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Simmons Says - Send top players to WCMS

Isaac Slatton should not be on the sidelines coaching 7-8 grade basketball Monday at Boyd. But not for the reasons you’d think.

Slatton’s shouting (more on that in a moment) doesn’t concern me nearly as much as the league itself. It’s been eight years of reporting and I’ll keep asking the same question – why are we not moving our best players to one team by middle school so we can begin to cultivate a program that can flow seamlessly into high school?

I’ve yet to get a great answer. The only answer I really hear is elementary basketball is important in the community. Support-ing a solid high school program would make most fans happy too.

Back to the Slatton situation for a second. I wasn’t at Irving College Thursday, but I know more than a few people who were. From people I trust detailing the situation, this seems blown out of proportion. People are calling for his job, which really shocks me.

I’ve covered many games Slatton has coached. I’ve interviewed him before and after contests. He’s not a loud person. Maybe he went overboard to make a point about turnovers – many coaches do – but to think it should cost him his job seems outlandish.

I hope to see him at Boyd Monday.

Back to the elementary leagues. There’s no reason Warren County’s best players shouldn’t be suiting up for the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers and competing against out-of-county teams to sharpen their skills for the battles to come in high school.

There’s really no reason.

Warren County Middle School opted to join the TMSAA over the summer. In all other sports beside basketball, players from county schools are eligible to play at WCMS and compete for championships. I don’t think there’s any rule – unless we’ve made our own locally – that would stop them from doing the same in basketball.

Would taking the top three players from Dibrell and two players from Morrison hurt an elementary rivalry? Sure. Would it help in the long run for Warren County basketball? Absolutely.

I’m willing to take that trade off. I want our county to be represented at the highest level, even if that means a few communities won’t be.

I think all it would take is one player to buck the system and show up for tryouts at WCMS next year. Would any elementary school be willing to stop the flow of its athletes in all sports just to protect its roster in basketball? I would hope not.

Get the best players together and send them off to battle Sparta, Cookeville and others. I think Chris Sullens and Shea Panter would love to reap the benefits.

It’s what is best for Warren County, and I’ll continue to shout it.