The Cedar Ridge boy’s basketball program has turned over a new leaf with the addition of Jaison Brooks as head basketball coach. Although talks began over the summer between Brooks and the school, the news did not become official until next week that the AVID and personal finance teacher at Cedar Ridge would take over the program.
“I’m super excited,” Brooks said. “It’s a great program. I have some wonderful kids who are coming back into the program and a slew of kids who are interested in joining the program. It’s a good buzz, if you will, around the program, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Brooks is tasked with replacing Clay Jones, who stepped down as Cedar Ridge head coach in May after five years with the program. Last season the Red Wolves posted a 1-23 record, but Brooks — who attended multiple games—was impressed by the team’s resiliency.
“They were a team,” Brooks said. “They rallied around each other, so I think that’s one thing that we will be able to build upon. They have a little chant that ends with family, and that’s not just necessarily words, but things to live by. So that’s another thing that kind of excites me, is that it’s not individual. It is what we can do for the team that makes the difference.”
Although Brooks also taught at Orange High School in 2018, he ultimately decided to take the coaching job at Cedar Ridge High School, a place he said has a “great atmosphere” that people outside the school might not be aware of just yet.
“I think the best way I can describe it is almost like a volcano waiting to erupt,” Brooks said. “There’s all these awesome things going on under the surface and it’s just a matter of time before it explodes and everybody is able to see it. So that’s one of those things that I see here at the school, not just academically but even sports, not just basketball, but all of them.”
Brooks, who played for three different high schools during his basketball career, has a coaching philosophy built on learning. He is friends with other coaches, and has experience coaching at the AAU level.
As a student of the game, he is constantly filtering through information in books, online and in game footage to help his knowledge grow. Although he would like his team to be well-rounded this season, he said that defense will be a slightly larger area of focus for Cedar Ridge when the team kicks off its season in November.
But just as important as the on-court success for Brooks is helping his players grow and mature as people as they get ready for the next chapter in their lives.
“At the end of the day, everything is to help their kids become better men,” Brooks said. “It may sound cliche, but the goal is to help them grow because one day they’re going to be fathers, one day they’re going to be husbands, they’re going to be employees, CEOs, etc and so anything we can do to help them in that, then that’s what we’re going to do. Basketball is a means to teach life lessons. That’s what we’re going to do.”