Even at the high school level the basketball season can be a grind. The early season is filled with various holiday tournaments and other events before the fierce district season begins, which is followed by the district tournament and then the postseason for those programs lucky enough to make it that far.
Anthony Long, the head coach at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., understands the grind of a long season. In the mid-’90s Long led the Gainesville (Fla.) program from a 7-21 record in 1995 to a national ranking in 1999 and 2000 when the Purple Hurricanes won state championships.
Since leading the Panthers program, coach Long has gone to the state finals three more times and won five conference titles in the ultra-competitive Orlando Metro Conference. He believes one of the most important things a coach can teach his players is a strong work ethic.
“Talent is a key to winning and we’ve been blessed to have many talented players here at Dr. Phillips and while I was at Gainesville,” Long said. “However, we get them to buy into a process of work and doing everything possible to outwork our opponents. The players see the work that they do in the offseason and during the season with preparation pay off with some successful seasons.”
Long has had several successful seasons and 422 victories to his credit, winning nearly 75 percent of his games. He’s also sent dozens of players to college on scholarships and hopes that they continue to take the lessons learned with them to the next level.
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