ELWOOD — Landon Carroll’s first shot as a boys basketball head coach is coming close to home. With a former rival, no less.
Like fellow Alexandria native Mickey Hosier, Carroll is changing his Central Indiana Conference colors this winter. Hosier is off to a 1-1 start as the leader of Elwood’s girls basketball team this season. Carroll makes his Panthers debut Nov. 30 at Lapel.
The two former Tigers already have formed a common bond, and Carroll said it’s nice to have a familiar face around to lean on and learn from. His Alexandria roots run deep.
Like many former players, legendary Tigers head coach Garth Cone was a major factor in Carroll joining the profession. He learned as much about life from Cone as he did about basketball, and now he’d like nothing better than to pass some of those lessons along to a new generation.
“The reason I got into coaching was to be able to be in that role for our players,” Carroll said. “I hope our players can learn a lot of the same things I learned from Coach Cone.”
Carroll broke into the business seven years ago as a freshman coach at Bloomington North. Three years later he moved on to Madison-Grant, where he served as an assistant coach for Chris Smedley’s final two seasons.
For the past two years, Carroll has been working with Frankton in an unofficial capacity.
Now he’s ready for his first go-around as a head coach at Elwood.
The Panthers return three senior leaders from an 11-11 team, laying a solid foundation. Jared Bourff averaged team-highs with 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He’s joined by Anthony Bennett (10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds) and Dakin Updegraff (6.1 points, 2.4 assists).
Other returnees include juniors Griffin Hughes and Jordan Arehart, and senior London Leavell is back after playing as a freshman and sophomore after sitting out his junior season.