By Dave Brousseau
If the Blanche Ely girls’ basketball team was already one of the best in Broward during the 2018-19 season, they’ve become one of the favorites for a state title entering next season.
Former two-time girls’ Class 3A state championship coach J.R. McNabb of Somerset Prep was named coach of Blanche Ely last week. He replaces former Tigers coach James Polk, who accepted the position of assistant athletic director at the Pompano Beach high school.
McNabb, 36, is a 2001 Deerfield Beach High graduate and played for Melvin Randall when the Bucks won the 1999 boys state title. In his two seasons at Somerset Prep he was 34-13 along with two state championships.
Three of McNabb’s former star players from Somerset Prep, Michiyah Simmons, Mya Kone and Zaria Blake have already transferred to Ely.
They join a talented Tigers roster that includes junior Ja’Leah Williams, sophomore Breanna Gustave and senior Jaylen Ponder.
“I resigned from Somerset Prep on May 13th and was planning to take some time off,” said McNabb. “I was offered and took the job last week. With all the girls returning and the additions, numbers wise we’ll have more resources for next season.”
McNabb said he’s inclined to run a more man to mad defense at Ely than the zone he used at Somerset Prep.
“We want to play the best talent we can,” McNabb said. “That includes Dillard, Nova and St. Thomas Aquinas that are in our district.”
McNabb said he has already entered Ely into several national tournaments.