Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Rafer Alston may be the only high school basketball coach competing in the NBA D-League.
Alston, 35, is taking a break from coaching Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center in order to get his own playing career back on track.
“I’m just trying to open eyes again and let people know I still got a lot in the tank and just compete,” Alston, now with the LA Defenders, told SNY.tv in his first interview since returning to the pros.
A former Cardozo High School star known best for his streetball skills as “Skip To My Lou,” Alston spent 13 seasons in the NBA, averaging 10.1 points and 4.8 assists.
He last played with the Nets and Miami Heat during the 2009-10 season. He also played in China last season.
In May, Alston took a job as the head coach at Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center.
Alston said playing with the high school kids actually motivated him to come out of retirement.
“Just coaching the kids, working out a lot, staying in shape, sometimes when you’re doing all that, you still get the urge to want to compete and play,” Alston said.
He said Christian Life Center was basically done with its season, but that he will actually return to coach them one more time during the All-Star break.
“I get an opportunity to go back for a game or two, and then they’re done,” Alston said.
Alston said his ultimate goal is to get back to the NBA, but knows that could be a long shot at this point.
“You know, that’s everyone’s goal. that speaks for itself,” he said. “I think all of us would like to be in that league but for me it’s just taking one step at a time. Get back into a competitive spirit and the let the process develop and take care of itself.”
He added: “I don’t think that [the NBA] will happen soon. Teams mght want to see me play a bit and get up and down, just to see if i’m in shape enough to play.”
As for the Knicks, Alston said he “would love to go there and play back at home,” but he realizes that’s unlikely, especially now that rookie Jeremy Lin has taken the job.
“He’s playing well,” Alston said of Lin. “I think they should stick with that little kid developing and hopefully Baron [Davis] is healthy at some point to come back. He’s a phenomenal point guard himself.
“But if it happens, trust me, I’ll be like a kid in a candy story. I’ll feel like I won the lottery if I get an chance to play at home.”
Among the players selected for the D-League All-Star Game Feb. 25 are former Louisville guard Jerry Smith, former UConn guard Jerome Dyson. former Cornell center Jeff Foote, former N.C. State forward Brandon Costner and former Duke forward Lance Thomas, now in the NBA.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.