Brookhart an­tic­i­pat­ing success at Den­ver West

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man Kyle New­man: 303-954-1773 knew­man@den­ver­ or @KyleNew­manDP

As a 1979 grad­u­ate of Cherry Creek and a fix­ture on the Bru­ins’ bench since 2002, many were sur­prised when Mike Brookhart an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion as the school’s boys bas­ket­ball coach in March.

And even more were sur­prised when Brookhart sub­se­quently ac­cepted the coach­ing job at Den­ver West, a pro­gram that, head­ing into this win­ter, had five coaches in the past five years and just one win­ning sea­son in the past dozen.

But as Brookhart ex­plained, he felt it was time for a change, even af­ter guid­ing the Bru­ins into the Great 8 in his fi­nal sea­son.

“I had been a Cherry Creek an aw­ful long time, and I thought there needed to be a change not only for me per­son­ally, but for the pro­gram,” Brookhart said. “Some­times, you can get a lit­tle bit stag­nant and a lit­tle bit too com­fort­able, and so some­times change is good for the coach as a per­son and for the pro­gram. But I love Cherry Creek, and I’ll al­ways be a Bruin.”

Brookhart stepped into a ma­jor re­build­ing pro­ject with the Cow­boys, who have started the sea­son 0-5 but are show­ing prom­ise of a turn­around. Se­nior guard Sammy Ter­rones is the cen­ter­piece for Den­ver West, which is still in the process of em­brac­ing the “com­pet­i­tive spirit” ethos that Brookhart preaches.

“They’re re­ally good kids, and I re­ally like be­ing at Den­ver West. There’s been great sup­port from the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and we’re just try­ing to es­tab­lish a com­pet­i­tive spirit,” Brookhart said. “We’re go­ing to work hard to do that, and we want to do things right both on and off the court. That com­pet­i­tive spirit is not just im­por­tant in bas­ket­ball, be­cause it’s some­thing you can carry over from bas­ket­ball onto col­lege, and then onto your pro­fes­sion.”

Brookhart notes he’s proud of the way his team has been play­ing in prac­tices and games out of the gate, and if the Cow­boys can keep that in­ten­sity up, they’ll start to see their ef­forts re­warded in the win col­umn. Den­ver West’s ul­ti­mate goal this sea­son is to beat the other 4A teams in the Den­ver Prep League, as well as to hang tough with the con­fer­ence’s top-tier 5A teams Den­ver East, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton and Far North­east.

“We’ve got to learn that games are won in prac­tice, they’re won in the class­room and they’re won, a lot of times, not when games are ac­tu­ally played,” Brookhart said. “Win­ning if just a byprod­uct of ev­ery­thing you’ve done out­side of game day.”

Steve Nehf, Den­ver Post file

Mike Brookhart, pic­tured lead­ing Cherry Creek boys bas­ket­ball in Fe­bru­ary, says he felt it was time for a change of schools.

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