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New beginnings

Texas Tigers welcome new basketball season and head coach
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Junior+Tre+Ellis+slashes+through+defenders+in+practice+Thursday%2C+Nov.+16%2C+2023.+The+Tigers+are+going+into+the+new+season+with+a+brand+new+head+coach%2C+Eric+Cross.
Kailyn Williams
Junior Tre Ellis slashes through defenders in practice Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. The Tigers are going into the new season with a brand new head coach, Eric Cross.

Lacing his court shoes, junior Alex Orr walks into practice as he would any day during any basketball season. Only this time, he is met by a new face. 

Eric Cross took over the Texas High basketball program at the beginning of the year.

“It’s been really good having Coach Cross here,” Orr said. “He has us in the gym working a lot.  He’s been a really good motivator for us, and he’s pushing us to be the best we can, both individually and as a team.”

Cross developed a background in coaching before coming to Texas and, while he boasts a nice resume walking into this new position, a passion for the sport and the Tiger program pushes him to continue coaching.

“I loved playing basketball. When I realized I wasn’t good enough to keep playing, I decided that I needed to switch it up, so I started coaching. This will be my eighth year coaching and fourth as a head coach,” Cross said. “This has always been my dream job, really. So, when it opened up, I was on it; I applied that day. I was really excited about the opportunity.”

Though only being at Texas High for a few short months, Cross’s impact shines through not only on the basketball court, but through the relationships he’s building with the key members of his program.

“It’s been really enjoyable having Coach Cross here,” assistant coach Keith Jones said. “He’s a super good guy, and we’ve become good friends.”

Coach Cross just wants to see us succeed, and we all want that too.

— Junior Alex Orr

Aside from just recognizing and utilizing the talent presented in the program, Cross sees past athletic ability to form connections with his athletes.

“I think that the main thing that I would say is special about him is that he seems to care about these kids as much as any coach that I’ve ever been around,” Jones said. “A lot of coaches care about the good players, but he seems to care about all of the players. It could be the next to last person on the bench, and he seems to care about them just as much as he does the starting five.”

Along with welcoming a new coach, the basketball program welcomed some new athletes as well. 

“The transition to Texas High has been smooth as a whole, including the new classes and change in academic requirements,” junior transfer Tre Ellis said. “As for basketball, I feel like I found a family in the program, and I’m excited to get the season started.”

The Tigers see a difference under Coach Cross in the quality of work in preparation for the season. 

“We’ve really just been working harder overall. We’ve been working harder, and smarter too, honestly,” Orr said. “Coach has us on these new workout plans. We’ve been training realistic stuff to get us better.” Looking forward, Cross feels that seeing the boys gel as a whole is most important. With only one returning varsity starter, the Tigers boast a lineup of new moving parts, and team chemistry comes with time and practice. 

“I think that I’m most looking forward to seeing how this team grows together. I think that the chemistry is something we are still trying to figure out,” Cross said. “They’re trying to figure out each other’s spots, where they want to shoot from, where they cut and how they move. I feel like that’s going to be really fun to see when it all comes together.”

Kailyn Williams

In an aspect of growing together, the competitiveness of the Tigers drives them to be better amongst themselves. 

“This team, I think my favorite part about coaching them so far is how competitive they are,” Cross said. “Every day, they go at each other. Sometimes, it can lead to some kind of argument, but it’s always fun to get to see them compete every day.”

As they continue to prepare for the season, the Tigers put in countless hours of work.

“I’m ready to see what we are going to accomplish this season,” Jones said. “We work so hard during practice and put in so much work during the off-season. [It’s going to be interesting] to see how we will come together as a team and to see what will transfer onto the court.”

With a whole new year ahead of them and a whole new team dynamic waiting to grow and blossom, the Tigers are looking forward to seeing what’s in store for them this season. 

“Right now, the team dynamic is good, we are all really close off the court,” junior Justin Brown said. “On the court, we are working on building that team chemistry and just getting better overall. Looking to district, We are hoping for a good winning record and beating those top teams. I think it’s going to be a great season.”

 

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About the Contributor
Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor
Kailyn Williams is a third-year senior member of the newspaper staff and Sports Editor. She is an overachieving perfectionist, who doesn’t like failing. She is a member of the varsity volleyball and softball team and likes to maintain straight A’s.

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