There are two sides to Nick Jensen.
“And let me tell you, Mr. Jensen is different than Coach Jensen,” said Jensen, a physical education teacher at Lakes High School who is in his first year coaching the boys basketball program. “At school, I’m pretty laid-back and easygoing.
“When it’s practice time, we’re there to take care of business.”
Jensen, who brought in new schemes he picked up during 11 years as an assistant coach at Bellarmine Prep, said he expects the Lancers to do just that with a mix of veteran players and eager freshmen. Under JoJo Rodriguez, who resigned in April, Lakes won the Class 3A state championship in 2011, but finished 14-8 overall and did not make the playoffs last season.
“I will be very disappointed if we don’t make a run at it,” Jensen said of the state tournament. “Nothing’s promised, and we have to work really hard to get there, but that’s the expectation for me – and for my players.”
The group is led by seniors Jordan Johnson, whom Jensen calls “our do-anything guy,” and Terrell Toney, who is “real feisty on the floor.”
“We’ve got plenty of young talent, and the seniors are real loyal and work hard,” said Jensen, a Curtis alumnus who is in his seventh year teaching at Lakes. “Sprinkle in some juniors and sophomores and it looks promising.”
Taking over a program with a history of success is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, he said, the foundation has been laid. On the other, “the expectation is that you win, and if you’re not successful, you’re looked at as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
But Jensen is adamant that Lakes will be a presence in the 3A South Puget Sound League this season.
“I want to prove to everyone that we can be successful and continue the rich tradition that Lakes has built,” he said.