West Side rangy point guard Logan Bailey became accustomed to playing against harassing double teams and special defenses designed to stop his arsenal of long-range shots and strong ball-handling ability, often times helping him finish with creative shots in traffic while drawing contact.
Bailey, who led the Eagles in scoring and assists throughout the past three seasons, represented the East in last week's All-Star game in Conway and recently announced he intends to continue his career at Lyon College in Batesville.
“I haven't signed yet [with Lyon] but I think that is going to be happening pretty soon,” said Bailey. “I didn't really have any offers and went up there to visit and found out they had a coaching change.
“I never really met the old coach and hadn't heard much about them but I met the assistant and he really sold me on the basketball experience there. The campus is beautiful and it's close to home so my dad and my mom and friends can come watch when they want to. It was really a perfect choice for me,” Bailey concluded.
Bailey finished with five points and three rebounds in the All-Star game as his East squad cruised to a 98-50 win. “I was a little shaken and nervous because there were all these top athletes in the state and it was a lot to learn. But the experience, I wouldn't trade it.
“It was a lot of fun being around all those great players and working on stuff I hadn't really seen before.”
Bailey, who was second in rebounding for the Eagles this season, said playing against older brother Jared while growing up helped him develop toughness.
“I've always looked up to my big brother Jared. He is my role model. When I was little he was the reason I wanted to be the basketball player I am … Him and his friends used to pick on me when we would play at the house. They wouldn't take it easy on me and I really think that helped me out in the long run.”
Bailey also credits his coaches and parents for helping him reach his goals. “My coaches have been huge, Coach White, Coach Smith for a year and Coach Brown really helped me out. My AAU coach has really helped me and my parents have always been there to support me. My dad [Victor] will rebound for me at the gym and those little things are helpful.”
Bailey guided the Eagles to the 1A state tournament the past two years, including the state quarterfinal round as a junior. This past year, he earned Greers Ferry Lake Classic MVP as the Eagles beat rival Concord to win the holiday tournament.
Every meeting between West Side and Concord draws a raucous crowd. “We split with them my sophomore year. We lost to them first conference game then beat them in Lyon College Tournament and lost to them in the lake classic. Then we beat them in the last conference game at West Side. It just seems like every game is close with them.
Page 2 of 2 - “But junior year we lost to them every time, including a blowout loss at South Side in the district tournament,” Bailey said reluctantly. “This year we beat them in the lake classic and I thought I had a poor game but I guess that's what it took to win.”
Concord Coach Keith Cornett was not going to let Bailey beat them with his scoring ability. Many times the Pirates would leave a player wide open and pack the paint in order to close any driving lanes.
“They would leave [Keaton] Sutterfield a lot and come double team me to get me to give the ball up. Or sometimes they would go with a straight zone and leave three people in the lane. They would dare one player to shoot and that really disrupted us and caused some problems for us.
In the classic game, he [Sutterfield] made them pay.”
A starter since his sophomore season, Bailey has many fond memories other than the notorious battles with the Pirates.
“My sophomore year we were a undersized and weren't really supposed to do anything. We had a 20-win season I believe. I was the only non-senior starter and I learned a lot from those seniors. We didn't go as far as we would have liked, we ended up going to regionals and losing in the first round.
“My junior year we made it to the second round of state. Beating Stephens in the first round, they were pretty close to the No. 1 team in the state, so that was probably one of my best memories. That was a crazy game,” added Bailey.
Bailey holds a key to the beautiful gym in Greers Ferry, where he puts in work nearly every day. “I try to open the gym for my guys as much as possible. Playing is a great way to stay in shape and work on skills. I like to get in the gym and shoot, work on my dribbling and the last couple years I have got in the weight room some to try and keep my core strengthened where I can get in there and finish inside.”
Bailey's time at West Side is up, but a bright new beginning at Lyon College is likely for this area star.
Logan is the son of Victor and Traci Bailey of Greers Ferry.