When the Gold Rush take the court, their success is not measured by wins or losses, but the “process,” according to head coach, Dannton Jackson.
“Success is where we started and where we end up,” said Jackson.
A perfectly-scripted practice led the Gold Rush to runnerup in the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference, a trip to the NAIA tournament, and a 24-10 overall record in the 2014-15 season. A season that was more successful than the previous years, said Jackson.
If hustle had a sound, it would sound like a Gold Rush practice. The cacophony of basketball shoes on the court, the ball swishing through the net, and a crescendo of synchronized voices blend together to make something beautiful—their growth.
Besides practice, the Gold Rush can boast about something new and exciting that will add to their team, and make this year even more successful: the return of veteran player Lucas Martin-Julien and the new recruits.
“Lucas is, first of all, an unbelievable player, and also an unbelievable leader. We welcome his leadership this year,” said Jackson. “Him coming back will be great for us.”
The recruits are as follows: Leland Alexander; Elex Carter; Seth Jackson; Kevin Murph; and Chris Ward.
According to Jackson, Alexander and Murph have a lot to bring to the team such as perimeter shooting and ballhandling. Jackson also cited their height as an asset, which he hopes will disrupt their opponents.
Carter and Ward are “hardnosed,” tough, and bouncy players; whereas, Seth brings experience, athleticism, and toughness from his previous basketball team, the Baton Rouge Community College Bears, that will give the Gold Rush the depth they need at the guard position, said Jackson.
Returning this year are seniors RJ Daniels, Charles Savoy, Gary Smith, Jarvis Thibodeaux, and Morris Wright; junior Wesley Pluvioise-Philips; and sophomore Lucas MartinJulien. New to the team is Innocent Kukulu.
This season will be a season of change, and not just with the Gold Rush team. The shot clock will be decreased from 35 seconds to 30 seconds, and the referees will be calling more hand checks; something the Rush will have to get adjusted to.
“Most people think it’s about basketball, winning games, winning championships, but it’s really about developing young people,” said Jackson.
To develop his players, Jackson and team participate in community service. To date, the Gold Rush have visited the courthouse to see Calvin Johnson; attended XUPD’s awareness event, “Night Against Crime,” at the Gert Town Community Center; and visited local schools to encourage the students—but it doesn’t stop there.
“In our storage, we have about two pallets of toys ready to go to Children’s Hospital. One group is dropping off some toys so we can play with it and show kids how to play with it before Christmas,” said Jackson.
The Gold Rush season kicks off Oct. 29 in the Convocation Center at 7 p.m. against Webber International. The upcoming home games are Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.; Nov. 7 at 4 p.m.; and Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.
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