Most people only think of the flashy aspects of basketball when evaluating players. Shooting, jumping and slick ballhandling get players noticed by the common fan.
But for Lafayette Christian coach Byron Starks, how players lead their teammates is the most important trait, and that’s the reason he said twins Jacob and Kalob Ledoux are poised for breakout seasons for the Knights.
“They’ve grown. It’s been a lot of work over the summer, and early in the season, they’ve done a good job of accepting some of their leadership roles,” Starks said.
“We’ve done a lot of things in our practices and workouts that have given them that responsibility, and they’ve done a good job so they have a bright future ahead.”
Starks said the twins already have the athletic part of the game down, but to be great, they need to continue to improve the mental side of their game.
He referenced two recent games, one against St. Augustine and one against St. Thomas More, as markers for their progress on the court.
“Some nights we still have some ill-advised, bad shots; for example the game against St. Augustine,” Starks said. “But afterward we addressed it and then (the shot selection) was much better when we played St. Thomas More the next night.”
Starks knows a thing or two about winning basketball games, having helped take the Ragin’ Cajuns to two NCAA tournament berths during his time as a player.
Focusing on the team’s shooting percentage, rather than just how many points individuals end up with has been a key selling point to his team and the Ledoux brothers.
Starks said the team has a hustle chart where the players can compete amongst themselves to help the team in statistics that don’t show up in the typical box score.
“One of the biggest things is: a lot of people only focus on points, because that’s what you see in the newspaper,” Starks said.
“But what we’ve been focusing on a lot this year is the team’s shooting percentage. We’re looking at those things after the game, rather than what an average fan looks at.”
Jacob and Kalob Ledoux have bought into Starks system.
In the Sunkist Shootout, they often led their team in scoring, while helping chip in on rebounding and defending teams’ best perimeter player. Their efforts helped the Knights claim third place.
Starks said the brothers’ determination to become good players made his job easier.
“If there is a strength competition, or layups or sprints, they always want to be first. They already have that competitive nature,” Starks said.
And the twins aren’t only competing against their opponents in games, or their teammates in practice: their hardest competition is against each other.
Starks said he likes to separate the two during scrimmages in practice and pit the twins against each other to watch them compete.
“You should see them play some one-on-one games. You would think that they don’t know each other with how they are going at it,” Starks said.
The competition is healthy, Starks said, and has helped the entire team grow and brothers’ growth from last season will help the Knights late in the season.
“It’s a night and day transformation from last year, because they can see before long all of this is over with,” Starks said. “So they are beginning to understand that in order for you to be successful, you have to be a great leader, not just in the public’s eyes but also when you’re on campus, in the classroom or in the locker room.”