FRANKFORT — Two summers ago, Jared Catron was named interim Frankfort boys basketball coach.
The interim tag was later removed and the young first-time head coach learned the nuances of the promotion on the fly during a 10-15 season.
Last season the Hot Dogs had a mostly inexperienced roster and sometimes games got away from them that wouldn’t have with a more veteran team.
Those lessons were invaluable as now Catron has a better grasp of his role and Frankfort has an experienced squad ready to bounce back to its recent winning ways.
“It was a big learning curve last year for our guys, but coming into this year most of our guys are comfortable stepping onto a varsity court physicality-wise and pace-wise,” Catron said. “They are excited to hit the ground running just as I am.”
Perhaps the biggest growth came from the Hot Dogs’ best player.
Jarrod Smith, who had been a part of Frankfort’s last sectional championship team as a freshman in 2013, was forced to step up and become the go-to player. Smith thrived in that role, averaging 15.8 points with eight 20-point games and a high of 40.
“I didn’t really concentrate on that too much, but things just fell into place,” Smith said of being the leader of the team as a junior. “That’s what the team needed me to do.”
Now Smith has transformed into a vocal leader as well for a guard-strong team that will include a larger role for Jordan Campbell, who scored 17 in the season-opening win over Clinton Prairie. Malik King also was a valuable piece of the guard rotation as a freshman last year. He’s expected to return early this season from a torn ACL.
Frankfort’s growth last season nearly culminated with a sectional championship.
Frankfort lost to Lebanon 53-50 in the title game, a goal to build toward in the second season under Catron.
“This year, there’s been a lot of growing and now we can just expand,” said 6-foot-7 Carter Taylor, one of four players at least 6-3 on the roster.
Frankfort Hot Dogs
Coach: Jared Catron (11-15 in second season)
2014-15 results: 10-15 (4-3 Sagamore Conference), lost to Lebanon 53-50 in sectional championship.
Key returnees: Jarrod Smith, sr.; Jordan Campbell, sr.; Carter Taylor, jr.; Malik King, so.
Others to watch: Steven Ceballos, sr.; Xavier Frazier, sr.; Griffin Harris, jr.; Austin Hernandez, jr.; Damon Moore, so.; Noah Dubree, so.
Outlook: The Hot Dogs return four starters and had a strong finish to last season, nearly winning the sectional title in a transition year. That bodes well for this season, especially when King returns from injury. A nice mix of perimeter and post players gives Frankfort options and a stronger Taylor will lead to matchup problems for many teams.