Home Local News Veteran coach James Adams takes over the helm for the Madison Mavericks...

Veteran coach James Adams takes over the helm for the Madison Mavericks for season three

Madison Mavericks Head Coach James Adams (Photo supplied.)

Longtime Madison-area coach and mentor James Adams is the new coach of the Madison Mavericks, Madison’s semi-pro basketball team now in its third season. 

“I want to thank [Mavericks owner] Roy Boone for putting this together. It’s a great honor to be coach and I appreciate the opportunity,” Adams tells Madison365. “I’m excited, like flat-out excited, and hopefully, we get the support from the community that we need to have so this thing can move forward and be something bigger than life.”

The Mavericks made the official announcement last month introducing its new coach on social media. Coach Adams is well-known around town 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.

“Initially, when the Mavs first came about, I was going to be a part of it on its inaugural year, but my basketball commitments with the AAU at the time were just not going to match up. Having this opportunity now is very exciting,” Adams says. 

“Most of the guys around Madison, I’ve either coached or have had some level of training with them. So having a lot of these guys on this team and knowing them, I feel like it’s gonna be a pretty good fit. Just the respect level I have them … and I believe the respect level they have for me.”

The Madison Mavericks, who play in the Official Basketball Association, were ranked 2nd in the league going into the preseason. They dropped their opener on Saturday night, 100-70, to Quad City United. Still, Adams is excited about the team he’s putting on the court this season.

“We’ve got some hometown guys and we have some out-of-area guys. Our goal is to bring home a championship this year,” Adams says. “The team got to the championship game [the first year] and then last year, I was an assistant coach with the program and we ended up losing in the Final Four.  I think with the addition of a few players, I think we should be really strong.” 

Madison Mavericks Head Coach James Adams
(Photo supplied.)

Adams takes over for former Madison Mavericks Head Coach Curtrel Robinson who stepped down from the position during this off-season.

“On behalf of our entire organization, I have the highest appreciation for what Robinson has meant to the Madison Mavericks since year one,” Mavs owner Roy Boone said in a statement. Boone is a former Madison East High School star and a player for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team. “Under his leadership, Robinson helped lead this basketball team to early success, showing what can be accomplished with a combination of vision, hard work and leadership. We are grateful for everything Coach Robinson has given to this organization and to the city.”

Adams says that some veteran guys he expects to have a big impact this year on the Madison Mavericks season include Shareef Smith, Nimrod Hilliard, OBA MVP David Turner, Chris Costello, Troy Reeves, Emmanuel Albey, and Stavon Staples, an all-league player last year and an all-star averaging 22 points a game.

“David Turner was the league MVP and the defensive MVP of the OBA last year. He’s obviously the biggest name on the roster because of his ability to score,” Adams says of the former Madison La Follette star. “He’s a highlight reel and he has the accolades to back it up.”

New Mavericks players he’s expecting to come in and contribute include David Smith, Marquis Mason, Terrell James, Gavin Briscoe. Alex Berg and Jamar Hurdle.

“Andrew Walls is a really good defender. He’s tough. He’s strong. He’s aggressive and he has strong leadership skills,” Adams says. “We brought in a guy from Iceland by the name of John Braeger who can flat-out shoot. He’s gonna be a huge difference-maker out on the perimeter.

“I think we have a really deep roster and we can really bring in a lot of different guys,” Adams adds. “We have a lot of talent.”

Adams has spent a lifetime coaching young people and high school students. He earned Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2018 after leading Madison East to a runner-up finish in the league standings. Adams won three consecutive regional titles and guided the Purgolders to back-to-back sectional final appearances. So what’s different about coaching the Mavericks?

“These are men. These are not youth; they’re not young. The only thing that will be different is the engagement with them now. They have families. They are adults,” Adams says. “So just getting them to buy into what I’m trying to sell to them. I think the former coach, Coach Curtrel [Robinson], did a great job of balancing that. I think with not only my experience and my youthful personality but as well as my ability to be able to coach on many different levels and get them to understand and help them figure out what we need to do consistently to be successful, I think it should work out. 

“It is a challenge because guys get set in their ways. And it’s different when you’re working with a college student or high school student or even youth… you’re helping them build where they want to get to,” Adams continues. “Now they’ve gotten to so many different places. They could get stuck in their own ways and I want them to really buy into what I want them to do in order for us to be successful as a collective group.”

Coach James Adams with Madison Mavericks point guard Nimrod Hilliard
(Photo supplied.)

Adams also sees this season as an opportunity to be a stepping stone for players to move on to different opportunities outside of Madison. “Hopefully, they will get an opportunity to put together some tape so they can move on to professional overseas,” Adams says. “I’m excited to be able to be the leader this year, and help groom these guys. Like I said, it’s definitely gonna be a huge adjustment as a coach because these aren’t young men; these are actual men.”

Adams is excited for the team he’s putting out this season and he knows how much it would mean to have the support of the greater Madison community.

“I hope people show up. This is some very competitive basketball,” Adams says. “My goal this year is to help bring the attendance numbers up with marketing, promoting, and by engaging the community and with structured programs with the high schools, girls and boys. We really want to get the community involved and I think talking with the [owner] Roy [Boone], we want it to be as big as if they are going to a Wisconsin Badger game. 

“A lot of these guys played Division 1 basketball and a lot of these guys are local guys,” Adams adds. “We’re hoping that we can get a lot of community to come to support the local guys and just try to make it more of a family affair. My expectations, Roy’s expectations, and the team’s expectations are to fill the gym and fill the bleachers.”


The Madison Mavericks will play their next game against Rochester United on Saturday, April 22.