Q&A: Fort Mill Coach Bailey Jackson

Fort Mill head boys basketball coach Bailey Jackson lead his team to the AAAA state championship last year. With a great deal of his players back this year and a 23-1 record we caught up with Jackson to talk about it all in this Q&A. It would appear that Fort Mill is primed to defend their title and make a run back to Columbia. Come inside for the details.

Q&A Bailey Jackson
Fort Mill Boys Basketball Head Coach

KF: Talk about last year's state championship. It's every coach's dream and describe how it felt to win it all.
BJ: Winning the State Championship last year was an unbelievable experience and we certainly beat some quality teams along the way. At times, I still can't believe that we did that but at the same time that is all those kids talked about from 9-12 grade. They were determined to win and they played great team basketball. We have tried to instill in our players that hard work, effort, and teamwork can go a long way.

KF: Your team is heading towards the playoffs and appears primed at another run towards Columbia. Is it tough to try and keep your players even keeled to practice hard everyday so that they come prepared for each game?
BJ: These guys want to win and they are willing to prepare for every game because they know everyone will be shooting for us. Thanks to last year we have the target on our backs. These players were all told that we would not be as good this year as last so they have really used that as motivation.

KF: What is the difference between this year's team and last year's squad?
BJ: We are much bigger at the guard positions and much stronger in the post this year. We probably do not play half court defense or offense as well as last year either but we are capable of shooting the three, scoring in transition, or scoring inside.

KF: What game so far this year do you think has been the toughest for your team, and why?
BJ: It is hard to say one game but we have had a few quality wins this season that were tough. The Wilson game at Hilton Head really showed me a lot about this team. We were down 8 going into the fourth quarter and were really not playing well. We outscored them 27-4 in the fourth and won easily. We also showed a lot of toughness defeating Pinewood Prep, South Pointe, and Northwestern.

KF: Talk about Chalmers Rogers in terms of his abilities on the basketball court.
BJ: Chalmers is a great kid and truly understands the game of basketball. He has been well schooled here and in his AAU experiences. He can score with his back to the basket or on the perimeter. Chalmers has really developed into our leader and has even been more vocal. In four years, I am not sure that I have raised my voice at Chalmers for not going hard or taking a play off. When I challenge him to toughen up or play stronger, he always responds.

KF: What should college coaches know about Chalmers that would make them realize he can be a valuable asset to their respective programs?
BJ: He has a great family, makes great grades, and is a great human being. Any teacher at our school would say the same thing about him. If I were a college coach, I would have to look at those qualities along with his ability to play the game and the fact that he comes from a successful HS program that has played on some big stages before.

NOTE: Fort Mill suffered their only loss of the season during their last game against rivals South Pointe. They are set to defend their AAAA state championship when they host Spartanburg during the first round of the AAAA Upper State playoffs on Wednesday night at 7 pm. All-State players C/PF Chalmers Rogers and C/PF Omar Sanders will be battling it out so get there early and enjoy the action! Stay tuned!

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