by Lily Hallett
New season, new coach, new team! And it might even deliver a state championship, according to Nathan Hale player, PJ Fuller, “I expect that we will win a State Championship, state ring, and a Dick’s National Championship. And I expect us not to lose a game. I definitely think we have the potential to do this and have the skills.”
Nathan Hale High School’s basketball program is undergoing major changes this year ever since they hired Brandon Roy, six year NBA player as their head coach for the 2016-2017 season.
Roy played five years for the Portland Trail Blazers and then one year for the Minnesota Timberwolves until he was forced to retire in 2013 because of knee injuries. Roy grew up in Seattle and attended Garfield High School.
Percy Allen from the Seattle Times quotes, “Dr. (Jill) Hudson and the administration were looking for coaching stability. I know B-Roy wants to coach and he wants to give back to the district. What better way to start than in the Seattle Public Schools system, where he played in the league.”
Because of this star coach, many highly ranked players from various other states have transferred to Nathan Hale for the opportunity to play for Roy. Two of these transfers include five-star recruit Michael Porter Jr. and his younger brother, 2018 prospect, Jontay Porter, both University of Washington basketball commits, where their father, Michael Porter Sr. coaches.
Nathan Hale becomes favored to win state as last season, the Porter brothers led Tolton Catholic High (Columbia, Mo.) to the Class 3 MSHSAA state championship.
Along with out of state transfers, Hale has some new students from local schools that have come to play as well. Philip Fuller, is a 6’4 16 year old sophomore at Nathan Hale who is also known as “PJ”.
“I began playing basketball when i was four. It started off as just a game but in about seventh grade, people started telling me that I could be somebody and I could do something in this world and maybe I could make it to the NBA. That’s when it clicked and I started to work hard.” PJ said.
PJ transferred this year from Garfield High School. PJ states,
“Transferring was a big transition, but my mentor, Brandon Roy, is head coach so my mom and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get to play for him.”
Fuller plays for programs outside of Nathan Hale, including EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League). With this club team and all the camps he’s invited to, PJ states,
“Basketball takes me around the world.”
Another rising star new to Nathan Hale, John Hart, goes by “John John”. Hart is excited for the upcoming season with his new team and coach. Hart is also a sophomore, and decided to transfer from his old school, Rainier Beach, because of basketball and thought Hale would be a better fit for him.
John states, “My uncle played basketball, and after he died when I was three, my dad started training me. Since then I’ve never lost interest.”
Outside of school, John spends most of his time playing for multiple club teams in Seattle called Hoopaholics and the MAYB (Mid America Youth Basketball).
Similar to Fuller, for this upcoming season Hart says, “I expect us to win a National Championship and a State Championship. We are technically the best team in state so we got to earn it and show every team we really are the best.”
photo by: Nat Evans