Jackson Eager to Lead Medway High’s Boys Quintet
Shane Jackson is Medway’s new boys varsity basketball coach.
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Shane Jackson has the pedigree and the experience to be successful in his new role as Medway High’s boys’ varsity basketball coach.
The 38-year-old Jackson, a fifth-grade math teacher at Woodland Elementary School in Milford for the last 15 years, was 18 when he helped his father coach basketball at a summer camp. Jackson’s father (John) is highly regarded in the Metrowest area, having coached basketball and softball at Dean College where he served for 28 years as the school’s athletic director. He also played a major role in elevating Dean’s sports teams from junior-college status to Division 3.
Jackson’s pedigree is not only top-notch, but so, too, is his background as an assistant coach. He spent seven years as an assistant with Dean’s women’s basketball squad and five seasons in several roles with the boys’ teams at Medway.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and I’m very excited about the opportunity to direct the boys’ team at Medway,’’ Jackson said. “For the last five years, I’ve coached Medway’s freshmen and jayvees and been a varsity assistant. When I coached at Dean, our women’s teams won three regional titles. Our 2016 team at Dean won regional and district championships and was one of 16 teams in the national tourney.’’
Jackson lauds his father and the Mustangs’ last two boys’ coaches (Eric Copeland and Jason Rojee) for the positive way they’ve influenced and helped shape his coaching career.
“My father had lots of passion for athletics,’’ Jackson emphasized. “He was a terrific coach who had a quiet competitive nature. I loved going one-on-one against him in basketball and am fortunate to have been able to learn so much from him. He’s been a major influence in my life. I started at Medway High with Jason. He was very objective, able to show me his system, then ask my advice about specifics. Eric showed me how to run a program and how a program can be successful. I appreciate all three and the knowledge they offered.’’
Jackson also was a very capable athlete, playing three sports at King Philip Regional. He was a defensive end and a tight end in football, a forward in basketball and a defender in lacrosse. During his senior year, he was a captain in basketball and lacrosse, and a Hockomock League all-star in lacrosse.
Jackson, who is a native of Wrentham and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UMass-Amherst, isn’t worried about his transition to head coach. It should be smooth.
“I think it will,’’ he said. “As a varsity assistant, I connected with many of the players in a positive way. And the freshmen I coached are now seniors on the varsity. There won’t be many changes and our major focus will be on defense. When I played at KP, I was a defender first. There’s no doubt that a strong defensive squad solves a lot of problems.’’
Jackson has four goals he wants to achieve in his rookie season at the helm. “I want the boys to compete for the Tri Valley League Small Division title, qualify for the tourney, get a high seed in the playoffs and improve daily,’’ he emphasized. “Daily improvement builds confidence and creates a positive environment.’’
Jackson’s playing style will depend on the opposition and how often adjustments are needed. “We want to do the things that make our opponents uncomfortable,’’ he said. “I like pressure defense and being up-tempo at times on offense. But a deliberate style can be a plus because the more we move the ball the better we’ll be.’’
Medway will open its season on Dec. 13 at Dedham.
Jackson inherits a team that lost six seniors to graduation (five were starters). The Mustangs also will be without Matt Childs, a talented player who decided to play football at Milton Academy.
Medway, however, has some capable competitors and the 2022-23 edition has a variety of valuable attributes.
“Our players have good basketball IQs, they’re athletic, and coachable,’’ Jackson noted. “Our technique and skills are developing, and our experience and depth will improve as the season moves along.’’
Senior Sean Anderson (6-4) and junior Jack Gould (6-5) will see duty at both forward and center. Both rely on a high basketball IQ.
“Sean is a hard-nosed player who’s competitive and supportive of his teammates,’’ Jackson said. “A good rebounder, he’s got offensive skills and has the potential to be a scorer. Jack is a tough, strong rebounder whose post moves are improving. He’s coachable and willing to be all over the floor.’’
Junior Branden McNamara and senior James O’Connor are ticketed for duty at small forward and power forward, respectively.
“Branden has strong inside moves,’’ Jackson offered. “A slasher, he can shoot and mix it up. Relying on effective footwork, he’s a very good on-ball defender. James is a fine utility player. He works hard to improve, is quick, a threat on defense and tough to cover in transition.’’
Two candidates at point guard include junior Caden Reisman and sophomore Matt Parlon.
“Caden can also play the wing,’’ Jackson said. “He sees the open man, is coachable, a skilled ball-handler who can shoot a jumper and he’s instinctive. He’s got good size at 6-1. Matt is promising. A solid defender, he moves well, can shoot and has great court vision. A tactful point guard, he takes care of the ball.’’
Junior Derwin Narcisse is a candidate at power forward. “Derwin is strong and athletic,’’ Jackson noted. “He’s focused on improving his footwork around the hoop and he’s committed to learning the game.’’
Two of Jackson’s assistants include Ryan Otto, a Medway health and wellness teacher who’ll direct the jayvees, and Tim Corcoran, a former assistant at Millis who’ll serve as varsity assistant. At Local Town Pages deadline, Jackson was hoping that Andrew Tiernan will return as the Mustangs’ freshman coach. Tiernan has coached the frosh for the last four years.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that stresses reaching one’s potential and enjoying sports, Jackson believes that, when those qualities are present, winning will be the by-product. He also advocates learning valuable life lesson through sports. “Players can learn how to overcome adversity and be a good teammate,’’ he said. “Other lessons include how to be a leader and a quality citizen, how to set goals and how to develop a solid work ethic.’’
Last year, Medway went 13-9 and split a pair of games in the tourney. Shane Jackson was the varsity assistant then. Now he’s the head coach and he’s eager to get started.
Because of his pedigree and experience, it’s very likely that the new coach will get positive results.