Tim Barada is a basketball junkie. Has been since day one. So after five seasons of being an assistant in the Lincoln Southwest girls basketball program, it’ll be a great feeling to slide back into the head coach’s seat following the retirement of Jeff Rump.
“It’s exciting, I’m not gonna lie,” Barada said. “We had a great run working together, coach Rump and I.”
Southwest announced Barada accepted the head coaching role on Tuesday. Being a head coach won’t be a new experience for Barada, who grew up in Fremont, played a couple seasons of basketball at Hastings College and was the head coach of the Wilber-Clatonia boys for 17 years prior to moving to Lincoln.
Family and relationships — especially with his former players — mean a great deal to Barada, who got to coach his two daughters, Alex and Emerson, on the 2016-17 Southwest team that won the Class A state championship.
“That’s one of the neatest things about coaching in general — the relationships you build,” he said. “I still get baby announcements and wedding invitations and things like that.”
Inside a basketball program, Barada likes the “Culture Wins” phrase. That’s something that both he and Rump worked to develop during their time together. Now that Rump has moved on, Barada is hoping to continue the success the Silver Hawks have seen.
“The good thing is they already know the expectations of what everything’s supposed to look like,” Barada said. “The thing that will be really fun for me getting back into the first chair is being able to put my stamp on things, to make some tweaks and adjustments and see if we can turn it up one more notch.”
Buy-in is important in a program. Players need to believe in what the coach wants to accomplish, and how they intend to do it. Barada and Rump enjoyed a lot of buy-in from their players over the years.
But Rump also believed in Barada and his ability to coach basketball. One could say Barada specializes in teaching defense, so Rump gave him a lot of freedom in that area. During Barada’s five seasons as an assistant he handled the defense, leading drills in practice and making calls and adjustments during games.
That can only happen if the head coach believes in the assistant.
“He (Rump) had full trust in me, which is a blessing as a coach because as an assistant you want to do what the head coach wants, and he trusted the things I was telling him,” Barada said. “So we rolled with it and were a pretty good one-two combo I thought.”
The players Southwest has coming back already understand what Barada wants to do, and how he plans to execute it. Defense holds a special place in Barada’s basketball heart, and he talks about it with a certain passion.
“Our goal is to make things miserable, and make whoever has the basketball want to get rid of it — you have that every time you get off the bus,” Barada said. “You may not always have your jump shot and your offense might not always be great every night, but if you can defend and make life hard for the other team, you’re going to have a shot to win.”
Barada and Rump’s philosophies aligned with wanting their players to be involved in different sports throughout the year, too. They believe that not only will that help the success of the girls basketball program, but Southwest athletics across the board.
“I’d like to be able to take that with our kids coming back and give them the latitude to go be the athletes that they are,” Barada said. “We have some really good basketball players, but we have some really good athletes that are involved in a lot of sports. I want multisport kids. I would rather have a kid who’s out for volleyball or cross country or golf in the fall rather than a kid who wants to spend four nights in the gym.”
No doubt about it, Barada wants his team to be defensive-minded, like it has been recently. But strong defense can trigger offense, too, and the transition game will be an important piece. Barada said Southwest has a good mix of inside and outside production returning and wants to implement some read-and-react sets so his players can use their basketball IQ, which he says is quite high.
“First and foremost we want our kids to share the basketball because that makes you the best possible group,” he said. “If they can share the basketball and be a great teammate, the offense just kind of runs on its own. If we can do that we’ll have a lot of success.”
Senior-to-be Freddie Wallace will be the most experienced interior player for Southwest next season after averaging eight points and five rebounds this past season as a junior. Junior-to-be Alexa Gobel got a lot of reps in the rotation as a sophomore and has a bright future, too.
Taryn Ling and McKenna Rathburn are a couple senior-to-be guards who Barada is excited about. They’ve been rotation players for two years now and have really bought in to what the program is about.
Trumyne Lee is a player who will likely see her minutes increase in her senior campaign next season. Junior-to-be Brinly Christensen is a player who can play and guard multiple positions and has a knack for scoring the ball. Aniya Seymore played as a freshman, but wasn’t able to go this past season due to a knee injury from soccer.
“She’s (Seymore) gonna be champing at the bit because she got a taste of it as a freshman and then had to sit and watch last year, which makes it really hard,” Barada said. “But she’s a kid who I think will be a surprise for a lot of people.”
Then there’s the point guard in Kennadi Williams, daughter of Husker women’s hoops coach Amy Williams. Kennadi averaged nine points and nearly three steals per game in her first high school season.
“Starting a freshman point guard in Class A usually isn’t a good idea, however, we have an awfully good one in Kennadi because she’s such a competitor and understands what we wanted to do on both sides of the court,” Barada said. “She distributes, can score the ball. We just have a lot of really good pieces to the puzzle coming back.”
Good pieces, and a long-time head coach who’s back in command.