Jason Patterson has an impossible job, and he loves it.
The new Mammoth Huskies boys basketball coach has nine freshmen, three sophomores, no juniors, two seniors and no victories in its first 10 games.
Another coach might want to jump overboard with a situation like this, but not Patterson.
“Basketball is my love,” he said. “It’s been a great blessing to be here with these guys this year.”
A native of a small town in Washington, Patterson said he comes to coaching by way of his dad, who coached just about everything there was to coach.
“We were a very small high school,” Patterson said “He coached volleyball, baseball, soccer and football. He coached everything, but basketball was his main sport.”
Last fall, Patterson resigned his position from the Sierra Meadows Ranch Station Camp to help football coach Tom Gault rebuild the Huskies, then took the basketball position when it opened.
He got a very inexperienced team.
“The hardest thing with coaching basketball is that there’s a flow to the game, and it’s hard to teach that.
“If you grow up playing against older guys, you pick up on that. But if you’re just thrown out there, and we have a lot of young kids right now, it’s hard for them to pick up on the flow of the game and the rhythm of the game.
“But every week, they’re getting a lot better at it.”
It has not been enough to be on the short end of some humbling results.
The Huskies lost to Lee Vining, 52-9, and then got mashed, 62-13, at Boron and 57-15 at Bishop.
Patterson is a tough guy – in college, he played varsity football at Central Washington – and is imbuing his players with toughness and optimism as much as he can.
“This year, we’re not going to be super competitive,” he said.
“These are 14- and 15-year-olds playing against 18-year-olds, and that’s very tough. But this isn’t a one-year thing. It’s a long-range project.
“I would say in two years we’re going to be pretty good. The sophomores this year will be seniors in two years. They’re great hustling players – the glue guys who keep the team together.
“The freshmen are very talented and I could see them doing some great things even next year. In two years we’ll be able to compete for a playoff spot, for sure.
“This year is about having fun and getting better. A lot of the guys have never had any kind of structured coaching.”