Jaguars basketball tips off with a new head coachDec 16, 2021 11:21AM ● By Greg James
Mason Sawyer stepped down as the Jaguar head basketball coach after a tragic car accident claims the lives of his wife and two of his children. (Greg James/ City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The boys basketball team at West Jordan is in uncharted territory with a new head coach.
“This job has big shoes to fill,” first-year Jaguars head coach Christian Wouden said. “West Jordan is known as a basketball school and has a very rich tradition. I am excited to carry the torch. I just hope I don’t drop it.”
Wouden takes over a program that has had two coaches in the past 25 years. Scott Briggs left in 2018 when Mason Sawyer took over. Both had been Jaguar alums and members of the coaching staff before becoming the head coach. The new coach is no different.
“I have been an assistant coach for three years here and spent some time as the freshman coach at Joel P. Jensen,” Wouden said. “Taking over for Mason has brought our team very close together. We have dedicated our season to him and his family.”
In June, Sawyer lost his wife and two of his children in a car accident near Beaver, Utah. His son Blue survived the accident. He stepped down as coach of the team. West Jordan High School had been his alma mater and the place he met his wife.
The Jaguars have adopted a new motto this year, “Blue Strong,” after Mason’s surviving son. They have patches on their game uniforms and shooting shirts designed in his honor.
“It has been extremely hard,” Wouden said. “He has found a place with family and friends. Scott Briggs at Mountain Ridge has given him a spot to help and he is trying to get to a good place.”
This year’s team has seven seniors. All of them played under Sawyer’s tutorship, and Wouden is thrilled for them to show what they have.
“I am super excited for this season,” Wouden said. “We have a strong core group. I think it is the most seniors to have been on the team. I think they have been playing ball together since second grade. They are best friends and work hard. We will surprise a lot of people.”
The Jaguars boast four returning starters: Logan Prince, Brandon Christensen, Boston Farmer and ‘Esafe Taufahema.
As a sophomore, Prince was named Region 2 MVP. He has averaged 10.6 points per game in three seasons.
“They are a big group, and I can’t really pick one as a player to watch,” Wouden said.
The team has been working on defense to start the season. Last year the Jaguars averaged over four steals per game and only allowed 51 points per game, tops in 6A.
“We want to be fast-paced on offense and feisty on defense,” Wouden said.
West Jordan will compete in the Class 6A’s Region 3.
“Bingham, Mountain Ridge and Copper Hills should be really tough,” Wouden said. “I feel blessed with this team. They are easy to coach. They are fantastic kids, and if I told them to run through a wall, they would do it. They want to be successful. At 6 a.m., we have kids coming in and getting shots up to get better.”