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Leaving in the legacies

By Tori Beechum Carl Albert High School Published: May 11, 2009
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Late in blowout wins, some high school sports coaches choose to leave star players in the game instead of playing little-used substitutes. Others prefer to use late-game situations as practice, trying different combinations of players and plays.


But on the team that keeps its stars in the game, some players who rarely see playing time may think players whose elder siblings or parents had storied athletic careers get more opportunities from coaches. One Oklahoma coaching legend says coaches are put in tough spots, and the right answer isn’t clear-cut.

“(Some) coaches want to secure the win and to do this they play the better players,” Billy Tubbs, former University of Oklahoma men’s basketball coach, told Hot Ink. “I believe high school coaches are doing a wonderful job in teaching kids how to play the game of basketball, but what they [coaches] should keep in mind is that no matter if they have legendary star athletes on their squad, they need to create a close bond with every player on the team. Teams are like another family.”

Heritage Hall High School’s Barry Sanders Jr., a freshman football player and son of former Oklahoma State University and NFL star Barry Sanders Sr., said his coaches don’t treat him differently because of his lineage.

“Our coaches actually use us the whole team and let players have a fair amount of playing time,” he said.

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