Evan Brown is not the type of basketball coach who will yell at a kid for shooting a deep 3-pointer early in a possession.
“I usually get after them for NOT shooting,” Brown says.
Ten years after implementing what he calls the “3diculous” offense at Madras, Brown is bringing it back for the White Buffaloes this season. One goal of the up-tempo offense, the veteran boys basketball coach says, is 80 shot attempts per game — 40 of them 3-pointers. That is a lot of shots in the course of a regulation 32-minute game.
During an era in which the 3-point shot is the centerpiece of more and more offenses at the professional and college levels, it is no surprise that the same style would trickle down to the high school ranks. But perhaps Brown was ahead of his time when he ran the 3-happy offense at Madras more than a decade ago, leading the Buffaloes to state playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007.
Brown left Madras in 2008 for stints as the athletic director and vice principal at Cascade High School, in Turner, and Stayton High School. He returned to Madras in 2014 as the AD and this is his second season of his second tenure as the Buffaloes’ coach.
Last season Madras ran a more conventional offense under Brown, but this season he figured the time was right for “3diculous.”
“One of the strengths is our team speed and quickness,” Brown says. “Even our bigs have some quickness. We’ve got mobile bigs, and that’s one of the driving forces of us going to this style of play, too.”
Those bigs are 6-foot-4-inch senior posts Kanim Smith and Tyler Lockey. Smith was first-team all Tri-Valley Conference last season and Lockey made the second team. Both players have inside moves and are also capable of making 3-pointers when needed, according to Brown.
But the remainder of the Buffaloes’ roster, a smattering of juniors and sophomores, is somewhat lacking in height. So Brown was looking to the future when he decided to bring back the up-tempo, 3-pointer-heavy offense, which is a good fit for a team with lots of speed and quickness but not much height.
“We’ve got a lot of little guys,” Brown says. “We’re just looking at this year and looking to the future both. This just seems to fit the group of kids we have whether they’re here now or coming up. We’ll be playing 10 guys. We’re going to be playing a lot of dudes.”
Some of those dudes include junior point guard Byron Patt, junior post Kahne Herkshan, sophomore guard Dapri Miller and junior wings Donnie Bagley and Cash Reese.
Last time he ran this offense, Brown recalls, he had a couple of players who were incredibly accurate 3-point shooters. This season he does not have those same type of shooters, but he says he has more players who CAN shoot 3-pointers.
“We’ve got unproven shooters; we’ve got unproven scorers,” Brown says. “We’ve got some guys with experience, but we’ve got a bunch of guys with no experience. All of our sophomores will be making the move from freshman to varsity basketball. We’ll be playing several sophomores.”
Madras finished 10-12 last season and missed the Class 4A state playoffs, so the goal this season is to return to the playoffs and possibly make a run at a Tri-Valley Conference title. Brown says most teams in the league lost a number of players to graduation, so the conference is somewhat wide open this season. Perhaps the timing is right for “3diculous” to take over the Tri-Valley.
Madras must press and trap to create turnovers, Brown says, in order to get enough possessions to fire 80 shots. And offensive rebounds are imperative.
If a player is not shooting a 3-pointer, Brown says, then he should be setting up a teammate for one, either by driving to the basket or setting screens on the perimeter.
“Our feeling is we can take anybody off the bounce,” Brown says. “If he gets stopped, we’re setting screens on the outside for a kickout.”
It is a fun style of basketball to play, and a fun style to watch.
“People came to watch Madras High School in the first ‘3diculous’ era,” Brown says. “They got their money’s worth and they enjoyed it. We had people coming to watch our games just because they heard about us. And we’re hoping to maybe get some of that feeling back.”
Outlook: The Cowboys return six players with varsity experience, including junior guard Thaiden Mullan, senior guard Chase Bales and senior post Will Combee. “The boys put a lot of extra time into getting better this offseason by playing games in the spring, summer, and fall,” Kessi says. “Our goal is to compete for the league championship and make it to the state tournament.”
Coach: Evan Brown (2nd season)
2016-17: 10-12 overall, 4-6 TVC (3rd); lost in play-in round
Outlook: Returning all-TVC players Kanim Smith and Tyler Lockey will lead a White Buffaloes team that is looking to return to the state playoffs with an up-tempo, 3-pointer-focused offense. Junior point guard Byron Patt will be the floor general of an offense whose goal is to shoot 40 3s per game. Brown plans to use 10 players and press and trap to increase the tempo of games.
Coach: David Godfrey (1st season)
2016-17: 17-8 overall, 8-2 Sky-Em (2nd); lost in first round of state playoffs
Outlook: The Outlaws have several returning players, including senior post Ty Horner, junior guard Jack Berg, and junior wings Noah Richards and Zach Anderson. “Our goals for this season are to build on the success of the last three years,” says Godfrey, who was an assistant for longtime coach Rand Runco before Runco stepped away from the program this season. “In each of the last three seasons we have won our first playoff game and then lost in the round of 16. We have some solid players back who have been working hard to come together as a team.”
Coach: Robby Gilliam (1st season)
2016-17: 8-13 overall, 2-8 Mountain Valley Conference (5th)
Outlook: Four seniors will lead the Hawks, including guards Morrie Desatoff, Jeremy Smith and Damien Pike and post Wyatt Oldham. “We are an experienced team with a ton of athleticism,” Gilliam says. “Last year this team was knocking on the door of a winning season after losing many close games. As a new coach taking over a group of varsity-experienced seniors, my goal is to not reinvent the wheel and overcoach. These young men just need to be put in a position to succeed.” La Pine is aiming for its first winning season in more than 15 years.
Coach: Johnny Wilson (3rd season)
2016-17: 1-18 overall, 0-8 Columbia Basin Conference (5th)
Outlook: The Bulldogs have not won a CBC game or a game against a 2A team in nearly three years. But Wilson says the team is coming off a “fantastic” summer ball season and the players are finding chemistry. “Morale is high and the kids seem to be having fun playing basketball again,” Wilson says. Top returners for Culver include seniors Weston Basl, an all-CBC honorable mention guard, Matt Krueger, another guard, and David Gutierrez, a forward.
Coach: Brian Delamarter (3rd season)
2016-17: 2-15 overall, 2-12 Mountain Valley League (10th)
Outlook: The lone returning senior for the Tigers is starting forward Luke Hannay. Junior Mason Delamarter will start as a wing. “We’re young, but athletic with some pretty decent depth,” Coach Brian Delamarter says. “In the past, our record has been pretty poor and we aim to change that this year. The guys are buying into the work habits needed to become a program that is always improving and not settling.”
Coach: Jason Dornhecker (1st season)
2016-17: 12-11 overall, 7-7 MVL (6th)
Outlook: Three seniors will look to pace the Grizzlies: point guard Beau Spencer, Keny Spurlock and Jonathan Fletcher. “We should be tough defensively and leave everything on the floor every night,” says Dornhecker, who has 22 years of coaching experience and played for Concordia University in Portland. “We play hard and have fun. I like what I see so far, and look forward to seeing what we can become.”
Coach: Kyle Gilbert (3rd season)
2016-17: 16-9 overall, 10-4 MVL (4th)
Outlook: Sophomore Matthew Eidler is a returning first-team all-MVL player. Other top returners are junior Jayden Dover and sophomores Abe Clift and Cash Niemeyer. “We are looking to build on our 16-9 record and league playoff appearance last year and working hard to go above and beyond what was accomplished,” Gilbert says. “We have a lot of great incoming freshmen and sophomores as well. We will also have a JV team for the first time.”