By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Jared Boone had set St. Joseph Central girls' basketball up pretty well in his five years there before being relieved of his duties last April.
From 2016-2020, the Indians had winning records in four of those seasons and district titles in two of them (2016, 2020). In all, a 79-54 record.
Now, as Boone gets set to return to St. Joseph as the new Benton boys' basketball coach, he can't help but be excited about the situation, and the roster, he's inheriting.
"There's a lot of potential there," Boone tells The Post. "I'm really excited about the possibilities of things I think we can do this year. I'm excited about my finger prints I can put on the program and how I can help grow their game."
Boone takes over for Gary Belcher, who's headed to Lawson next year after seven years in the South Side. In his seven years, Belcher guided the Cardinals to five winning seasons, including a 13-12 mark and district runner-up finish in 2020-21.
Before Belcher's arrival, Benton basketball failed to win more than six games in a single season from 2010-2014. With all five starters returning from this past year's squad, including all-conference honorees Kason Mauzey, Allan Coy and Carson Newlon, Boone is excited to build off of what Belcher has started.
"I think he did a great job with the program," Boone said of his predecessor. "From where it was when he took over to where he's got it now. He's done a good job of kind of setting me up to walk into a good situation."
Boone certainly learned a lot from his five years at Central, but he also gained valuable perspective in his one year as an assistant for Oak Park boys' basketball coach Brennan Scanlon this past season.
"As a head coach, you kind of get caught up in a lot of stuff that's up front," Boone said. "Sometimes, you forget to kind of take a step back and view things from a different vantage point. I've learned to do that this year, being in the assistant role and I really think it's helped grow me and prepare me to step into this situation."
A 2004 Benton graduate, Boone went onto play collegiately for North Central Missouri College in Trenton for two years before transferring to Lincoln University for two more.
He returned to St. Joseph to teach and coach at Spring Grader Middle School in 2009. He then joined the Central boys' staff in 2013 before being promoted to the head coaching role for the girls.
It's been a little while since he's walked the halls there, but Boone feels comfortable making this transition - a transition to a place he considers home.
"Just having that natural connection there," Boone said, "of like, 'Hey we're cut from the same cloth here' I think will help with a lot of the transition period and me being able to get in there and form those relationships and make those connections with the players."
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