The Salem High School basketball team had plenty of room to improve after last season. The Rams returned some key pieces on the floor, but to make sure they reached their full potential they brought in a new coach to man the sideline.
Chris Lee made his way to the basketball program after helping out with the football team.
“They are a young team and I’m a young coach,” Lee said. “So I just have to teach them to finish. I look so forward to what it’s going to look like at the end. They’re just learning how to play under me. I’m teaching them to actually play the game.”
Lee was well aware of what it took to coach high school students, being an assistant in the past in other sports. But holding the head coaching position is a completely different animal.
“It’s more work than I anticipated,” he said. “I thought you just coach them and send them home.”
Now that he is aware of everything he has to do, he is really starting to take to the position.
“I’m very academic oriented,” he said. “We do study halls together, I’m checking grades. We do time together where we go out together and get something to eat. We’re trying to build family and community together.”
The Rams have started to see some progress recently. After dropping their season opener, they have gone 2-1 with their only loss coming to Millville in the Colt Classic.
Salem fell behind early as the Bolts opened the game on an 11-0 run, but were able to claw their way back in the game before falling at the end. They bounced back the very next day to defeat Cumberland in the consolation.
Wins will continue to build the Rams confidence. But right now, just getting to know each other better is helping the team improve.
“They were aghast at first,” Lee said. “They were like ‘This guys is mean, we heard a lot about you.’ The knew I was no nonsense and (about my) discipline because of my football background. But that’s carrying over and helping out, pretty soon my behavior and characteristics will follow as well.”
Senior Steve Logan has been leading the Rams in the early season. He is averaging 17 points per game, and scoring has never been a problem for the guard.
But Lee is concentrating on making his star player more well-rounded.
“Steven is learning how to play,” Lee said. “He’s a scorer/slasher, but we’re teaching him how to play. He’s finishing a lot of baskets, going to the hole, scoring for us, defending, doing everything we need him to do this year.”