Shawn Vanzant of Butler (2) shoots over Brian Zoubek of Duke (55) in the first half of the NCAA Final Four championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Monday, April 5, 2010. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)

Shawn Vanzant has become the third head basketball coach of the Bloomingdale Bulls in as many seasons.

The Tampa native comes in with a decorated basketball career, playing for Tommy Tonelli at Wharton where he was the first 1000-point career scorer in school history. He was also the first freshman to make the varsity team at Wharton. He earned a basketball scholarship to play for Butler University and head coach Brad Stevens, who is now the head coach of the NBA’s Boston Celtics. During his run at Butler, the Bulldogs made it to two straight NCAA Tournament championship games.

Vanzant went on to have a pro career after college, playing in Finland, Ireland, Canada and the NBA Developmental League. He become a graduate assistant after getting his master’s degree at Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee, and later on, was promoted to assistant coach.

Vanzant said he has always wanted to go into coaching. Bloomingdale became interested in him right away after the position became available. “When you have an administration that’s behind you and they believe in you, once I saw that and met the players, I knew that this was the right spot for me,” said Vanzant. “I have a group of players that work hard. That’s my biggest thing is playing hard, working hard and listening, and I have a group of guys that do that.”

According to Vanzant, changing the culture at Bloomingdale is one of his top priorities. He wants to put his stamp on the program, implement his values into the team and teach them his system. He emphasizes defense and runs a motion offense. The Bulls have played six summer league games under Vanzant. He can already see them making strides and heading in the right direction.

“Coach is a motivator and he pushes us to become the best basketball players that we can be,” said Bulls senior guard Josh Schneider. “Coach Vanzant only wants the best for his players and to see us grow as a team. He is easy to talk to. I feel like I can talk to him about anything that I have going on in my life.”

“If you get all 12 guys who only care about winning and putting the team first, you can achieve a lot,” said Vanzant.

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.