Coach Matt Barnes smiled as he discussed his boys basketball team, and how much he enjoys working alongside such great young men.
“These kids, you can’t find a much better group to coach,” he said. “This team, as a whole, will show some pretty special things in the coming year.”
With a young team and very little varsity experience under their belts, Barnes believes that the returning seniors will boost confidence in the younger players.
“My seniors, like Jake Lindsey who will be playing for Baylor, Miles Keller and Nate Fox, those guys are the ones the younger boys will look up to and learn from. They are great leaders for the other players and will push and pull them along.”
Finishing with a record of 19-5 last year, and losing to Bountiful in the state semifinals, Barnes and his team are itching to return to the tournament and possibly go all the way to win state.
“We’ve yet to win the state championship. This’ll be my 18th year coaching here at Olympus, and I’d love to see us take it all the way. We’ve got some amazing players this year that will open some eyes and show what we’re made of.”
On Barnes’ office wall are pictures of past teams and basketball nets from previous seasons. Pictures from a few undefeated seasons, along with Final Four appearances and a couple of second in state and second in region, hang proudly on the white walls.
“This school has had some amazing runs in the past. That’s the legacy here at Olympus,” Barnes noted. “We put forth effort and give it our all. Not only in basketball, but in all athletics.”
With the tough preseason almost to a close, this Titan team is eager to get the real season rolling and Barnes wants his players to hang tough, no matter how hard or difficult things may get.
“There’s a lot of fight in these boys I have, and I couldn’t be more proud to be their coach. We’ve had some upsetting seasons in the years before, and some pretty bad injuries to players we’ve lost for the remainder of the season, but we’ve always come back stronger than before.
This coach loves Olympus High and what it has to offer.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here, and I hope I can continue to be here for another few years. There’s just something about it; something about the kids and parents and faculty that make it special. It’s always been about taking care of each other and family. Wonderful, wonderful people to be around and work alongside with.”
The goal for this Titan team in the coming year?
“Work for what we want, and that’s going for state,” Barnes said. “However, if we fall short and yet do our best and play our hearts out? I can’t ask for anything more. I’m proud of these guys—no matter the outcome.”