Photos by Don Mann
For new Falcon boys’ basketball coach Mark Folsom, every day is homecoming.
Because Folsom, 38, has come full circle, having graduated from Woodinville in 1992, where he played varsity hoops, in the same gym, wearing the same green, under Steve Segadelli.
Twenty years later, after coaching stints at Boise State, Portland State, Seattle Pacific, Folsom’s now running drills, blowing a whistle and barking out plays for the Falcons, who have a brand new look after 10 years under Jamie Rowe.
Rowe moved on to Lake Washington this summer and Folsom — never before a head man — found his way back home.
“I always knew at some point in time that I wanted to come back here and be the head coach,” he said after a spirited Thanksgiving eve practice. “This year the opportunity presented itself and I jumped on it.”
Folsom knows he has his work cut out for him in the ultra-competitive KingCo 4A league — Woodinville went 5-15 last year and returns only three seniors with varsity experience — but he’s armed with four experienced and enthusiastic assistants and has already seen progress.
“It’s a fresh look around here,” Folsom said. “We’ve got a nice mix of senior guys that’ve been around and know the lay of the land and a nice mix of young guys who are trying to make their mark.”
Among the seniors are 6-foot-5 post Quinten Parker, who made big strides as a junior.
Parker possesses good feet for a big man, some solid moves down low and a soft touch.
Six-foot-three forward Jake Miller showed a capable inside-outside game, knocking down 26 of 80 three-pointers last year.
John Villasenor, 6-3, is an athletic leaper with good hands, an improved shot and brings a banger’s mentality from the football field — something the Falcons have not had a lot of, and something that never hurts.
Junior Tommy Wick, an outstanding jump-shooter who started as a sophomore, looks bigger and stronger and showed in practice some new skills at attacking the rack.
Beyond those four, there are some unproven commodities, but Folsom likes what he sees so far.
“We’ve got some sophomores that we feel will be big contributors for us,” he said, noting Zack Oates and Mitchell Jones. “And we also think Tony Miller, as a freshman, can contribute.”
Miller is the younger brother of Inglemoor junior Trey Miller and former Lady Falcon Diedre Miller, both gunslingers who can catch fire from long range, an apparent family trait.
“Our young kids have a good understanding of the game though the game’s a little faster for them right now,” Folsom said.
And what kind of style can we expect from these new-look Falcons?
“Our philosophy is that we want to control things on the defensive end,” he said. “That means we want to deny (the pass), deny and shut reversal, and apply ball pressure. We want to make the (other) guys with the ball uncomfortable and make them get rid of it … but not able to reverse it and keep the ball to one side of the floor … where we can dominate.
“Getting the kids to buy into that philosophy will lead to easy baskets on the other end.”
First impressions from the new coach in town?
“It’s only been about a week of practice so it’s still pretty fresh but the kids are working hard.
“One thing for sure is the seniors have shown us that this is their team. I get the sense they realize it’s their time to lead the young guys … into the unknown.”
He said it with a laugh, a confident laugh from someone clearly happy to be home again.
Woodinville hosts Snohomish in its home opener Thursday at 7:30.