First-year Liberty coach goes on offense

First-year Liberty boys basketball coach Omar Parker wasn’t willing to waste a second. The team kicked off the season by practicing at midnight Nov. 12, then twice more later in the day.

The Liberty High School boys basketball team stands near a grandfather clock to mark when their Midnight Madness practice started.

First-year Liberty boys basketball coach Omar Parker wasn’t willing to waste a second. The team kicked off the season by practicing at midnight Nov. 12, then twice more later in the day.

“We wanted to attack this thing the very first second that we could,” Parker said. “By the end of Monday we had three good, hard, short practices. By Tuesday our team could feel like maybe we were ahead of our competition.”

Parker’s top priority is to establish a culture for the program and turn the expectations around. The Patriots haven’t been bad, the team went 9-11 last season, but it hasn’t been among the league leaders often either. The team has also never been to state.

“We have to build an excitement around here,” Parker said. “The team has really embraced that mindset and they’ve embraced a work ethic that has even surprised me a little bit.”

The team’s top returner is senior Tynann Gilmore. Gilmore led the team in scoring and was a second team all-league player last season.

“If he’s not the best returning player in the KingCo, he’s got to be one of the best,” Parker said of Gilmore.

Another talented returner is 6-foot-5 senior Matt Campbell. Parker said Campbell’s ability to run the floor well means the team can easily play an aggressive fast style.

Other key players are Chase Puglisi, Tim Phan and Di Wang. Puglisi’s versatility – he has good size at 6-foot-4 but can also shoot from outside – will help the team immensely.

“The versatility of Chase and the committee of wing players makes us dangerous,” Parker said.

One weakness at this point is health. Robbie Thomas and Kellen Birdsall are both dealing with injuries.

Dayton Mackay and Dalton O’Brien will step in to take some of the load off at the wing position, while Thomas and Birdsall are injured. Parker said the team is evaluating both players’ injuries week to week.

Parker played and coached at Mercer Island High School. Most recently, he was the director of player development at the University of Missouri.

 

More in Sports

Don Erickson, pictured here, is the current leader at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. Photo courtesy of United States Bowling Congress.
He could have called it quits, but now he’s the area’s top bowler

Don Erickson is he current leader at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships

The first ever Male Athlete of the Year for the Renton Reporter went to Jake Wright, left. He was awarded a plaque by Renton Reporter editor Danielle Chastaine (right).
                                Photo by Haley Ausbun
This Athlete of the Year is becoming a Cougar in the fall

After an exciting run this year, Liberty senior and football star Jake… Continue reading

The first ever Female Athlete of the Year for the Renton Reporter, Lia Evans (right) is awarded a plague from the Renton Reporter’s editor Danielle Chastaine (left).
                                Photo by Haley Ausbun
Lindbergh Fastpitch player is the first Female Athlete of the Year

Lindbergh High School junior Lia Evans wants sports fans to pay more… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Lindbergh High School pitcher Lia Evans at the fastpitch game against Fife High School Friday, May 10.
Lindbergh Fast Pitch takes a ‘W’ after a loss

Lindbergh High School Fast Pitch had a hard day against Fife High… Continue reading

Hazen soccer heads to state

A week ago, Hazen High School was licking their wounds after a… Continue reading

Reporter Athlete of the Week: Deven Brown

Lindbergh High School MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Deven Brown, Junior Boys’… Continue reading

I’ll miss Doug Baldwin the player, but I’ll miss the man more

I witnessed ‘Contemplative Doug,’ not ‘Angry Doug,’ in my time covering the Seahawks.

Vote for the Renton Reporter’s Athletes of the Year

Online contest features Renton, Hazen, Lindbergh and Liberty high school students.

Seattle Mist open women’s football season

Against Omaha Heart at Kent’s ShoWare Center

Hazen wins All City Track and Field Meet

Competition held at Renton Memorial Stadium.

Hazen tennis remains undefeated

The Hazen Highlanders girls tennis competed against the Kentlake Falcons on Thursday,… Continue reading

Reporter Athlete of the Week: Faith Richardson

Richardson is the defending state champ in the 100M and 200M dash.