BOYS BASKETBALL: Kelso gets Waterford Kettering moving in the right direction
WATERFORD – Compiling an overall record of 7-33, 1-19 in the KLAA North in the previous two years, over last offseason the Waterford Kettering boys basketball program went in search of new sideline general that would turn the Captains’ ship around..
Enter Ben Kelso.
Kelso, who won three straight state titles at Detroit Cooley from 1987-89, accepted the head coaching position with the Captains over the summer with the hopes of sparking a rejuvenation.
So far, so good.
While Kelso’s first season with Kettering is still in the early stages, the Captains are off to a 6-2 start, fresh off back-to-back wins over conference foes Walled Lake Central (55-48) and Walled Lake Western (71-40), two teams expected to finish near the top of the KLAA North.
“I think you have to have the right attitude from the kids themselves in order to start to believe,” Kelso said. “In the beginning, they fought some things, but as time has gone on, they’ve started to believe in the system we have. We had a number of kids quit, we had a lot of kids who were on the team last year and decided that they didn’t want to work and do those kinds of things and those kids quit. These kids that stayed have worked their way and bought into what we’re trying to do and that’s what’s making the difference, it’s the kids themselves.”
The Captains started the season on a high-note, topping Birmingham Groves in the opener and after losing the second game of the year to West Bloomfield, Kettering got back on the right foot with wins over Hartland and Milford.
Anchoring Kettering’s hardwood assault this year is a nice mix of natural athletes and gritty role players, a number of which were on the Captains football squad back in the fall that qualified for only the second postseason appearance in school history.
Forwards Kakaun Williams and Noah Stinson are the go-to guys on offense. Jonny Scarber and Juan Webb are a pesky pair in the backcourt and Jake Netschke has been a pleasant surprise. Netschke netted 16 points in the Captains 31-point drubbing of Western last week.
Scarber, the team’s point guard, said that in just the short amount of time Kelso has been the sideline general for the Captains, he’s made a big difference.
“I think he’s helped change a lot,” he said. “He’s disciplined us a lot. He may scream and yell, but he’s getting us disciplined and we’re getting the message really quick.”
Even Kelso hismelf admits to being a little shocked at his win-total so far.
“I am surprised myself that we have done as well as we have,” he said. "I’m new, so I don’t know this league that well. I know there are a lot of really good coaches though. Hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing."
Prior to landing at Kettering, Kelso had been at Southfield, Detroit Central and Detroit Mumford in the years since he departed Cooley.
As a player, Kelso was a star in college at Central Michigan and played in the NBA.