wide open race towards the end.

But, in what year can one not say that, with the talent that North Carolina possesses.








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