Former Ole Miss and NBA player Gerald Glass, who won two championships at Amanda Elzy High School, meets with his new team in the Madison Central locker room.
Former Ole Miss and NBA player Gerald Glass, who won two championships at Amanda Elzy High School, meets with his new team in the Madison Central locker room.
MADISON - New Madison Central basketball coach Gerald Glass met with his new team for the first time Monday afternoon, and pledged to hit the ground running at what he called "the best high school job in Mississippi."

As the team gathered for a 2 p.m. meeting, the former Ole Miss Rebel and NBA veteran spoke with reporters about his plans.

"We're going to be very aggressive on the defensive side of the ball," Glass said. "It's going to put a lot of pressure on opposing teams and help us create more offensive possessions and better scoring opportunities."

Glass, who was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame last year, won back-to-back 4A titles at Amanda Elzy in 2012 and 2013, but announced he was leaving in April when the state's takeover of the Leflore County School District and Elzy's subsequent post-season ban led several players to transfer. Two of the team's best players transferred to Greenwood High, and Glass' own son, Gerald Glass Jr., transferred to Warren Central.

The Panthers finished 10-3, but Glass announced he would not return.

Instead, he'll take over a Madison Central - one of the best academic schools in the state with a basketball program that former coach Rahim Lockhart left in great shape.

"I'm good friends with Rahim, and this is a school that I have admired from afar for a long time," Glass said Monday. "He got the ball rolling here, and my aim is to get this team back to Jackson and the state semifinals."

The Jaguars, who finished the season 28-4 after a semi-final loss to Gulfport, gathered Monday in the locker room, where MCHS Director of Athletics Bobby Hall delivered on his promise he made to players to introduce them to their new coach who comes to town with a championship-caliber resume.

"When coach Lockhart first told us he was leaving, we were sad," junior shooting guard Leroy Buchanan said. "But we're happy for him because he deserves it."

Buchanan added that he's looking forward to getting to work under Glass, and that with the talent the team returns, it's not out of the question for them to return to Jackson next season.

Glass had two promises for his players: One, that he would pour himself into the job and give the team everything he had, and, two, that they would have a lot of fun playing and winning games if they were willing to work.

If the former Rebel is to have success in his first season, he'll have to find a way to replace several graduating seniors, including a Dandy-Dozen player in Louisiana Tech-bound forward Xavier Stapleton and sharp-shooter Chase Carroll, who played with Gerald Glass, Jr. in summer ball.

"I can't say enough about the job Rahim did here, and there's plenty of talent on this roster," Glass said. "It's just a matter of us getting in the gym and working hard between now and next season."