MORE than a decade after he pulled on the NSW PSSA boys basketball jersey himself, Shoalhaven product James Dean is guiding the future generations on the court.
The Cronulla Public School teacher will manage the NSW PSSA boys side, when they compete at the All School Championships at Darwin.
Making the accomplishment even more special for Dean, is that he will be joined by Cronulla Public student Jesse Edwards in the side – who is the first student from the school to be ever selected in a state team to participate at a School Sport Australia event.
Edwards was chosen for the NSW team after his outstanding performances for Sydney East at the NSW PSSA State Championships in Tamworth, where his team went onto to win the tournament, capped off by a 16 point victory in the final against Sydney South West.
“I’ve coached him [Edwards] for a couple of years now and he’s improved in leaps and bounds every year,” Dean said.
“He’s so dedicated to the sport.
“He prefers to play as a point guard and control the game but he has the ability to play anywhere on the floor wherever the coach asks.
“He always does what is needed to be done.
“He’s got a great basketball IQ.
“As a player he loves having the ball in his hands and scoring points, that’s his main attribute.
“But he has the ability now where teams man up on him and double team him that he can find an open player.”
The state team will convene in Maitland, along with the girls NSW PSSA team, for a three-day camp at the end of July.
Mr Dean said teachers at the school had confirmed Edwards was the first athlete from the school to be chosen to represent NSW at a national event.
“It’s something the school is immensely proud of,” he said.
“We’re doing all we can to support Jesse as he chases his dream.
“He’s a very mature young man with a very bright future ahead of him.
“His dream is to play in the NBA and represent Australia at the Olympics but as a kid he is just so grounded.”
Manager Dean, a former Bomaderry Public student, will be working closely with coach Jono Willis, from Tamworth West Public School, during the August 12-17 tournament.
“While away, I’ll be ensuring the boys are both physically and mentally prepared for the challenges they’re about to face,’ Dean said.
“I want to them to be competitive but at the same time enjoy the experience.
“It may be the highest level that they reach in any sporting arena.
“In addition, making sure the boys have the highest level of pride in the singlet.
“It’s such an honour and privilege to represent NSW.”
Dean is grateful of his Cronulla PS principal Peter Banks for this opportunity.