Heart of hoops
Honey Badger Hoops keeps eyes on improvement during program’s first year
A buzz announces a text, and the smartphone comes to life.
A single new text message sits in the inbox. It reads:
“Just leaving Lebanon HS. Will be available to talk around 10. if that will work for you. –Dan Reddan”
An interview time is hashed out after one of the Fishers High School basketball teams returns home.
When Reddan picks up the phone to talk about one of the teams he coaches and the elements of what he does, he’s now been working for 15 hours. The day isn’t quite over.
Reddan is an assistant coach for FHS mens’ junior varsity basketball. He teaches biology there, too.
Outside of the classroom and away from his official duties as a coach with the school, he is a component of another program, Honey Badger Hoops.
The Honey Badgers are a group of 16 seventh-grade Fishers kids. It’s a team in the Fieldhouse Premier League.
They’re coached by Reddan, Chad Litton and Todd Gee.
Three different coaches. Three different backgrounds. A desire to teach basketball fundamentals, work with kids from Fishers in at venues where players of all skill levels from all over the map play and weekends full of basketball games are the norm.
A higher goal
The team was formed earlier this year, with the coaches bringing on enough kids to necessitate a waiting list.
“We want to teach them to be tomorrow’s leaders,” Gee said. “We want to make sure we’re bringing up good people.”
Gee has coached various sports over the past 23 years. He teamed up with Reddan and Litton this year, only taking athletes in Fishers with a thirst to improve, playing games against teams that pass through the Fieldhouse every weekend. He coaches as an assistant to give his son the opportunity to learn from somebody besides himself.
Reddan said the goal with Honey Badger Basketball was to be different than AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) traveling teams, making it a point to spend less time on the move and not worry as much about the numbers they put up on the scoreboard.
E.J. Scisney, 12, started playing for Gee five years ago as part of a different program.
His favorite part of playing with the team is developing as a player – as opposed to the team only focusing on winning.
“We just want to be a better team,” he said.
Jennifer Scisney, E.J.’s mother, said some of the values from the court have rubbed off on other areas of her son’s life, namely in the classroom, where she said he was particularly respectful to other parents and teachers.
Michael Scisney, E.J.’s father, said the coaches hold the same values the parents try to instill in the kids, and the team itself helps hold each other accountable on top of the coaches’ efforts.
Litton said the coaches make sure the kids that play Honey Badger Hoops understand that they can learn much about life by picking up the basketball.
Reddan said, “Basketball and life are both thinking games.”
‘Honey Badger don’t care’
Gee said Honey Badger Basketball aims to develop as many Fishers kids as possible – even if it means referring them to other coaches, as the program is already split between two teams.
They want to keep FHS and Hamilton Southeastern High School “hot beds” of basketball activity, Reddan said.
Playing in various venues around Hamilton County, including the Noblesville Boys and Girls Club, the team is recognizable by their jerseys and name, which reference a Youtube video parodying nature shows, which jokingly states “honey badger don’t care.”
Gee said playing at the Fieldhouse means that the Honey Badgers might lose a lot as they go up against tough teams – something the coaches warned the kids of.
“We told the kids we’re not out here to win, you’re probably going to get beat probably a lot, but you’re going to get better, and they have,” Gee said. “They collectively have all gotten better, and we’re proud of each and every one of the improvements that they’ve made.”