After about a month long coaching search, Jones County Junior College has found the man to lead its men's basketball program. The Bobcat athletic department formally introduced Rahim Lockhart as its next head basketball coach Monday.
As the Bobcats come off of winning the 2014 NJCAA national championship, Lockhart knows JCJC has high expectations for his team. However, he says he is up for the challenge. "It's challenging, but it's a good challenge," Lockhart said. "I think that if you don't look forward to challenges in life that you're not really wanting anything. I really want to be the best, and I want to be a part of the best."
Lockhart said he has not yet had a chance to meet with the team as a whole, but he says he knows the Bobcats have plenty of returning talent. Now it is just a matter of getting everyone on board with he and his staff. "I've talked to some of my coaching friends, and they told me we've got some talent... Our first goal is retaining those we already have and once we sort that out we'll be able to move forward," Lockhart said Monday.
The basketball team will have plenty of lofty goals after winning it all in 2014. However, with an athletic department that boasts the top ranked baseball team in the country, an eighth ranked football team in 2013, and womens' sports that have won state titles in soccer, basketball, tennis, and softball, Lockhart says it is nice to have competition right there on campus. "It's like competing against your brother or your sister," Lockhart said. "When they go out an make an "A" in algebra, you have to go make an "A" in algebra. So that's one of the things that sets the bar high and it drives you to be the best."
Lockhart comes to Ellisville from Madison Central High School, where he had been the head basketball coach since 2011. Before leading the Jaguars, Lockhart was the head coach at Grenada and Taylorsville, and he was also an assistant at Piney Woods. The Mendenhall native played college basketball at Ole Miss from 1998-2001 where he helped lead the Rebels to three NCAA Tournament appearances while being selected as a third-team All-American and the All-SEC team.