By Jeff Steers
(July 14, 2021 4:37 PM) New East Jackson High School boys’ basketball Coach Ryan Zyla learned many valuable lessons while attending college at Lake Superior State University.
His most valuable one may be to continuously “hammer the stone.”
Zyla takes over for Rodney Lowden as the varsity head basketball coach at EJHS.
The Trojans have averaged approximately eight wins per season the last seven campaigns. Last winter EJHS was 3-9 in a COVID-19 shortened season.
Zyla coaches high school students at Michigan Sports Facility and has some experience in the Cascades Conference after having coached at Vandercook Lake.
“We used the expression ‘hammer the stone’ at Lake Superior,” Zyla said. “You aren’t going to break the stone on the first hit.
“You have to work on it.”
Zyla works as the facility director at Michigan Sports Facility and is the director of the Flight Program – AAU basketball teams from MSF. He also coached at the varsity level at Vandercook Lake.
Zyla has worked with a few of his new players, but not all of them.
“That is the tough part is I have not met all of the kids,” Zyla said. “The key is to get the ones who show up as good as you can right now.”
The coach said EJ played in summer basketball leagues in Stockbridge, Adrian Madison, and at Jackson College.
Zyla said the Trojans will have to take a defense first mentality to get better in the conference and district play.
“We just want to get better every day and the wins and losses will take care of themselves at the end of the year.
“Year one may be a bit of a rollercoaster.”
Zyla said the Trojans will play an up-tempo style of basketball. He thought that Lowden did a nice job with the program.
“Rodney did a good job for a long time … we just have different schemes,” Zyla said.
Zyla said he will have Ron Johnson as a varsity assistant coach and Daniel Poole and Collin Blough as junior varsity coaches.
Zyla said the emphasis this summer is to get as many shots as possible.
“We need to be able to take a ton of shots this summer,” Zyla said. “I want our kids to play with a chip on their shoulder and play like the underdogs every game.”
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