Brandon Roy Turned a 3-Win HS Program Into The Nation’s No. 1 Team In His 1st Season as Coach
As an NBA player, former Portland Trail Blazers SF Brandon Roy was well on his way to being one of the greats at his position. But then injuries set him back and unfortunately caused him to retire prematurely from the NBA after three All-Star appearances in six injury-plagued seasons.
“It wasn’t just the Blazers,” the 32-year-old told the Portland Tribune this past December. “I didn’t go to any NBA games. You just miss it. It’s like you see your girlfriend, and she’s walking around with this new guy. It wasn’t anything anybody had done to me. I just felt it was hard to be around the game.”
This past winter, everything changed when he interviewed and eventually accepted the head coaching position at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. The team finished just 3-18 last season and had been through five different coaches in five years. It was definitely an uphill battle.
Yahoo Sports has the remaining details of Roy turning this school around within months of being hired:
“The job pays $6,000, but money wasn’t the motivator for a guy who earned $82.9 million as an NBA player. This was his low-pressure entry into coaching, but it quickly became more than that. Within months of his hiring, seven players transferred to Hale, headlined by the nation’s top-ranked player, Michael Porter Jr., and younger brothers Jontay and Corban, whose father accepted an assistant coaching job at Roy’s alma mater, University of Washington, where Michael and Jontay are committed.
The influx of talent, including four more local prep stars, led to questions about whether or not Roy orchestrated the entire process, but he insisted he never spoke with any of them before their transfers, and they all maintain they just wanted the chance to learn the game from a local legend.
“We weren’t considering Nathan Hale at all when we first moved to Seattle,” Porter told the Seattle Times. “Then we heard (Brandon) might be coaching at the school and thought, ‘Wow, that would be a unique experience.’ We can go into this together and try to make something great happen.”
Playing hard-nosed defense and up-tempo offense, Hale has started 22-0, and it’s no cupcake schedule. The Raiders play in Seattle’s Metro League, one of the country’s most consistently tough conferences, producing Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry and Nate Robinson, among other notable names, and finishing with the top three teams in Washington’s Class 3A state tournament last season.
In December, Hale swept through the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, knocking off the country’s top-ranked team, California’s Sierra Canyon School, in the final. A couple weeks later, they edged defending national champion Oak Hill Academy at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Hale just won the school’s first Metro League title since 1992, defeating Roy’s old high school, Garfield, in the title game. Later this month, the Raiders aim to secure Hale’s first state tournament berth in 23 years.
“I’m doing it for the experience, and to be involved in something I enjoy,” he told the Portland Tribune. “I feel like I’m prepared to make an impact and then build my way up. I thought high school was the best level to work on myself and better myself to become a good coach.
“I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but right now I’m happy. My kids are settled. I don’t have to worry about moving them. If I go to the next level, the job is a little more demanding. I’m happy where I’m at right now. It’s been a blast.””