Banks embraces new role

Scotlandville guard takes on leadership duty

A year ago, Tre’Lun Banks was considered to be the final piece to a puzzle that helped Scotlandville High claim its first Class 5A boys basketball title.

As the 2012-13 season continues, the Hornets are again one of the top 5A teams. But there’s still a puzzle to consider.

Only this time, putting the puzzle together and keeping it together is the major role for the 6-foot-1 senior guard.

“We lost four starters, so this is basically a different team,” Banks said. “There’s a lot of different roles, even for the guys who played last year. My role has gotten bigger.

“I have more of a leadership role. Besides knowing what I’m supposed to, I have to know what everybody else’s roles are and to make sure we’re all in the right place.”

Banks’ role will continue to evolve this week as the Hornets (13-2) host the Coca-Cola/Bob Petit/East Baton Rouge Parish Tournament that begins Wednesday at Southern University’s F.G. Clark Activity Center.

Scotlandville is the No. 1 seed and won’t play until 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Hornets will face the Northeast-McKinley winner.

Banks insists there is no added pressure. But there is certainly plenty of scrutiny.

Banks is the son of Southern coach Roman Banks and the nephew of Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample.

“He (Tre’Lun) goes from coach uncle to coach dad,” Sample said. “Obviously, we’re going to be more critical of what he does than other people.

“Tre’Lun’s role is a lot different. Last year, he fit in with the other players. He understands that now it’s his job to make sure everyone gets involved.”

Getting all the other key players involved is a unique task for a Scotlandville team that has 6-8 Vanderbilt signee Damien Jones, 6-8 Jared Sam and 6-5 Brian Bridgewater.

In Friday’s win over McKinley, Bridgewater, considered a top football and basketball prospect, led the way with 16 points. But Vincent Sanders hit three key 3-pointers and was involved, along with Jones and Sam.

“The close games we’ve had have helped bring us together,” Banks said. “And I think the main thing we’ve learned is we have to play as a team.

“We have to just play and make plays. We can’t be afraid to mess up or make mistakes. When you’re afraid to mess up, you’re going to make mistakes. We just have to play hard.”

Banks spent his first two high school seasons at Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas while his father was an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana University.

To prepare for his senior season, Banks spent as much as eight hours a day in the gym.

He broke down his game and worked to improve all facets of his game, including his ball-handling, defensive skills and foot speed. Banks also played more than 100 summer games on the AAU and summer league circuits.

It should come as no surprise that Banks critiqued his own game much like a coach would. While some players consider being the son of a coach to be a negative factor, Banks believes it is a huge plus.

“I think having a dad who is a coach has made me a better player,” Banks said. “Around our house, I’d say we talk basketball 70 percent of the time. I think that has given me an advantage other guys don’t have. I do see the game like they (father and uncle) do.”

Don’t expect Banks to go into the family business. He has a grade point average of just under 3.0 and wants to major in biology/science in order to work in veterinary medicine.

South Alabama and most of Louisiana’s state schools are recruiting Banks, who said he won’t make any recruiting decisions until the season is over.

For now, Banks is content to take it one game and one tournament at a time.

That makes the EBR tourney a top priority.

“It (tournament) can be an important statement for us,” Banks said.