Interview with SOC Head Basketball Coach James Mays II
Tonight, the South Oak Cliff Golden Bears begin the defense of their Class 4A State Championship against Lincoln. The Golden Bears are two-time defending champions, so SOC Coach James Mays II has his team in a familiar position. Coach Mays filled us in on what’s going on with the program as he prepares to tip-off the season. Tonight’s game vs. Lincoln will start at 8 pm at Cobb Fieldhouse.
DSB: Coach Mays your team has won back-to-back State Championships in Class 4A, but you graduated one of the state’s most dominant players in Darrell “Slim Shady” Arthur. What will this year’s team looking like?
JMII: This year’s team will look a little bit different from the past groups in that we will be quicker and more athletic at the guard spot. We are deeper on the bench and we can play more aggressive in the open court on and on both ends of the court.
We feel we have one of the strongest backcourts in the area. Fred Gipson (PG) is a 4-year letterman and brings back a ton of experience and two championships. Michael Berry (2-guard) transferred from Seagoville and is a do-everything player that can really score the ball. They both play extremely hard every minute on the court.
DSB: Who are some of the other area teams that you’ll be watching out for?
JMII: There are several teams in the area that will be real good this year. Woodrow Wilson is an up and coming team with a super-star player in Anthony Randolph. Kimball and Lincoln will field once again very good teams. Coach Love over at Spruce has done a wonderful job with his group and they will be tough to beat.
DSB: South Oak Cliff has had a great basketball program over the years, but you have experienced a great deal of success in a relatively short amount of time as head coach. To what do you attribute this success?
JMII: We have definitely had a lot of success in a relative short amount of time. And trust me, we DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. God has providentially placed me where I am from day one so he obviously has a plan and calling on my life. From the coaches he has allowed me to learn from the people He has sent my way to help me in this cause.
What you see is the greatness of GOD, and not Coach Mays. I didn’t even imagine this for myself so I know this had to be God. Also, my church family had a lot to do with the success. They have given me support and encouragement along the way. The church has been the foundation of my development as a better man and person. Without them, I don’t know how things would have ended up.
DSB: What were your thoughts on your first year at Ellis Davis Fieldhouse, the new 8,000 seat DISD basketball facility in Southern Dallas?
JMII: I have been in gyms all across this country and our Ellis Davis Fieldhouse is one of the finest facilities in the land. I’m proud to play in it every time we go there.
DSB: I know your teams have gone to church together on Sunday’s. What type of effect has that had on your players?
JMII: Doing things together off the court draws the team closer. And going to church as a group makes them aware that there is a spiritual side to life and that God is real; it’s called bonding as a team. This is a must because when things get difficult doing the year teams must have a foundation. If not, the group will fall apart.
DSB: We hear a lot of negative talk regarding today’s youth. What are your thoughts on the young people that you see in the halls of SOC?
JMII: Yes, I'll admit that there are some problems that must be address with our youth of today. But there are many things that are positive. I will say that most of they're problems are directly related to the parenting or lack of it as the root causes.