It’s fitting that coach Colin Darfour brings snacks to practice, because Legacy was so close to state last year, they could taste it. The Longhorns suffered a heartbreaking 3 overtime playoff loss last season, as a combination of missed layups and tough calls kept them one game short of a trip to Thomas and Mack.
“We didn’t deserve it, the basketball gods were going to make us earn that one, and the basketball gods helped us to learn a lesson through that.– Colin Darfour
While a loss like that would demoralize some programs, it has only served to bring the Longhorns closer together. A lot of that bond starts with the selflessness of their leader who puts the blame for the defeat squarely on his shoulders.
“I could say hey guys a lot of that game is my fault. I wasn’t as hard on them as I could have been throughout the whole year”.
In the 2023-24 campaign, being hard on them won’t be an issue for the coach. Today, the Longhorns compete in several toughness drills, including a brutal interior drill, designed to sharpen their mental and physical edge. In an ironic twist, last year’s heartbreak has provided the coach with confidence and his team with comfort in his style.
“It’s disappointing when you work so hard, and get a game away from state and you’re not able to complete the job, but you can see that we have a lot of buy-in and they know that we play a winning style of basketball”– Coach Darfour
That winning style is built around tempo, shooting, and most importantly defense.
“It’s defense our full court defense, all of our defensive schemes”. We like the three, but our barometer for success is how we defend”.– Coach Darfour
This year’s success will depend a lot on the play of Point Guard Antonio Burns a two-year starter, with major toughness and a knack for scoring the basketball in the paint.
” When he gets to the basket he scores it over trees and doesn’t use a floater often”. Everyday, he produces a wow moment”.– Coach Darfour
Burns will be surrounded by two players who have raised their games to new heights. D’anthony Rabb is a scintillating 6’6 former post player who has stretched his game out to the perimeter. Rahjon Chambers has a chance to be one of the most improved players in the state, as the senior guard has transformed himself from a standstill shooter to an above-the-rim athlete, and high IQ PG.
“When the games get tight, Rahjon is the one figuring it out for us”. “His IQ has improved to the point that he knows what I want in certain situations”.– Coach Darfour
In keeping with the theme of development, guard AJ Duke has added to his game. The junior guard is a microwave-type scorer capable of being one of the top 6th men in 4A. Senior guard Jacob Bey will add depth, and perimeter defense to the squad. Perhaps the centerpiece of the team is a new player, who only ends up on the roster because of the coach’s willingness to perform his teaching duties.
“We had an Informational Night at the school”. I didn’t care to go, but it’s mandatory, and I’m glad I did.”– Coach Darfour
It was during that Informational Night that the coach would be introduced to Maven Bell Toleafoq, a 6’5 forward from Alaska. The rugged post was exactly what Legacy needed, and the final piece to a championship core, the coach has been building for 3 seasons.
“From Day 1 he showed that he can play. He’s a true post, he has footwork, he can pass out of double teams, and the crazy thing is last year was his first year of organized basketball”. He’s a great post, and a great addition, he’s a godsend, we got lucky.”– Coach Darfour
Nothing wrong with a little luck in Vegas, and the Longhorns will look to parlay, a tough playoff loss, improved talent, and a gift from the gods, into reaching the coach’s expectations.
“I expect us to win a state championship this year”.– Coach Darfour
Bruce Williams is an NCAA Certified Scout who covers basketball in Nevada.
He is a UNLV Insider for the Runnin Rebel Report.