Chisum boys basketball team in Waco

The Chisum High School boys varsity basketball team stopped at the Magnolia Silos during their trip to Waco to watch the Baylor University men’s basketball team’s shoot-around and conference game against UT.

WACO — It’s always good to learn and perfect your craft from people who do the same thing you’re doing, especially when they are better or have more experience. The Chisum Mustangs boys varsity basketball team did just that when they took a trip down south.

The Mustangs basketball team ventured three hours south to Baylor University in Waco to watch the Baylor men’s basketball team go through its shoot-around preceding the Bears’ game against their Big 12 Conference rival Longhorns from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Mustangs squad took vans down to Waco and sat in on Baylor’s 1:30 p.m. shoot-around  Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center before the Bear’s game against UT, which was on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. that night. Following the shoot-around , the team coaches and chaperones went to eat at one of Waco’s most popular restaurants in George’s. After that, the Mustangs went to the Magnolia Silos, made famous by Baylor alums and former Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, until tip off was closer.

The team then made its way to the Ferrell Center and watched the Bears take down the Longhorns 59-44 in the Ferrell Center in front of a good home crowd, featuring a fan making a full-court golf putt for the first time in 16 years in a special giveaway from the school during a timeout. Chisum’s hoops team capped off the night with a trip to Raising Cane’s chicken and Andy’s Custard before the trek back to Paris.

The team’s head basketball coach Brian Temple reached out to Baylor’s basketball program wanting to enhance his own knowledge of the game for his team, and in return got even more than he bargained for.

“Last spring, I reached out to Coach (Jerome) Tang at Baylor and was asking questions about defensive philosophy along with some of the other things they did,” Chisum head basketball coach Brian Temple said. “They were really nice, welcomed me in and let me watch practice. After it was all over, they invited me to come watch a game, which was pretty cool. For the kids to be able to come and have a team-bonding experience like this that very few players in the state or nation get to do — getting to watch a shoot-around, practice and meet players and coaches — it’s pretty fantastic.”

Seeing the game and watching Baylor practice was beneficial for both players and coach alike.

“It was a good day, and I think I learned some new moves watching them during the shoot-around,” Chisum senior Trenton Tyler said. “I liked how they used the pads down low on the post moves to help them play through contact.”

“Watching competition at that level, you’re going to gain some knowledge,” Temple. “Being able to have resources like a Division I coaching staff is awesome for a guy that coaches 3A basketball in Texas.”

The Bears coaching staff noticed Temple’s passion for his program, to grow as a coach and for his players, making it an easy decision to make the trip to Waco possible.

“Coach (Brian) Temple did a great job this summer wanting his team be the best they can be,” Baylor men’s basketball assistant coach Jerome Tang said. “He came up on his own time, asked to study the program and what we did offensively and defensively. He talked about some of his teams, watched some workouts and he and his staff have put in a lot of energy into what was going to happen this season for he and his guys.

We have a lot of great high school coaches in the state of Texas, and Coach Temple is definitely one of them. He asked about bringing his guys here about having the experience of seeing what it looks like, and we were more than happy to welcome them here. We’ve had other teams come here, but I haven’t seen a coach more passionate about his team than Brian.”

Some of his players came from different schools previously, and getting to come together for an opportunity like this was something that won’t be taken for granted both for the knowledge gained and memories made.

“Coming from a small town school, we never got to really do much,” Mustangs senior Gideon Newman said. “Now getting to a bigger school, there are more opportunities to do things like this. I made a lot of good friends, have gotten to hang out with them and now get to watch college basketball with them. It’s a really good opportunity. I learned a lot from watching them practice and play.”

Temple sees the excursion to Waco doing a lot for his team both helping them form strong bonds together off the court and to get more in sync on the court with the most important stretch of the regular season underway.

“This is my fourth year here at Chisum, and this group really seems like a special group,” Temple said. “They have bonded even with new kids coming from different schools, but it seems like they’ve played together their whole lives. They’re not only starting to bond off the court, but it seems like they’re starting to gel on the court, and it can be a dangerous thing as we get going with district.”

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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