By: Cortney Brown
Coaching basketball is more than just winning or losing, it’s about teaching the basics.
Michael Davis is in his 23rd year as the Stillwater High School boys’ basketball coach and does not have plans to leave anytime soon.
“I was born and raised in Stillwater,” Davis said. “It’s a blast to come and coach where I played in high school.”
He said he enjoys coaching the Pioneers and is proud with his 2013-14 team because his players are giving their 120 percent.
“This team is over achieving,” Davis said.
The Pioneers started the season by losing its first game against Southmoore, but improve each game. The Pioneers are 15-6 and ranked 15th. Davis said he has many talented players and all have an opportunity to play. Brett Budke, Carson Teel and Jared Dickey are some of the top scores.
Senior Brett Budke has played basketball since he was a boy. He has enjoyed playing varsity with Davis for three years. He played some varsity his sophomore year and became a starter his junior and senior years. He averages 14 points a game and is a captain. Last year he won All-Tournament Award. He watched his brother, Alex Budke, play and he was ready to play for Davis.
“Watching Alex, I got to see what it was like,” Brett Budke said. “I saw how they do stuff, so I knew coming in what to do to be successful.”
Brett Budke could not have a successful season if it weren’t for his friend and teammate Carson Teel. Teel is a senior and has played for Davis three years and started his junior and senior years. He averages 22 points a game, and is a leader. He has won five All-Tournament Team awards. One of his All-Tournament Team was at the East Central OK Classic in Ada this year. Teel won’t move far for college. He signed to play for the OSU baseball team as a left-handed pitcher.
“Playing for Davis is hectic,” Teel said. “He wants us to succeed so bad he will do anything for us.”
Senior Jared Dickey is another valuable player to the team. He averages 10 points a game and is also a leader for the Pioneers. He has played varsity three years for Davis. He has been playing basketball since he could remember. He said he plans to attend a four-year university and coach but will miss Davis.
“He is a really great guy,” Dickey said. “Basketball is a demanding sport and Davis made it fun.”
Davis likes to push his players to their best and coaches depending on his team’s abilities. He likes to run the ball and look for the open shot. This year he has height on his team and said it benefits the team. He likes to get the ball inside and shoot 3-pointers.
“I would like to have five 6-foot-4 players, but we don’t have them,” Davis said. “Jordan Brown is the closest we go to 6 feet 4 inches and can dunk. Brandon Prather and Teel aren’t 6-foot-4 but they act like they are. They make up for it with their heart and desire.”
Davis said he has a shooting team and zone is the best way to play against it.
Davis said as he coaches throughout the year, he also coaches for next year. From playing two years at Northern Oklahoma College and at Oklahoma Christian College to coaching he has learned the most important skill in basketball. The basics.
“You can’t be a good basketball team in not fundamentally sound,” Davis said. “The fundamental part and foundation never changes. You might not see how hard work and sweat are helping you at the moment, but if you keep doing it over again you will get it right.”
Davis said he is mad that his team was not treated fairly for the placement of regionals.
“We were locked in the fifth spot,” Davis said. “But the team in front of us lost two games last week while we won our two games. The teams on the east side are in the same conference so they took care of each other and the playoffs are ready set. But the guys who voted are not honest people.”
With the win against Bartlesville, the team played tough and well. The Pioneers have two more games left in the season and Davis said he is ready to finish strong before playoffs.
Davis has had successful years of coaching for the Pioneers.
In 2011, Davis had senior boys’ that were short and his strategy was to shoot 3-pointers and pass the ball.
In 2010-11, he had a team with mostly senior players, which was unusual for Stillwater. Its record was 1907 and won its conference. Davis brags about the seniors and how goofy they were. However, several player such as Alex Budke came back to help with practice.
Alex Budke, an OSU junior, has played basketball since he could walk. He played for Davis for three years (2008-11). He played some varsity his sophomore year but started his junior and senior years. Budke loved playing for Davis and for the Pioneers.
“Looking back I wish I could do it again,” Alex Budke said. “By far the most fun time in my life in high school.”
Although the Pioneers were coming off a successful year, Davis lost his seniors in 2011-12 and had a blended team with each grade. The Pioneers’ were 18-8 and ranked eighth in state. Tanner Killam, an OSU sophomore, played for Davis in high school. He played varsity for three years and liked having Davis as a coach. Davis taught the players how to play for each other as a team.
“He taught us a lot about basketball, but did much more than that,” Killam said. “He taught us how to be good men.”
After last season, in 2012-13 the Pioneers were ranked seventh in state and its record was 19-7. Not only was the team impressive on the court, but also impressive in the classroom. The team won the All-State Academic Award.
“My players have been good guys,” Davis said. “But they have to be a competitor.”