• Trovocie Jackson was recently hired to be the second head boys basketball coach at Centennial. Jackson takes over the Spartans’ program after a season as head coach at Belton. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Jackson takes over Spartans’ hoops program

When Trovocie Jackson learned about the opening for a boys head basketball coach at Centennial, he knew he had to apply for the job.

Jackson was recently hired as the second coach in the history of the Spartans program. He replaces Jeff Carroll, who started the program when the school opened in 2010.

Under Carroll’s direction, the Spartans reached the playoffs in six of seven seasons and never had a losing record. Last season, Centennial went 16-15 and 8-6 in District 9-5A. The Spartans lost to Waxahachie, 90-33, in a Class 5A Region I bi-district playoff game. Carroll posted an overall record of 119-93 and 55-39 in district play. The Spartans were 2-6 in the post-season.

“Centennial’s basketball program under coach Carroll has done a great job and has a great reputation,” Jackson said. “He has established something nice here.”

Another factor in coming to Centennial was the chance to be closer to his family. Jackson’s sister lives in Arlington and his mother lives in the Dallas-area.

“I wanted to be closer to my family,” Jackson said.

Jackson is familiar with the area having attended Garland High School before returning to Midland High School to gradute. Jackson was a standout basketball player in high school. As a sophomore in 1999, Jackson’s play at guard helped Midland to the Class 5A Region I finals where the Bulldogs lost to Duncanville.

Jackson played college basketball at the University of Nebraska and Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb. He then graduated in 2007 from Texas-Permian Basin.

The Centennial job, will be Jackson’s third head coaching position, he coached girls basketball for a season at North Dallas. The Lady Bulldogs went 1-25 that season but the victory was the program’s first in five years. Last season, Jackson was the boys head basketball coach at Belton. The Tigers finished 8-6 in District 8-6A and were 19-15 overall. Belton lost to DeSoto, 61-47, in a first-round playoff game.

Jackson, who is in his 11th year of coaching, also served as assistant coach at Class 6A powerhouse Aldine Eisenhower under mentor James Johnson.

Burleson boys basketball coach Joey Martin recommended the Centennial job to Jackson. The pair know each other from their days as assistant coaches in the Houston area. That relationship should add a new twist to the rivalry.

“Coach Martin is my guy,” Jackson said. “I love him until we played him and then the plan is to beat him twice. We can be friends except for those two night’s a year.”

Jackson has another fan in Burleson ISD Athletic Director Phil Anderson.

“Among the 40 applicatons we had and the people we interviewed had he stood out amongst all of them,” Anderson said. “I have seen him coach AAU basketball. He’s good. A lot of people really like him. Hopefully he will do a good job.”

Anderson said 10 coaches were brought for interviews.

Anderson along with Centennial Boys Athletic Coordinator Kyle Geller and Centennial Principal Jimmy Neal interviewed the canidates for the job.
Geller said Jackson stood out in the crowd.

“Number one I saw an energy and enthusiam that was infectious,” Geller said. “I saw a kid magnet, a team player and a guy that is hungry. He took a program (at Belton) that hadn’t had a winning season in a long time and turned them into winners. All those things sperated him from a lot of other canidates.”

Anderson along with Centennial Boys Athletic Coordinator Kyle Geller and Centennial Principal Jimmy Neal served interviewed the canidates for the job.

Geller said Jackson stood out in the crowd.

“Number one I saw an energy and enthusiam that was infectious,” Geller said. “I saw a kid magnet, a team player and a guy that is hungry. He took a program (at Belton) that hadn’t had a winning season in a long time and turned them into winners. All those things sperated him from a lot of other canidates.”

So far, Jackson likes what he has seen from the Spartans, especially their shooting prowess.

“All of the guys coming back have a unique quality about them that they can shoot the ball well,” Jackson said. “We want to be able to get them as many opportunties to shoot the ball as possible.

Watching film from last season, Jackson said the Spartans offense was spread out as much as he likes.

“I think we can play a little bit faster and shoot the three a little bit more,” Jackson said. “We want to play fast offensively and pick things up defensively. I know in the past they didn’t press much. We are going to try and step on some people’s toes and try to create more offensive possessions.”

The Spartans will play in District 5-5A with Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Crowley, Everman, Mansfield Legacy and Mansfield Timberview.’’

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Trovocie Jackson was recently hired to be the second head boys basketball coach at Centennial. Jackson takes over the Spartans’ program after a season as head coach at Belton. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE