Calm, cool and collected: Terrones short on experience, not on knowledge

JEWELL – Nothing about second-year South Hamilton basketball coach B.J. Terrones screams intimidating.

Not his walk – he shuffles along, usually with his head down as if he’s deep in thought.

Not his facial expression – quite often a sideways grin that allows his players to gravitate towards him rather than run in the opposite direction.

And certainly not his tone – he just doesn’t raise his voice all that often.

Simply put, the 36-year-old Terrones, who had never been in charge of a varsity program until last winter and has just 47 games under his belt, is a player’s coach. It’s that trusting relationship that he’s built that has helped propel South Hamilton to the statewide stage for the first time in 23 years.

“He’s a wonderful coach and he’s really easy to get along with,” Hawks’ senior guard Ross Enderson said about Terrones on the eve of South Hamilton’s Class 2A quarterfinal-round game against sixth-ranked Cascade tonight at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. “He’s going to coach you, but he’s like a friend, too. He’s kind of like a Fred Hoiberg kind of guy. He’s not going to blow up on you … if he has to raise his voice he will, but the humility he has with it is outstanding.”

Enderson may compare Terrones to a Cyclone, but the Gilbert native and Ames resident actually picked up many of his coaching techniques while playing under Dr. Tom Davis at Iowa in the late 1990s. Davis’ fast-paced, free-wheeling style fit Terrones’ personality and it’s been a beacon of light for the athletic Hawks this season.

“(Davis) had such a knowledge of the game that I was just fortunate to be there for four years to observe that,” Terrones said of his time as a Hawkeye from 1995-99. “Some of the presses that we run and some of the sets that we run are a tribute to some of the things I learned over at Iowa.

“Before I started here I thought, ‘If I was a player what would be a system that I would enjoy playing in?’ and that’s what we’ve tried to implement in the last two years over here at South Hamilton. And we also wanted something that the community can enjoy when they’re over here watching these games.”

Terrones’ counterpart from Cascade tonight – 45-year veteran Al Marshall – has coached 965 more contests and his 693 career victories dwarf Terrones’ total by 658. Marshall is third among active coaches in the state in wins.

Cascade has reached the state tournament six times under Marshall.

Terrones may not have the coaching pedigree of Marshall, but he’s not a state-tournament novice either. He helped lead Gilbert to a 2A state runner-up finish as a senior in 1995 and has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to step onto the court in front of a big crowd and go to battle.

“The players are going to have to experience it for themselves … I can offer them the preparation aspect of it,” Terrones said. “We have some really good players this year and it’s very fun to see them meet those expectations that they set for themselves.”

Nope, Terrones is not intimidating at all.

He’s just a coach … and a dang fine one at that.

“He’s a great leader and I like playing for him,” Hawks’ senior forward Andrew Wintermote said. “He can get pretty intense at times because he knows you can do things better, but he’s never negative. He’s always positive.”