Jerry Kassin is no stranger to the basketball court. Basketball has been a big part of his life.
He has served as the Western Oklahoma State College men’s head basketball coach before a six year tenure as the coach of the Western golf program.
This year after serving a season as associated head coach with Rolando De La Barrera, Kassin takes over the reigns of the women’s basketball program at Western.
When the opportunity came up, Kassin jumped at the chance to direct the women’s program. “I’ve been in basketball all my life, I enjoy the girls,” Kassin said.
So Kassin inherits a team that has only two returnees from last year’s squad. Jamiece Nelson, 5-10, Soph., and Cetoria Pettie, 5-3, Soph. both of Oklahoma City are back.
So it will be a young basketball team that takes to the court for the 2012-13 season.
“It’s been a little bit of a challenge, but in a way it’s good because I’m taking over a new team and so I’m starting off kind of the way our program wants to be under me. It was a great opportunity last year being the associate head coach . During that time I got to recruit my own players.”
And this year’s edition of the Lady Pioneers will have a local flavor and that something that excites Kassin.
“Three of the best players I have are from Altus,” Kassin said. He was referring to Ebony Nelms (5-8, Fr.), Mahogany Nelms (5-8, Fr.) and Tatyana Bell, (5-9, fr.).
“Ebony is really an energetic, athletic good player,” Kassin said. “Probably as hard of a working player as we have had around here. Her sister Mahogany is a great shooter. Tatyana who will start in the four spot at the post and can play outside or inside. She’s athletic and agressive.”
Kassin has settled on four of his five starters. Ebony Nelms, Bell, Kededria Woods (5-8, Fr.), Lawton Eisenhower and Petties will all start at one of the guard slots. Kassin said he wasn’t sure who will start in the other post position. One possibiltiy is Brooke Davison, 5-9, Fr. Newcastle. “She’s another hard worker, she’s right there with Ebony as the hardest worker on the team.”
Help at the post position also should come from a transfer from Garden City Community College Cierra Johnson, 5-9 Fr., from Dallas. Nelson is also a possible starter in that position along with McKael Williams, 5-9, Fr. Del City.
Mahogany Nelms will probably be the first to come off the bench. “I like to start my third best forward and my first best forward and come off the bench with my second best forward,” Kassin said. “That’s a strange way of doing it. She’s (Mahogany) is really a scorer.
Paige Sneed (5-4, Fr.) Oklahoma City Western Heights and Jasmin Gassis (5-6, Fr.) Midwest City should give depth to the guard position.
Sheronica Swindle, Kassin says is a good player that will give help at the wing position as well as Cheyenne Edwards 5-6, Fr., Eldorado.
“We have a young team, athletic team and we should be competitive,” Kassin said. “The girls are working hard, they are fun to coach. We’re going to press full court, because we are small and athletic. We’re going to play up and down which I think is the right way to play this team.”
Kassin said one of the keys will be the health of Nelson who has been plagued with injuries. “If she’s healthy it will be a big help.”
Western will open its season Thursday at Southwestern Christian in Dallas.
Tatyana Bell, 5-9, Fr., F, Altus
Brooke Davidson, 5-9, Fr. PTF, Newcastle
Cheyenne Edwards, 5-6, Fr., SF, Eldorado
Jasmin Gaddis, 5-6, PG, Fr. , Midwest City
Cierra Johnson, 5-9, Fr., C, Dallas, Texas
Ebony Nelms, 5-8, Fr, PG, Altus
Mahogany Nelms, 5-8, Fr., SG, Altus
Jamiece Nelson, 5-10, Soph. SF, Oklahoma City
Cetoria Petties, 5-3, Soph. PG, Oklahoma City
Paige Sneed, 5-4,. Fr. Western Heights
Sheronica Swindle, 5-9, Fr. F, Western Heights
McKael Williams, 5-9, Fr., PF, Del City
Kadedria Woods, 5-8, Fr., Lawton
Head coach: Jerry Kassin
Assistants: Jeremy Nieto, Chris Reeves
November - 1, at Southwestern Christian, Dallas 6:30 p.m.; 2, Oklahoma Wesleyan JV, here, 4 p.m.; 5, at Clarendon, Texas, 6 p.m.; 6, at Wayland Baptist JV, 4 p.m.; 8, Southwest Christian, here, 6 p.m.; 10, Clarendon, Texas, here, 2 p.m.; 13, Wayland Baptist JV, 4:30 p.m.; 14, at Oklahoma Wesleyan JV, Bartlesville, 4 p.m.; 17, Carl Albert, here, 4 p.m.; 19, at Lubbock Christian JV, 5 p.m.; 27 at Redlands, El Reno, 6 p.m.; 29, At NEO,Miami, 8 p.m.
December - 4, at Southwest Christian, 4 p.m.
January - 7, Seminole, here, 6 p.m.; 10, at Northern-Tonkawa, 6 p.m.; 14, Northern-Enid, here, 6 p.m.; 17, at Eastern, 6 p.m.; 21, at Connors,6 p.m.; 24, Murray State, here, 6 p.m.; 31, Redlands, here, 6 p.m.
February -2, at Carl Albert, 6 p.m.; 4, NEO, here, 6 p.m.; 7, at Seminole, 6 p.m.; 11, Northern-Tonkawa, here, 6 p.m.; 18, at Northern-Enid, 6 p.m.; 21, Eastern, here, 6 p.m.; 25, Connors, here, 6 p.m.; 28, at Murray State, 6 p.m.