Sam Duane Jr., is going to give club coaching a try after leading Tempe Corona del Sol to four consecutive Division I boys basketball state championships.
Duane, who resigned after last season when he led the Aztecs to a 33-1 record and was named National Coach of the Year by MaxPreps, has agreed to work with Arizona Power Basketball Academy, which is now led by Jeff Becker after Sundance Wicks recently left to become a men’s assistant coach at the University of San Francisco.
Duane, who leaves later this week for a trip to China, will join the program in August, won’t be coaching any teams in tournaments. He’ll be helping out in the academy, teaching kids the skills.
“It allows me to coach, teach the game and help kids get better,” Duane said. “Jeff Becker and Kyle Schwan are the best workout guys in the country. They’re really good. Hopefully, I can contribute to them. I’ve always enjoyed teaching the game and seeing kids get better. I can work with all different types of kids at all levels. It will be exciting.”
Duane didn’t suddenly disappear from coaching after stepping down at Corona del Sol. He still ran a camp with his dad this summer.
In China, he said he will spend two weeks working a camp.
“The China trip is once in a lifetime,” Duane said. “They’re paying for everything.”
Duane said he has been offered coaching opportunities, “but I’m very selective.”
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“The Power guys are good people,” Duane said. “I think they really help kids.”
Duane, who is working towards getting his administrative certificate, doesn’t want to “step on any toes,” Becker said.
“I said, ‘You just won four straight state championships,’ ” Becker said. “He won’t be stepping on any toes.”
Becker said that Duane was looking to stay involved in the game.
“I think we’re both very like-minded individuals, trying to do things the right way, staying very focused on growing the individual and the better person through the sport,” Becker said. “He has a reputation with great values and beliefs.”
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Duane felt this was a good time to get into club coaching. He didn’t want to cross over while coaching at Corona del Sol.
“We’ve had so many great athletes come out of Corona play for us,” Becker said. “I don’t think he wanted to get involved with the AAU club stuff. Once he took a step back in coaching, he was ready to do this.”
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