PREP BASKETBALL: ‘Basketball season is always special in Cold Springs’: Zane Brown talks junior season

Cold Springs’ Zane Brown. (Courtesy of Zane Brown)

BREMEN, Ala. – Last season was another fun one for the Cold Springs Eagles and they finished the year strong. Junior Zane Brown talked about all he learned during the season and what he has taken away from his time on varsity so far.

“Last season was a growing year for us. We lost a lot of seasoned guys, and we got off to a rough start to the season, but late in the season, I think we started to get it going. We turned into a really tough team to play at home. We thrived on our own floor. It wasn’t the most successful year in terms of the win column, but we grew a lot as a team. I think we definitely will work to get things back on track for this upcoming year,” Brown said. “It’s been such an awesome experience. We’re super lucky to have such a rich basketball history at Cold Springs, so getting to just be a part of it has been amazing. Getting to play for coach Tim Willoughby and learn under him is something I’ll cherish forever.

He added,

“I’ve learned so much, both on and off the floor. I’ve been blessed to have some amazing teammates through the years as well. Getting to learn the ropes from guys like Brody Peppers, Seth Williams, Tanner Kilgo, and Cody Bales was so beneficial to me as a player and person. I’ve learned a lot on the court. I’ve learned to play a lot smarter and I’m fully grasping what the mentality needs to be in order to win. Through the years, I’ve also learned how to lead, take responsibility, and hold both myself and my teammates accountable.”

Zane soaked up as much as he could from coach Willoughby, plus he talked about what it has been like to play with some great players last season.

“He was amazing. I’ve yet to find anyone as passionate as he is. His intensity and love for the game was just undeniable. Just being around him brought out a different kind of will to succeed and do things the right way. He taught me a lot both as a player and a young man. He led by example, willing to do whatever it took to improve,” he said. “I learned so much about the game from him. He has an analytical gift for basketball. He can spout off statistics for what seems like an eternity. There is no one smarter as far as the game goes. His resilience and pride are two things that I will definitely try to emulate in my career and life.”

He added,

“It was a great experience. Basketball season is always special in Cold Springs. Our community really shows out during that time of year. We learned a lot about each other last season. I think we all worked hard and took steps to really improve. We had a great group of seniors. I’ll always love those guys. They were a very skilled group that brought a lot of fun to the game. They taught me a lot about leading and owning up to mistakes. Playing with them definitely made me into a better player.”

Zane will work on some things to get ready for next season and talked about his and the team goals as well.

“I’m definitely going to be in the gym this offseason. I want to improve my athleticism and add some size to help when finishing around the basket. I’m also going to put a lot of work into my shot and really try to increase my shooting percentage from behind the three-point line,” he said. “We definitely want to win more games. We really want to uphold the high standard we have here in Cold Springs and do right by our community. We want to be a hard-working, competitive team next year. If we can simply improve and be better than we were last year, success will follow.”

Zane talked about what will make this team special to watch next season, plus some of his role models growing up, and the best advice that he was ever given.

“I think our competitiveness and passion will make us special. We’re going to work hard and lay it all out to try and win,” he said. “Coming up through our program, I always looked up to Roberto Ayala and Seth Williams. Those two were guys who never played for stats or accolades. They worked hard and just made winning basketball plays. The best advice I’ve been given has got to be from coach Willoughby. He always told us that, ‘A man who assumes success is bound to achieve it.’ It means going about things the right way, and doing things with the right intention will lead you where you want to be.”

Zane talked about his favorite coach Willoughby moments, plus some memorable memories while playing for him.

“Some of my favorite coach Willoughby moments were definitely his antics on the bench. It often felt like he was outworking everyone on the floor, jumping, yelling, and gesturing his way through games. Despite all of that, I never once saw him break a sweat. I also always enjoyed the film sessions. Seeing his meticulous eye for tendencies and schemes was breathtaking. He was an amazing strategist with the basketball genius to match.”

He added,

“Winning an area championship is definitely at the top of the list. That experience was incredible. I’ll always fondly remember preparation for big games- watching film and working in practice- and just how much fun it was to see all that time pay off. Beating Locust Fork last year at home is also pretty high, just the exciting back-and-forth atmosphere and getting to cap it off with a buzzer-beating layup. That was scored on a play we practiced every day for moments like that.”

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