Plymouth’s LaGroon named top boys’ hoops coach

Published 4:15 pm Sunday, April 6, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s first-year coach Darius LaGroon has a lot to be proud of this season. After getting off to a late start because most of his roster was pursuing a state title in football, the new coach was able to mesh with his players in time to go 19-3, win the Albemarle Conference and take home a sectional championship.
All that success has led to LaGroon being named the Washington Daily News Coach of the Year, but what LaGroon is most proud of this year has nothing to do with basketball.
LaGroon said what makes him smile the most is the fact that after June, most of his seniors will still be going to class, just not at Plymouth High School.
Whether it is to go play football, basketball or neither, LaGroon said he didn’t care as long as his players were continuing to better themselves.
Aside from Hunt and Sharpless, the Vikings’ Marcus Jones, Damien Davis and Akeem Webb are set to start the second chapter of their schooling come September.
Jones, Davis and Webb will each be attending Voorhees College, and will attempt to make the basketball team as a walk-on. Kournegay will be attending a prep school in South Carolina, and will presumably attend college upon graduation. Mitchell is still fielding offers, but is said to be leaning towards Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida to play football.
LaGroon said the transition to Plymouth was made easier by the fact that he was coaching a close knit group.
As much as LaGroon has helped his players out on the court this season, his players have done the same for him.
Plymouth’s football season ended on Dec. 8, the Vikings’ first basketball game was on Dec. 16.
Left with little time to prepare, the team’s willingness to help each other on the court helped speed up the learning process. The team’s cohesiveness also helped them put behind a sour 20006-07 season.
LaGroon said he was surprised at how fast his players adapted.
To LaGroon’s credit he had no interest in venturing into the past, his only concern was the future. LaGroon offered everybody who came out for the team a clean slate.
With a new foundation in place, the Vikings went on to have one of their most successful season in recent history.
LaGroon said what he will remember most this season was when his team topped North Edgecombe 101-96 to win the sectional championship.
LaGroon said what stands out in his mind about that game is the way his players stayed calm under pressure.
With so much success in just his first season, it’s hard not to believe there won’t be plenty more great moments in store for LaGroon and the Vikings.