Thompson begins Bogan era with focus on culture and maximizing each player

Published 11:15 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

An exciting new era for the Thompson Warriors has started with coach Art Bogan at the helm.

After growing up in the Birmingham area, Bogan has now returned to his hometown to coach Thompson after a stretch as a college assistant.

His goal is to create a new culture while making the most of the talent that Thompson has, and so far, the players have bought in and lived up to the lofty standard he has set. Right now, players like Terrin Haynes are focused on breaking old habits that may not have been as effective in the past for the Warriors and taking advantage of the new structure.

“I personally believe that there’s more of a structure,” Haynes said. “The foundation is very stable. But we know that if you want somebody that pushes us to our max ability, it’s going to be coach Bogan. He doesn’t allow us ourselves to settle for less, and he makes sure that we always have a room to come to him to talk about anything that may be bothering us or something that we may see that could help improve the team.”

Bogan has prioritized skill development through drills and practicing particular situations so the team is better prepared for game action. While he constantly seeks improvement from his players, he is also a student of the game and looks for ways to evolve his coaching style and methods.

He is molding Thompson into a similar style of play of his previous teams but also adapting it to the players he has now. Expect the Warriors to be a defense-first team, focusing on limiting turnovers, ball-handling and passing while pushing the pace in transition.

His goal is to get players confident in the system and learn quickly to eventually score over 70 points per game this year.

To achieve that goal, he will need to get the most out of a talented group of both experienced and young players, and that starts with leading scorer Morgan Adolphus.

Bogan has been impressed with her shots, her ability to perform in clutch situations, and especially her improvement in shooting this summer. He wants her to be more aggressive and has given her permission to shoot three-pointers more often to take advantage of those gains.

Adolphus, for her part, wants to gain confidence in her abilities to unlock her full potential.

“I want to be more confident in what I’m doing on the court and not be afraid of attacking or shooting,” Adolphus said.

Another name that has generated buzz this offseason is Jayla Forbes after the freshman center racked up offers from multiple Power 5 schools following her eighth-grade season on varsity.

Bogan expects coaches to target Forbes with double-teams, which could open up a plethora of other effective shooters to score points.

Those other returning players include Maliyah Green, floor general point guard Kaylee Fenderson and Karlyn Oden, a senior combo guard who can score on all three levels with her athleticism and drive. Haynes is also expected to be a leader within this team as a senior.

Beyond down the bench them, Thompson has a trio of exciting young players in Sydney Coney, Cailyn Landrew and Kayla Russell who could all be potential breakout players as underclassmen.

That depth is something that Bogan hopes is a strength, especially with the athleticism and selflessness that they have shown so far. He hopes to develop them on and off the court into players that can lead this program now and in the future.

“We’re not leaving any kid behind,” Bogan said. “Everyone that’s in this program, I’ll be hands on with them in some type of capacity. I don’t overlook anybody, but every kid here we are creating a blueprint for success with them, not only as just athletes, but as people.”

While much of this year is focused on rebuilding Thompson for future success, the Warriors’ focus right now is to be the best version of themselves. The seniors on the team want to win now while still laying the foundation of this program.

And what does Bogan want the foundation of the program to be? A family, and one that is willing to go beyond the bonds of team and do anything for each other.

“The people that I sacrifice and give everything to, they’re my family members,” Bogan said. “And so, that’s why I want us to grow as a program, to truly build and create a family culture within that. That’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. That takes us building and trusting in one another.”