MOSHEIM — Allen Tolliver couldn’t be more excited about being named boys basketball coach at West Greene.
For starters, it’s his first job as a head coach.
Secondly, the 2016 West Greene grad and former Buffaloes basketball player will lead his alma mater.
And, too, he’ll be coaching a group of players who have played together for years and should be starting to peak as a team.
“I was pretty stoked about it when I got the call and they told me I got the head coaching job,” said Tolliver, who was an assistant coach with the Buffaloes the past four years.
Tolliver replaces Jacob Deal, who coached West Greene the past three seasons. The Buffaloes went 4-12 overall and 3-7 in District 2-2A this past season.
Playing mostly underclassmen the past two seasons, the Buffaloes have long been considered a talented up-and-coming bunch. This season, they will return three of their top four scorers from a year ago in Leyton Frye, Braylan Radar and Ethan Turner.
“The experience they’ve gained the past two years is going to be monumental for us,” Tolliver said. “A lot of those kids have played since they were freshmen. They have the experience. Now we’ve just got to get over that hump and start finishing some ballgames.
“We played a lot of close games last year, but we didn’t have the experience to finish them off. I feel like that’s definitely going to be different this year.”
Somewhat lacking in size, the Buffaloes have played mostly up tempo the past two seasons in an effort to pull bigger opponents out of the half court.
Tolliver says to expect the Buffs to continue to run this season.
“That’s pretty much what we’ve decided to go with,” he said. “We figure with the speed and depth we’ll have, the run-and-gun type ball will be our best bet. So we’ve been getting in shape and we’ve been at it hard in the weight room trying to bulk some of the kids up.
“The guys have already bought in. They’re showing up early, they’re staying late and they’re always getting that extra rep in. I’ve seen a big difference in them.”
Tolliver has run West Greene’s summer camps, has taken the Buffaloes to camps and has been practicing and working out with them in the weight room.
He thinks the continuity of being promoted from assistant to coach is important.
“I told (West Greene administrators) I’d love to coach the team,” he said. “I have a great bunch of boys that I’ve been with since they were little. I’ve kind of watched them grow up. I told them I felt like I was a good guy for the job because I already know the boys and it wouldn’t feel like a total coaching change for them.
“I played basketball all four years when I was a student at West Greene and, unfortunately, I played for four coaches in those four years. I want to try to give back to these kids and try to make sure they have the same coach for a while.”