The regular season wrapped up for the Madison Mavericks, Madison’s semi-pro basketball team now in its third season, with an exciting come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Knights on Aug. 5 at the Boys and Girls Club in Madison. Shareef Smith led the Mavericks in scoring in the 113-102 win with 34 points, while Damon Smith and David Turner chipped in 20 and 17 points, respectively.
The victory enabled the Madison Mavericks to finish the season with a 12-2 record overall that includes an undefeated 8-0 record at home. They now head into the playoffs where they are the number two seed. The Mavericks, who play in the Official Basketball Association, were ranked 2nd in the league going into the preseason.
After traveling to Iowa for the first game of the season and losing to the pre-season number-one team without a full squad, the Mavericks have been on a roll. “We went undefeated and won all of our home games (8-0). The only other loss was a forfeit in Michigan when our players didn’t get to the game in time because some of our guys missed the time-change switch.”
With a full squad, the Mavericks have not been defeated this season and they hope to carry that momentum into the playoffs.
“We’ve been pretty impressive this season. We went down to Milwaukee with just eight guys and beat a really good team there,” Adams says. “We have a great group of guys on our team. When they play together and are dialed in and focused, I don’t think anybody can beat us when they are locked in, to be honest with you.
“So I’m very impressed. Very excited,” he adds. “I’m really excited about the direction of the program and the direction of the organization and the guys I have and what we can accomplish.”
This is the first year as head coach of the Mavericks for Adams who is well-known in Madison having coached AAU basketball and high school basketball for many years. Last summer, he was named co-head women’s basketball coach for Madison College.
“It was humbling … because you coach youth, you coach AAU, you coach high school, you coach college and now you’re coaching pros … it’s a different style. It’s a different game,” Adams says. “How you approach the team and get them to buy in, it’s a little bit different because you’re talking about guys who played already either overseas or they played division-one basketball … so they got different coaching mindset, different coaching philosophy in their head.
“So they’re trying to gather all of that information and then listen to a new guy in the program and try to buy into his philosophy and how he sees the game. Once they did that, I thought that the sky was the limit,” Adams adds.
Adams gave an example of that regarding the Mavericks’ defensive strategy. Going into the season, the players really liked to play man-to-man defense, but Coach Adams likes to play man-to-man and zone defense to confuse the offense.
“So trying to get a group of grown men to play zone, I thought it was gonna be challenging but they actually loved it and they embraced it. So, it’s been rewarding to sit back and look for what is going to work the best this season,” Adams says. “And switching up our defense on every other play or every half … between man and zone, man and zone. The players loved it because they were confusing their opponents and as they became more comfortable with the zone defense, they ended up wanting to run zone more than man-to-man.”
Adams adds that he really enjoyed getting to know his players over the season.
“I knew some of the players going into the season and it was great getting to know them either better during the season as they bought into the program and they gelled as a team,” he says.
The Mavericks now will start their post-season with a home game on Saturday, Aug. 12, and are hoping to see some great community support from the Madison area.
“We have a first-round bye because we are the number two seed going into the playoffs and we are likely going to play the Chicago Rebels,” he says. “Our goal is to win this championship.
“We are looking to move to a different league next year, but that is yet to be determined,” he continues. “We are going to do some structural things and organizational things to make this a bigger and better environment for the community with the kids and the players to be a part of. There are some really positive things we’re going to do moving forward.
“But right now, starting with our game on Aug. 20, we’re looking to win this championship first.”