I had the honor of sitting down with Coach Flannery to talk about the upcoming season. The Eagles have had much success in the last two years, winning a State Championship in 2014 and making a Final Four appearance last season. Recently, a few question marks have arisen from the media now that big names like Kipper Nichols, Mike Ryan, Darien Knowles, Derek Funderburk and the rest of the very talented Senior class are now gone. Where do the Eagles go from here? How will they win ball games? What kind of play style will they have?
Logan Leduc: You were quoted as saying this is the best “team” you have ever had. Can you elaborate a little bit on what you meant and what’s the attitude/mindset like with these guys that makes them the best “team” you’ve ever had?
Coach Flannery: “Well, we really won’t know until the season starts but the guys have really worked hard and helped each other out in pushing themselves. It’s not a one man show, the team has to rely on each other to find success. The offseason work put in convinces me that this is the best ‘team’ I’ve ever had.”
LL: What kind of play style will this team have this year?
CF: “Well you know, it’s going to be a run and gun team. We either have to play really slow or play fast. The 3 pointer will become a weapon along with our defense. Getting out in the open floor in transition is of vital importance.”
LL: What is the central message for your team this year?
CF: “It’s different every year. Our theme this year is ‘Believe and Achieve’ and our other theme, as always, coincides with the school’s theme for each year. So this year we want to be a team with ‘Hope to Bring’.”
LL: In the two years that I have been here, St. Ed’s hasn’t lost at home. What really makes the difference when playing at home?
CF: “Actually, for all the years that I’ve coached here, we rarely lose at home. There is such a great energy that is second to none. When the students get loud, this is a tough place for an opposing team to play at. Many coaches have told me that it’s the toughest environment they have ever had to play at.”
LL: With a talented senior class last year now gone, many critics are counting you guys out and believe this team could have a losing season. What do you have to say to the critics?
CF: “All we care about is being good at the end of the season. Everyone makes the playoffs and I truly couldn’t care less about the early season. As long as we grow as a team and win when we have to, we’re just fine. To the critics, it certainly will be a challenge because it’s a much different team but we are not different in talent. Everyone has a nice shoot, handle the ball, and play defense. We will definitely have a different approach. In the end, we like to be criticized and doubted, it just serves as more motivation.”
LL: Finally, the biggest question everyone, and I mean everyone wants to know. What do you think your all-star student manager duo of Luke Seelie and Logan Leduc can provide to the team?
CF: “Oh boy, haha, if these guys work well together, I believe the L-Train (Luke and Logan Train) will be in full affect and help us win many ball games.”