In this week’s coaching conversation, Jackson State head coach Tomekia Reed joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights into building belief, relationships and defense that wins.
In four seasons as head coach, Tomekia Reed has led Jackson State University women’s basketball to the top of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
She has guided JSU to four consecutive berths in the SWAC Tournament semifinals (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), three straight berths in the conference tournament finals (2019, 2021, 2022 after 2020 tournament canceled), three straight SWAC regular season titles (2020, 2021, 2022), and two straight SWAC tournament titles and NCAA appearances (2021, 2022). In making the program’s second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and the first as a #14 seed, Jackson State led in the fourth quarter in nearly achieving an historic tournament win over #3 LSU.
In April 2022, Ameshya Williams-Holliday became the first Jackson State player to be selected in the WNBA Draft, as Williams-Holliday was the 25th overall pick by the Indiana Fever. Williams-Hollliday was the first player chosen from an HBCU in 20 years and became only the sixth player drafted from an HBCU.
The mark of 23 wins in 2021-22 is the highest in program history, including an historic 18-0 record in SWAC play, surpassing a program best 16 wins in 2020. JSU won 21 consecutive games in calendar year 2022, the longest streak in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament.
Reed came to Jackson State following a successful three-year stint as coach of the Hinds Community College women’s basketball team. Hinds CC won a combined 47 games under Reed, including consecutive winning seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Reed led Hinds CC to the NJCAA Region 23 title game in 2017.
Reed also had assistant coach stops at Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, and New Orleans, serving as recruiting coordinator at each school during her respective stints. She has assisted in bringing several high-ranking recruiting classes, including the 2014 class at Louisiana Tech, which garnered a national Top 50 ranking and was the second-highest ranked class in Conference USA.
Tomekia Reed Coach Quotes:
“We’re constantly showing them [the players] what their strengths are. If you can get people to focus on what they’re good at, that changes the whole dynamic. Now, you can start looking at their weaknesses to help them be a total, better overall player.”
“The things that are most important are the things that we have, and that we try to help our players get better with. Our resources are very limited. But I tell my players all the time, that means you have to work harder.”
“One trait that I carried over into being a head coach is having that player/coach relationship; you can talk to me, we can have fun. I’ve been a recruiting coordinator at all my stops. So, you have to be that type of person, and I didn’t want to lose that trait when I became a head coach, I still wanted to have an open door, I still wanted to get to practice early.”
“[The relationship] is really important. Because when I get on them, I need them to respond and not get upset. Understand that if I get on you, the reason is I want the very best from you.”
“I just want to be able to implement a system where everybody can be successful. A lot of times, it’s fun to start on the defensive side.”
“You have to embrace the fact that in order to achieve something great, you’re going to have some forces coming against you. And you can’t allow it to get to you. You can’t let small things get to you when you accomplish greater things.”
“I call this my board training. So, I’ll draw the play up, and they have to go execute it. So now, I see who can properly look at a board and take it to the floor and who can’t.”
“If you’re being challenged, accept it. Don’t run from it, stay committed, stay to the end.”
“I like quick hitters more than motion sets. With motion sets you have to have an extremely high IQ, and you have to be extremely in depth in your teaching.”
Tomekia Reed Breakdown:
1:00 – Instilled Beliefs
4:00 – Lessons from 1st to the 2nd Years
8:30 – Involving Money
10:30 – Guaranteed Games
14:00 – Film Watching
16:00 – LSU Week
19:00 – Tip Play
20:25 – 21:23 – JUST PLAY AD
22:30 – Defensive Transition
25:00 – Flexibility
27:30 – Playing Better Offense
30:00 – Accomplishments on her Program
33:00 – Success
35:00 – Parents
38:00 – Finding Ways to Persevere
38:18 – 39:01 – Dr. DISH AD
40:00 – Negotiating Your Worth
46:00 – Squeeze and New Plays
49:00 – Coaching a Deaf Player
51:00 – Conclusion
Tomekia Reed Links from the Podcast:
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