Ever since I can remember basketball has been my favorite thing to do. When I was young my dad put the ball in my hands and the rest is history. If you ask any basketball player, he will tell you that in order to be successful not only do you need raw talent, but you also need the proper guidance to help you achieve your goals. As a youngster growing up in Orlando, Florida, I was blessed to play for not just one, but two great coaches. My first coach was Kurt Coleman. Without him I wouldn’t have become the player I am today. As a seven-year-old he allowed me to play on his team against older kids aged 10-11 which really toughened me up and helped me develop faster. Kurt was the first person to teach me the fundamentals of basketball. My first year I didn’t play much, but I practiced hard and I started developing that LOVE for the game. My next year I was a little better, and by the end of the year it was all coming together.
When I turned nine Kurt introduced me to the second coach who would help shape me into an even better player. Coach John Calathes coached me for seven years. From ages 10-17 I played for him with my AAU team the Orlando Raptors/Nike Team Florida. Those seven years were probably the most exciting and fun times of my life. From traveling to places like Virginia Beach, Tennessee, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Houston, and North Carolina, not only were we doing what we loved, but we were traveling the country and seeing the world. I will never forget this period of my life because not only did it help me become a better player, it also gave me the confidence to chase my dream.
Little did I know that I would meet a third coach along my journey who would change my life: Coach Tom Inman. As a junior in high school, my mother received a job transfer and it just so happened that it was in Dallas,TX. I visited three schools prior to our moving, and we decided Plano Sr High School was the best fit. Tom Inman welcomed me with open arms and gave me the keys to the team which I had never had before. He helped me become a leader, he believed in me when a lot of people doubted my abilities, he let me play my game without hindering my talent, and he trusted me with the ball in my hands. For this I am forever grateful, because without him I wouldn’t have been able to receive a D1 scholarship to Texas Tech. I might not be where I am today without these three coaches who helped me, coached me, and treated me like their own son. These men helped not only me but countless other young men, and they are the true MVPs!