MURFREESBORO — Michael Voss spent the past five seasons on Blackman coach Barry Wortman’s bench.
On Tuesday, the Riverdale first-year boys basketball coach opens up District 7-AAA play at Blackman on the other side of the court.
Riverdale (1-6) plays at Blackman (6-0) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the nightcap of a doubleheader on the opening night of league play.
Smyrna hosts Oakland and Stewarts Creek hosts La Vergne in other 7-AAA contests.
Voss said having worked under Wortman likely isn’t a benefit to one coach over the other. They know one another’s tendencies and philosophies.
“It probably helps us both,” said Voss, who also spent four years with Wortman at La Vergne as a non-faculty coach. “The way we talk and the things we do are similar. That’s the way it goes when you work for nine years with someone.”
Voss replaced Kevin Woodson in the offseason. It is Voss’ first head coaching position.
The boys game follows a contest between winners of the past four Class AAA girls state championships. That game tips off at 6 p.m. Blackman (4-1) has won the past two girls titles. Riverdale (7-0) won the 2012 and 2013 girls championships.
Riverdale’s boys are coming off a double-overtime win at Brentwood on Friday.
“He’s a really good coach and a great friend that I want to see do extremely well except for two nights a year,” Wortman said. “He’ll have a good idea how we will play and the terminology and things we want to do. He knows our personnel.”
Blackman returns four starters from last year’s Class AAA state semifinal team. Blackman also picked up Oakland transfer Jarrell Reeves, a 6-foot-5 post player, in the offseason to go with returning post player Christian DeWitt.
Their presence in the paint will be an issue against a smaller Riverdale squad.
“The big thing we have to do is be more physical on the glass,” Voss said. “Christian is the best rebounder in the league. He’s good at getting to the ball. And Jarrell is tough to get off the glass.
“We have to be physical on box-outs. We have to be relentless at going at it. Our guards will have to help as well because our bigs will have their hands full.”
Oakland (7-0) joins Blackman as the only other District 7-AAA undefeated boys team. Stewarts Creek (8-0) joins Riverdale as the only other 7-AAA undefeated girls team.
Oakland’s undefeated run has come with several football players just returning to the team.
“We’ve had our football guys for about three practices now,” Oakland first-year coach Troy Bond said. “We are still meshing them in. We want to piece those guys back in the mix.”
Kaleb Oliver, Wanya Moton and JaCoby Stevens are all expected to play against Smyrna on Tuesday and against La Vergne on Friday.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Tuesday’s Basketball Schedule
(All games at 6 p.m.)
Riverdale at Blackman
Oakland at Smyrna
La Vergne at Stewarts Creek
Smith Co. at Central Magnet
Macon Co. at Cannon Co.
MTCS at Forrest
Huntland at Eagleville
Providence Christian at Covenant