VDN has awarded Jerdon Hardiman the title of Junior High Boy’s Basketball Coach of the Year for 2022-2023.
Hardiman led the Gators to an outstanding season, resulting in a 14-1 record and securing the Little Six Championship.
“I told them that we’re going to have to fight because nothing is easy,” Hardiman said. “We practiced hard and had no days off.”
In 2022, VJHS had to forfeit their playoffs due to COVID-19. However, the team made a remarkable comeback this year and won the significant title. They had only one defeat, which was against their crosstown rivals, Warren Central.
“That one loss was a humbling experience for them because they figured that since we were undefeated that we couldn’t be beat,” Hardiman said. “I wanted to lose that game so that it would humble them.”
During the season, the Gators achieved big wins, such as defeating Rosa Scott multiple times. In one game, VJHS was down by 10 points with only 53 seconds left to play, but they managed to make a comeback and win by four points. Additionally, VJHS secured two challenging wins against Northwest Rankin, where they also trailed in both games but ultimately won and became the champions of the Little Six Championship.
“The main goal was to get my players to the next level and build them while we reach that championship,” Hardiman said.
Due to Hardiman’s hard work effort, he was selected to coach in his first All-Star Tournament where he led the Central Team to an 8-0 record.
Hardiman is no stranger to recognition, as he was awarded the overall Boy’s Coach of the Year in the 2019-2020 season. He has also won the Junior High Coach of the Year Award for both the previous and current years.
“It makes me feel proud of myself and I’m doing what they put me here for and that’s to win ball games and mold my players into young men. It’s hard for me to sleep at night thinking about those championships,” Hardiman said jokingly.
Hardiman recently completed his seventh season at VJHS and has never regretted coaching the kids.
“Those kids motivate me to coach and I love pushing a kid to doing something that they haven’t done and I just have a high passion for seeing a child happy,” Hardiman said.
Hardiman is frequently asked when he will move up to the next level, but he remains content with where he stands in his program.
“I appreciate it, but I like to watch my product grow and mentor these kids because this is where it starts at,” Hardiman said. “It’s like building a house, I don’t want a used house, I want to build it from ground up so that’s why I stress self-discipline so much because it builds athlete’s character.”
While Hardiman put in the work, he expressed gratitude to his support system for standing by him.
“I want to thank God first and my mom, my wife and all the fans along with everybody who just supported me.”See a typo? Report it here.