by Andy Mayer
The start of the boy’s basketball team’s season has been nothing short of amazing. New players and coaching staff could turn the once abysmal program into state champions. The man at the helm of this new team is Hale’s head coach and former NBA All-Star, Brandon Roy.
Roy’s move to Nathan Hale has drawn attention and created excitement surrounding the team in the Nathan Hale community and Seattle. Many have wondered how Roy will fare in his first coaching role. The difference between playing and being coached is significant.
“As a coach, you have to manage the group but as a player, you just have to get yourself ready for the game,” Roy said.
Roy grew up in Seattle, attending Garfield High School where he was a top 50 recruit in the nation. After graduating, he played four years for the University of Washington, where he became an all-American and led the Huskies to two Sweet 16s. Later, he was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then was traded, on draft night, to the Portland Trail Blazers.
After a brief and successful NBA career, winning Rookie of the Year in 2007 and being a three-time NBA All-Star, Roy was forced to retire in 2011. His knees had degenerated so much that he no longer had cartilage between the bones in both of his knees. Roy made an attempt to come out of retirement, signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2012-2013 NBA season. The injury didn’t improve, so Roy was forced to permanently retire.
Roy hopes his leadership roles he had on his previous teams will transfer to his coaching.
“As I started to develop as a leader, I started to prepare my team for games. How I was as a leader with my teams is how I want to be with these guys.”
The team is excited to have a coach with so much experience.
“He knows what it takes to be a winning team, he knows how to push us, and he knows what to do since he’s been through everything himself,” senior and captain Kateel Barnett said.
Barnett said it is easier to buy into a coach’s philosophy when he has succeeded at the highest levels.
While expectations are high for his first season of coaching, Roy is unfazed.
“I embrace pressure because it brings out the best in you.”
Roy is much more concerned with his team’s preparation than he is with the expectations of his team.
“We practice extremely hard, we practice fast, we practice like we play, so when we get out in the game, we’re not surprised by anything.”
His coaching involves more than just strategy and practicing hard, though. Roy also cares about his players as people.
“I have to not only coach these guys but try to mature them on and off the court,” Roy said. “The first thing I try to teach kids is humility and I try to teach them that through my own actions.”
Photo by: Nat Evans