Ozark’s Kyle Flavin proved he can shoot the three last season. But he has more proving to do in regard to handling the attention from the opposition that comes with being a sharpshooter.
Flavin’s sophomore season saw him peak with a 26-point performance against Webb City. But the lows included only six points against Republic as Ozark’s COC winning streak came to an end and just three points in the Tigers’ Class 5 District 11 semifinal loss to Nixa.
In hindsight, it was almost easy for Flavin to emerge as a standout, but much tougher for him to maintain that status.
“At the jayvee level, you get more open shots because some teams you play don’t know your personnel,” Ozark coach Mark Schweitzer said. “At the varsity level, everybody we play is going to scout us, have a report and know he can shoot. They’re going to face-guard him and be physical against him."
“They knew I was a shooter,” Flavin added. “They told their guys to be physical with me.”
Flavin took elbows to his ribs from defenders, wasn’t allowed to free himself easily off of screens and often times drew the top perimeter defender. It all took a toll on him, as his numbers dipped dramatically.
“I learned it’s a lot more physical on the court than what I was used to (in jayvee ball),” Flavin said. “Whenever you’re a shooter, they elbow you and try to bump you off of screens. I’ve been trying to get in the weight room, get tougher and be able to use my body better.”
“The physicality bothered him,” Schweitzer said. “He’s got to get stronger and handle the bumps of the varsity level versus the jayvee level. He’s going to have to do something other than shoot the 3 and battle that physicality. He’s getting better.”
Flavin wasn’t able to shoot himself out of his late-season slump, but otherwise handled adversity well by staying resilient and continuing to work hard.
“I tried to stay positive,” he said. “Shots weren’t falling. So, I tried to get more shots up in practices. But I couldn’t get out of (the slump). This season, I know I’ll be fine throughout the whole season and shoot better.”
Flavin has returned to his high-scoring self during June tournaments and was white-hot at times during the Nixa Summer Shootout last week. He thrives off the confidence Schweitzer has in him.
"It gives me confidence to know I have the green light all the time,” Flavin said. “I love shooting it.”
The Tigers don’t figure to be as reliant on Flavin next season. They were heavy on role-players who filled their roles well last season. But Schweitzer expects next season’s team to be offensive-minded and more versatile.
“We’re going to have more help," Schweitzer said. “We’re going to be hard to guard. I’m going to have five kids on the floor who can put the ball in the hole some how and some way We didn’t really have that last season. We had to have specific personnel taking the shots. This year, we’re going to score in a variety of ways, score better from the outside and take it to the rim better off the dribble.”
With Ozark’s tourney trail this summer complete, Flavin will turn his attention to individual camps. He’s received invites from colleges to attend their upcoming showcases.
The more basketball the better for Flavin.
“I don’t play another sport. This is all I do,” he said. “I go all out in the off-season.”