As the Cascades men’s basketball team begins their season, head coach Adam Friesen talks about his expectations for the upcoming season, the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and their mindset heading into the season.
You are in your third year as coach of the UFV Cascades and you have been very successful in your position. What made you want to become a coach?
What brought me into basketball was that my dad was a coach, so I was around basketball from an early age, and I really enjoyed the sport. Having a dad as a coach, you get to see things differently: how much fun it can be from a coaching perspective and staying involved in the game. Basically, having a father who was into basketball and was a coach made me want this.
What advice would you give for someone wanting to become a coach in the future?
You have got to understand what it’s all about before you make that final decision to coach, and that it’s a lot of fun. If you put in a lot of work and you do it for the right reasons, you’re really going to have a nice and fun career.
What is your coaching philosophy?
Keep things simple; if you work really hard and you get your team to buy into playing together and playing for unselfish reasons, your team’s going to continue to have success.
After a season where the team finished 17-3, on the way to winning the Canada West bronze medal over the UBC Thunderbirds, what are your expectations for the season with your current roster?
Our expectations are that we hope to get back to the Canada West Final Four and make it to the Nationals, but our more immediate goal is that we want to be a team that outworks other teams. That’s the goal we’re focused on every day in practice — not necessarily the bigger picture, end-of-the-year goal. We all think that if we come together and work hard, we put in the extra time, and all that kind of stuff, having a successful season is doable.
What do you think are the Cascade’s biggest strength and weakness?
I think our biggest strength is that we’ve got good people, first of all; you can’t have success unless you have good people. That’s our biggest strength, but besides that, we’re deep — we have a lot of speed and quite a bit of skill. We’re going to be able to put out five people on the floor that can defend and have to be guarded on the offensive end. That’s probably our greatest strength. Our greatest weakness — I don’t know. We’ll have to play some games and I’ll let you know.
What is the team’s mindset for the upcoming season?
Just take it day by day. We want to grow together, build chemistry, and continue to try working harder than we did the day before. Be consistent with our effort and with our focus, and not look too far ahead.
The UFV men’s basketball team announced a recruiting class of six players. How much of an impact do you think these six players will have in their first season playing for the Cascades?
We expect them to have a significant impact. We’ve never had a deep team in the past couple years. This year, one of our strengths is going to be that we can be deep. We have nine, 10 guys that we can put on the floors and contribute, which will allow us to play fast, and play quick for longer periods of time.
Despite not having a player over 6’7 last season, the Cascades had a strong season culminating in a bronze medal. With the 6’9 Madison Cooley in the mix, what do you expect to be different?
In terms of the height perspective, not too much is different. We rebound the ball quite well, we got a bunch of guys that play hard, play tough, and that aren’t afraid of getting into the paint and battling the best that they can. Madison is going to definitely help us, but he’s also a multifaceted player; he can shoot from the perimeter, he can take people off the bounce, he can post up. He has versatility.
What are your thoughts on the new format change?
I like it a lot better than the current one for sure, no question about it. I enjoy that we’re going to face every team; for some teams it might be in the second year, but we have an opportunity to play every team in the league. Next year is going to be a lot more fun.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.