To the Gold Rush, the season isn’t just the wins or losses.
“It’s all about the journey,” says Gold Rush head coach, Dannton Jackson.
The Gold Rush get up working hard every day. They prepare for every team, every situation. They play hard every game, and of course they want the wins more than the losses, but it’s still about the journey once the buzzer sounds.
“The journey is what we enjoy.”
Getting to the NAIA tournament hosted in Kansas City, Mo., hasn’t been easy. However, junior Morris Wright says the Rush are confident for their tournament play. The Rush will play in the first round at 4:30 March 19.
The Regular Season
The Gold Rush finished 24-9 overall and 11-3 in the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference. They are ranked No. 2 in the GCAC and No. 19 nationally.
This season, the Rush had three All-GCAC selections. Wright was selected first team All-GCAC and led the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. Wright also received GCAC player of the week awards three times this season (Nov. 17, Dec. 22, and Feb. 9). Senior Sydney Coleman was selected to the second team All-GCAC and lead the team in field goal percentage, shooting 64.3 percent. He also is second in rebounds per game with 5.2. Senior Anthony Goode made second team All-GCAC while averaging 12.9 points per game and making 60 three-pointers.
A team that prides itself on defensive energy, the Rush were able to hold opponents to an average score of 63.5 points while scoring 69.9 points themselves. At the Crosstown Classic, the Rush were able to hold Dillard to 41 points—the least amount of points scored by a Rush opponent this season. On Oct. 31, 2014, the Rush scored a season high 98 points in a home game against Carter.
“I thought we had an unbelievable season. To finish second in the conference with the injuries we’ve had—some season ending, some guys just being out—and be ranked in the country all year long is definitely a testament to how hard they worked. I’m real proud of the season, real proud of the guys,” said Jackson.
The Rush are resilient.
“We have a saying that at the beginning of the season there are three things that can hold us back: one is attitude, one is academics, and one is the injuries,” Jackson said.
Although the Rush lost sophomore Lucas Martin-Julien to injury for the season and had several players missing games or playing with injuries, the Rush have been resilient. They have not lost more than two games in a row, and from Jan. 10 to Feb. 5, the Rush had an eight game winning streak.
Off Court Success
Fans judge success by wins, losses and highlight plays. When the players are suited up in their home whites or away golds, the only success for the fans is adding another ‘w’ in the win-loss column. However, success is much more than winning a game to Jackson.
“The biggest thing I’m proud of is just how much community service our guys have done,” he said.
The Rush have participated in much community service this season. Warm Hands, Warm Hearts, feeding the homeless, and mentoring young people are just a few of the things the Rush have participated in.
Jackson does admit that the Rush are still proud of what they do on the court.
“Everybody always looks at the basketball games as the wins and losses, but I think that developing the young men to being able to be productive citizens to be servant leaders is the best thing,” Jackson adds.
On-court success is still important, though, and the Rush plan to improve there, too.
Next season, the Rush will be without seniors Goode and Coleman.
“I will miss them [the players] the most,” said Goode. “They’re like my brothers.”
Goode contributed 12.9 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 42 percent from the three point line. He also shot 88 percent from the free throw line. Coleman contributed 12.1 points per game while shooting 64 percent from the floor and averaging 5.2 rebounds per game also.
“We got some big shoes to fill. We’re losing Anthony Goode, who is an all-conference player, and we’re losing Sydney Coleman, who is a big anchor in the middle,” Jackson said.
The Rush will improve their current roster by bettering current players and by recruiting new players, Jackson said.
The returning Rush are continuing to get better every day, Jackson said. During the summer, the Rush will participate in an individual improvement program to enhance their skills and prepare them for the 2015-16 season.