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Lafayette having ‘productive Summer’ with first-year coach Brad Gray

The winds of change hit the Lafayette boy’s basketball program earlier this spring with the announcement of John Sherman hanging up the whistle and retiring.

It opened the door for a new coach to take over a Commodores’ program that was in need of reviving. Senatobia’s Brad Gray became that coach.

Lafayette athletic director Greg Lewis tabbed Gray to take over the team in early April. Gray did not take long to begin getting to know his team.

Once Senatobia’s baseball season concluded Gray started driving to Lafayette a couple days a week.

“We’ve been fairly busy,” Gray said. “I was just doing individual practices and workouts with guys that were in the gym. It started as a part-time role at the end of April, first of May.”

Once June rolled around Gray was full-time with Lafayette. Since then they have been competing in a summer league with DeSoto County schools. Joining the Commodores and Jaguars in the league is Horn Lake, Southaven and Hernando. They play on Tuesdays and Wednesday and Lafayette has already racked up 20-plus junior varsity and varsity games combined.

“So far we’ve had a fairly productive summer,” Gray said. “We got a lot of games in. …the (coaches) are trying to mimic the Jackson Public Schools’ summer league that way they won’t have to do a lot of traveling. Getting some good competition.”

It is his first full month as the Commodores’ head coach and with that comes with having to remember there will be what Gray calls ‘growing pains.’ With five months until the regular season begins in earnest there is plenty of time for the comfort level to between players and coach to get where it needs to be.

“It’s different,” Gray said. “It’s one of those where it’s going to take the guys a little while to get used to me and I guess my personality and how I do things. Likewise, it’s going to take me  awhile to adjust to them and get used to them. Right now we’re still in the honeymoon period where we’re still getting to know one another.”

There has been positive progress made trying to turn the Lafayette program around back to their winning ways. But there are also stumbles in the road, including Tuesday where the Commodores lost 42-28 to DeSoto Central at Horn Lake High School.

There is another week or so of summer games to be played before Gray will give the team most of July off before school resumes in August.