Prep boys basketball: New coach Crider likes what he’s seeing at MCS


Prep boys basketball: New coach Crider likes what he’s seeing at MCS

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Fairfield’s Ben Phillips shoots while being covered by Middletown Christian’s Jarod Hamlin (33), Ross’ Joey Wright and New Miami’s Joe Mack during the inaugural All-Butler County All-Star boys basketball game at the Hamilton Athletic Center on April 15, 2017. COX MEDIA FILE PHOTO

New Middletown Christian School boys basketball coach Jason Crider can probably recite a good bit about a season he didn’t see.

The first-year coach spent the majority of the offseason studying up on the group that he welcomed as preseason practices opened up.

“I certainly watched a lot of film,” Crider said.

What he saw was a combination of good and bad as Middletown Christian went through a 10-13 season that included a fifth-place finish in the Metro Buckeye Conference at 4-8. After clawing back to .500, the Eagles went 1-4 down the stretch.


“I am definitely getting a sense of hunger and focus I’ve not seen at many high-school levels,” Crider said. “I pray we can stay healthy and at the end of the year know we left it all on the court night in and night out as well as our preparation.”

Middletown Christian will be without two key cogs after the graduation of Cameron Russell and Ronin Koeller, who averaged 11 points per game last year.

MCS does return its two leading scorers in the 6-foot-3 senior duo of Jarod Hamlin and Dre Shores.

Hamlin was first-team All-MBC and was named the Division IV District 15 Underclassman of the Year after averaging 14.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Shores missed most of the season with an injury, but in 12 games, he averaged 12.9 points and 8 rebounds.

“I have been very impressed with senior leadership and how quickly some are starting to understand the system,” Crider said. “It is exciting to see our identity taking shape this early.”

Hamlin and Shores should get some help from a group of returning role players that includes 6-0 junior Jackson Ottke, who averaged 3.7 points in 19 games last year. Sophomore C.J. Money, senior Jonah Crawford and senior Koen Yee also have some varsity experience.

“While incorporating new concepts both offensively and defensively, my season expectation is for them to improve and understand the game better every day,” Crider said. “Having installed this system before, I have been very pleased how quickly they are understanding the key points to it. Coach (Eric) Gwinn did a great job infusing sound fundamentals into the program.”


Crider admits the journey into the MBC will be a new one for him, but he has an idea of what the Eagles will face on a nightly basis.

“I’m fully expecting a very well-coached league with a lot of talent,” Crider said.

The Eagles will begin their season at Bradford on Dec. 1.


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