BAKER — Six months after stepping up from being Baker School's boys basketball coach, Mike Martello finally has found his replacement.
Former Oklahoma State player Janavor Weatherspoon is on the Baker campus and takes the reins of the Gator basketball program when the students return to school Monday.
Weatherspoon, a Delaware native, brings an impressive basketball resume to the job. He was a member of the OSU Final Four team in 2004.
The 2004 Cowboy team was coached by Hall of Famer Eddie Sutton.
He also had numerous stops as a player and coach.
Martello said it was the depth and diversity of Weatherspoon’s basketball background that made him a strong fit for the job.
“He’s had experience playing basketball at the junior college and the Division I level,” Martello said. “He’s played at the professional level overseas. He’s had head coaching experience overseas at the professional level as well.
“He’s also experienced the high school (coaching). So he brings a well rounded resume to us so I’m excited to have him here.”
Weatherspoon says he's a basketball junkie, but he tries to break things down into the basic elements as a coach.
“I love basketball so much,” he said. “It’s one of my biggest passions I have. The thing I think I bring to basketball is first I would say is simplicity.
“A lot of people get too caught up in all the different designs (of plays) and hoopla and things like that. The most important thing to me is to teach the kids how to play like a team.”
Weatherspoon has no preconceived ideas as to what kind of offense and defense his first Gator team will run. Like most good coaches, he said he will see what talent level he has and adjust his philosophy from there.
Weatherspoon played junior college basketball in Texas at Odessa College. He said it was through a friend in Odessa that had ties to the Okaloosa County community that he heard about the job.
“I’ve been applying for coaching jobs all summer – actually since the spring,” he said. “I applied for high school jobs, junior college jobs and Division I coaching jobs also.”
Weatherspoon’s worldwide travels have taken him to communities of all sizes so making the move to Baker School wasn’t a big deal.
“To tell you the truth, I have a lot of experience living in different places,” he said. “I lived in West Texas, in Odessa. I went to Stillwater to play at Oklahoma State.
“And then I flew over to Poland and lived in a very, very small town there too, like Baker. I’m used to the small towns and small city atmosphere.”
Weatherspoon’s wife, Ana, and children Nicola, Janavor Jr., and Naomi have already made the move to the area.
Weatherspoon is looking forward to working for Martello and using him as a resource for scouting reports on the teams in the area.
“I think Coach Martello is a great guy,” he said. “It’s a huge advantage having him here as my boss because he was the basketball coach for the last 10 years. I will always ask questions from him and what kind of pointers he can give me.
“He knows the area really well so that’s an advantage for me.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.