Thursday, March 26, 2009
We had the privilege of catching up with Word of God's Head Coach Levi Beckwith earlier this week. This was Beckwith's third season with Word of God and any head coach would dream to have the first three years that he has had. In his initial 2006-07 campaign he led the Holy Rams to the NCISA 1-A State Title with a 27-3 record. The 2007-08 season was another year of etching a few marks in the record books. Word of God won the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, which made them the first team from North Carolina to do so since 1989. The Holy Rams also took home the State Title in a dynasty esque back-to-back manner. This year Coach Beckwith boasted the #1 player in the nation-John Wall-and he took the Holy Rams back to the State Title game for the third straight season. The only thing that could deny the Holy Rams a three-peat was a controversial buzzer-beating three point shot by United Faith (which should not have counted). Coach Beckwith's coaching record speaks for itself and I'm glad we have a coach of his class embedded in the heart of Raleigh. In our conversation with Coach we covered topics including Bishop Daniels, C.J. Leslie, Dezmine Wells, and of course John Wall.
WolfpackHoops: Tell us a little bit about Bishop Daniels.
Beckwith: Bishop is a real good athlete. In fact he is one of the, if not the most athletic guard in the state as a sophomore. It says something about him as a player to come on to a team full of Division-I upperclassmen and accept his role and fit in. The AAU season is coming up and Bishop will be playing some point. The AAU season is a good chance for players to work on things.
WolfpackHoops: How is Bishop's jump shot?
Beckwith: For a sophomore Bishop has a really good jump shot. How good can a high quality player shoot as a sophomore? A lot of players are great shooters but that is all they can do. As a coach I like to see players developed into all-around players.
WolfpackHoops: When we watch C.J. Leslie we feel like we are watching a younger Kevin Garnett? Does C.J. pattern his game after him?
Beckwith: Actually, C.J. will be doing something in practice and he will say "That's how Kevin would do it." C.J. can actually do things in the open court that Kevin can't do. I'm not saying that he is as good as Kevin, I'm just pointing out C.J.'s versatility. I have been criticized for letting C.J. dribble as much as he does. How many kids do you know at his height that can handle the ball like he can?
WolfpackHoops: Obviously hearing about C.J.'s decommitment from State was not the news we were hoping to hear last week. Can you shed any light on the situation?
Beckwith: He just wants to look at different schools, but NC State is still a big player.
WolfpackHoops: We know the Pack has also shown interest in Dezmine Wells. Tell us a little bit about him.
Beckwith: Dezmine is a basketball player. He is such a valuable player because his game is so complete. He is kind of a 'tweener.' He reminds me a lot of P.J. Tucker who I coached a couple years ago. P.J. might have had a better post game but Dezmine has a better jump shot.
WolfpackHoops: What has it been like coaching John Wall?
Beckwith: It has been great coaching John. Anytime you get to coach a talent like John it is a privilege. Everyone at Word of God are proud everytime we hear people talk about him. I'm proud to know that I have had an impact on his life on and off the court.
WolfpackHoops: We have heard that John might commit at the Jordan Brand Classic. What do you think?
Beckwith: Spring signing period begins on the 14th and the Jordan Brand Classic is on the 18th. I wouldn't be surprised to see John wait until after both of those dates. He isn't in a rush.
We are very grateful for Coach Beckwith's time and we look forward to talking with him again in the future as we track C.J. Leslie, Bishop Daniels, and Dezmine Wells next season. We hope to see Coach Beckwith have continued success and continue to bring Pack recruits through his prestigious program.