695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
Ardell Jackson, Westlake High school varsity coach and president of Lady Pearls Basketball organization, spent some time answering some questions for 695hoops.com. Coach Jackson is one of the most knowledgeable coaches in the DMV. Read his story below.
695: How did you get started coaching?
Coach: Started coaching men’s basketball (semi-professional players) helping them get jobs overseas, ABA and other professional leagues throughout the United States. Also, did a lot individual training for college, semi-pro and high school players.
695: Where have you coached?
Coach: I started my own semi-professional travel organization call “Crossover Hoops”, which was semi-professional travel team that traveled to various professional Pro-Am tournaments through the United States. We competed in large Pro-Am showcases like the Kentucky Pro-Am in front of various professional coaches, scouts and agents from overseas and USA. Then I created the Lady Pearls Basketball organization to help female athletes to gain the opportunity to exposure from college scouts and coaches from all levels, while building heir skill sets.
Now I'm currently going into my 3rd year at Westlake high school in Waldorf, Maryland.
695: Where did you grow up?
Coach: I grew up in Charles and St. Mary’s County, Maryland as a child and went to Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School in LA Plata, MD and Margaret Brent Middle in St. Mary’s until 7th grade. I moved to Montgomery County where I attended Robert E. Lee Middle school in Wheaton, MD and then went to John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, MD.
695: Did you play ball growing up?
I played basketball all my life as far back as I can think. I played basketball at John F. Kennedy High School for Coach Destefano, on the No. 18 rank team in the area and finished the season with a 20-4 finish in 1995. I was selected in the summer of 1995 to go to Belgium and Paris to play on a select travel team that competed against teams from Russia, Poland, France, Finland and other countries. Come back and attended Thornton Friends School in Silver Spring, MD as a Post Graduate and played in the Independent League and lead the DC Metro area in scoring in 1996 averaging 35.8 points per game, scoring over 50 points in 5 plus games and scored a school record of 73 points a single game.
Went on to play basketball at Albright College for one season, where I suffered a season ending injury and then attending Montgomery College Germantown as a starter for Coach Tom Sheahin on the No. 5 rank team in the nation for 1 season. Next following season transferred and played for Coach Steve Hobson at Montgomery College Rockville, where we won the Region XX Championship and advanced to the NJCAA D-3 National tournament in Suny Delhi, NY. After playing college ball jumped on the semi-pro circuit playing and trying out for various semi-pro teams in the US and overseas.
695: Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching style and philosophy?
The number one influence in my life is GOD and without GOD this coaching thing wouldn’t even be happening. As far as coaches, many coaches have influenced my coaching style and I’ve pulled a lot of different things from them. Coach Steve Hobson who coached me at Montgomery College Rockville was a big influence. He pushed me to pursue the basketball coaching field after my playing journey. But, there are coaches that I respect in the game that I’ve watched coach and really respect. Coach Waters from River Hill does great job and I respect what she has and is still doing at River Hill.
695: What challenges do you face running an AAU program in your area?
Coach: What a great question! There are so many challenges that you face running an AAU program. What I’ve learned is that you can’t please everyone all the time. Someone will always feel like you are short changing them, but those are the ones
that you have to let go and let them move on to other programs. I think a challenge that many coaches face in the summer is the flip flop of players between programs and teams. Everyone is looking for a quick fix to their basketball game, but don’t want to put in the work with the coaches to make the fix. Then you have the challenge of trying to get parents and kids to understand that just because you play for an organization with a major name doesn’t guarantee you a scholarship.
695: Amen to that! What do you think about the overall direction of girls basketball in this area?
We are heading in a good direction with basketball in the DMV. College coaches that I’ve talk too are in love with the talent in the area. We still have some ways to go to catch up with some of the other states like Texas, Ohio, New York, etc…, but we are getting there. We have to really start teaching these kids the fundamentals at a younger age and groom those fundamental skills sets. This will help with the overall product that we are trying to sell to these coaches.
695: Talk about this year's Westlake team...
Coach: I’m excited about the upcoming season and looking forward to getting back in the gym with the girls. We have a lot of talent that will be returning and we have a nice group of talent coming in. So, I’m pleased. We are just going to take it one day at a time and focus on executing and getting better each and every day.
695: What is your biggest pet peeve as a coach?
My biggest pet peeve as a coach is players who don’t play with energy, lack of effort and who don’t want to be coached and listen to the people in the stands. This is a problem that I’m sure most coaches have, but it really bugs me to have players that have aspirations of playing on varsity or the next level that don’t want to put in the work in practice or who has 30 coaches in the stand telling them opposite of what you are telling them. That’s something that I just can’t understand.
695: What else do you do besides coach?
Coach: I work at the National Institutes of Health for the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD as Management Analyst and Records Management Office for the National Cancer Institute. I still love playing basketball in various men’s leagues to keep in shape.
695: Thanks and good luck this season.
Coach: Thank you.
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