Desoto County Sports

Chapman named to lead Trojans basketball at Northpoint  

Photo: New Northpoint Christian School boys basketball coach Luke Chapman shown as an assistant coach at Jones College (Jones College Athletics photo)  

The former assistant coach at Center Hill High School under Newton Mealer is returning to DeSoto County to become the head boys’ basketball coach at Northpoint Christian School. 

Luke Chapman Thursday was named to lead the Trojans next season, according to a news release from the school. He replaces athletic director Barry Gray, who has been coaching both boys and girls teams the past few years. Gray will continue to coach the Lady Trojans going forward. 

Chapman is a 2013 graduate of Center Hill High School, where he played basketball. That was followed by attending Northwest Mississippi Community College and then two years at the University of Memphis, where he was a manager under men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner.  

At Center Hill, Chapman played for Mealer, where as a senior he was named District 1-5A Most Valuable Player and led the Mustangs to their first district championship. After college, Chapman returned to Center Hill to be an assistant coach, junior varsity coach, head cross country coach and assistant track coach.   

While at Center Hill, the Mustangs went 100-31, including a 5A MHSAA state championship, 5A MHSAA state runner-up finish, three district titles, four Sweet 16s, three Elite Eight appearances and two Final Fours. 

Luke Chapman

“Coach Mealer was tremendous to work for and I learned so much from him about how to run a program and the appropriate way to run a successful program,” Chapman said. 

 Chapman was responsible for scouting and developing game plans, developing off-season strength and conditioning programs, conducting team and individual skill development sessions, ensuring players maintain grades to remain eligible, breaking down film and preparing junior varsity players for the varsity program. Twelve players signed college scholarships during Chapman’s time at Center Hill.

Mealer feels Chapman will do a “dynamite job” for the Trojans.

“I think everything at Northpoint sets up for success for Luke (Chapman),” Mealer told DeSoto County News. “When he left my program, he wanted to be a high school coach. I think Holly Springs was an outstanding job for him to get his feet wet and underneath him.”

He would follow Mealer to Jones College as an assistant when Mealer became the head coach at the Ellisville junior college.  

This past year, Chapman became a head coach, leading the Holly Springs High School team. Chapman said he was grateful that the administration there gave him a chance to be a head coach.  

“The Holly Springs community, staff and players were just tremendous to work with,” Chapman said. “My players played extremely hard and I really enjoyed my time here.”

Chapman said the style of play will mirror what he learned under Mealer and what he brought to Holly Springs. 

“My style is not going to change,” Chapman said. “I’m going to turn up the pressure and turn up the heat on the defensive end and we’re going to look to get out and run offensively. I think the more skilled players you have the more chances you have to win games.”  

A veteran of Mississippi high school basketball as a player and coach, Chapman will discover that Tennessee private school boys’ basketball may be a “different animal in style of play.” Mealer knows that, having played at Briarcrest, where he is in the school’s Hall of Fame, and coached at Germantown, Tenn. High School before heading to Center Hill.

“Overall, I think he will adapt, I think there will be a (learning) curve there that he’s going to have to learn,” Mealer said. “I think year one he’s going to have to set his foundation, understand what it looks like, and then year two he’s going to take off with that program.”

Northpoint Head of School Jim Ferguson said, “Coach Chapman is enthusiastic about Christ, young people, and basketball. He is excited about leading our young men, leading our basketball team, and developing the talent we have on campus.”