FRANKLIN FURNACE — Scott Blankenship believes at Green, there are indeed greener pastures.
And, he hopes, as a result, a return to tradition.
After a basketball life as an assistant, including almost a decade under Kevin Lewis leading the Bobcats, Blankenship becomes a head coach for the first time —as he was officially hired 10 days ago by the Green Local Schools Board of Education to be the Bobcats’ next boys basketball boss.
He replaces Dirk Hollar, who stepped aside after last season —which was his sixth and with an even 12-12 record.
Blankenship, prior to his first team meeting on Monday evening with his newest players, discussed his return to Green in an interview with The Portsmouth Daily Times.
The Bobcats, adhering to the rules and regulations within the state’s “Phase 2” of contact practice, began workouts on Monday.
Blankenship has actually coached the current Bobcat seniors-to-be, but believes his past at Green connects greatly to his present — and future.
“I’ve spent many years here at Green. And I just feel like this is ‘home’ for me,” he said. “I spent all those years here coaching and being able to coach under Kevin Lewis, who I feel like is a legend. Just being able to come back here. My daughter goes here and all of my kids are going to go here now. To me, this is home and I am coming back home.”
Blankenship graduated from Rock Hill in 1991, then began coaching alongside Lewis in the mid-to-late 1990s, including in the junior high program and as a varsity assistant.
He was also the Green golf coach.
He also assisted David Hopper when he took over the program, but for the past decade has spent his days and nights coaching along the AAU circuit.
As for the Green seniors, Blankenship mentored them in the youth ranks.
“I am familiar with all of the kids here, so that is a plus. I’ve been able to coach them in prior years, so that is an advantage,” he said.
But coaching youngsters, even in the offensive-oriented up-and-down the court AAU-style, is different at the older levels.
In fact, Blankenship said he places an emphasis on defense —and getting the Bobcats into “basketball shape” started on Monday night.
“I am a defensive-minded coach and I believe defense is what wins championships. We’re going to play hard-nosed defense, play an aggressive style, get after loose balls and take charges. The main thing is that the kids are going to have to get in basketball shape. To me, that is such an important aspect of the way that I coach, and some of these kids know that. It’s not going to be something new to them,” said the coach. “They know what I expect and discipline and structure is something that I instill.”
As for now, whether it’s defense or offense or individual or team concepts, there are certain guidelines which ALL Ohio schools —including Green —must follow.
The workouts are essentially limited to 10 players per coach, but both ends of the gymnasium can be utilized.
This break-up allows for fundamentals and individual instruction and group work, which Blankenship believes does have its benefits.
Still, perhaps the best way to evaluate players is how they perform in 5-on-5 settings.
“Hopefully, after they release some of those restrictions, we’ll be able to get ready and go full contact,” he said.
And, go full-go towards re-establishing Green’s winning tradition.
Blankenship said he is good friends with New Boston coach Adam Cox, but wants to chase down the talented and highly-touted Tigers —and challenge for the Southern Ohio Conference Division I championship on a regular basis.
“We want to get back to the winning ways here. The tradition here has been strong in the past when I was here and we want to get that back. Our goals are and our expectations should be winning the SOC I and sectional championships and getting to the districts. There is a lot of talent here now and we have a lot of talent coming up in the younger grades. I’ve coached this senior class before, and we have some underclassmen who can help these upperclassmen,” he said. “I am excited, and I hope the kids are excited and are ready to work.”
Indeed, Blankenship believes at Green there are greener pastures.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved