By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)
It was announced just last week that Tyler Hundley would be taking over the Worcester State men’s basketball program for this upcoming season.
Hundely, who is no stranger to the New England D3 basketball world, arrives in Worcester after spending three seasons with the Keene State Owls. Keene State concluded its recent campaign 19-9 overall – the Owls advanced to the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship in February, but fell to Eastern Connecticut State, a program Hundley competed for as a student-athlete.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Hundley to discuss his first-ever head coaching position with the Lancers, as well as his outlook for team’s upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
What interested you in becoming the Worcester State men’s basketball coach?
Worcester State interested me for a number of different reasons. The first being that I know that the Worcester community has a rich and storied basketball history, but also being able to join a community like this one felt like an honor in itself. The investment Worcester State made in its athletic facilities was extremely appealing to me as well and will benefit our program in numerous ways.
Who have been some of your coaching icons over the years that have helped you, both as a player and assistant/associate coach over the years? Do you plan on consulting with them throughout the upcoming season?
I consider myself lucky to have worked with such a variety of coaches with unique coaching styles, dating back to my high school days. Ron Johnson, who is a local high school coaching legend in North Carolina, really sparked my interest in basketball. His attention to detail in coaching and teaching the game was extremely important in my development as a student-athlete, as well as a young coach.
Kevin Kehoe at Cheshire Academy was instrumental with providing me some college exposure, while finding the right college program for me, as well.
Bill Geitner, who I played for at Eastern Connecticut, is one of the best basketball minds I’ve ever worked with in my opinion. I learned so much from him and his sustained success proves how intelligent he is.
Sean Foster gave me my first coaching opportunity at Salve Regina – both he and Matt Adams set the tone that first year, which allowed me to realize that I wanted to pursue coaching as a career.
Aaron Galletta, who is the men’s basketball coach at Lasell College, is a great offensive coach that really helped me look at the game from a different perspective. He also allowed me to speak and have a platform to coach on the fly.
Lastly, Ryan Cain, who is the men’s basketball coach at Keene State – he certainly made a mark on my young coaching career. We both came to Keene State at the same time – it was his first-ever head coaching gig. We hit it off immediately and he really taught me how to recruit, which has become one of my biggest strengths. He truly empowered me, while allowing me to have a lot of responsibility and influence on the Owls’ program. We had a ton of success, especially during the postseasons, which was a testament to the level that we were able to play at, but also the work that we put in, too.
I plan to consult with all of my coaches during the upcoming season, but I see myself consulting Ryan quite frequently, especially in year number one.
What is the most important thing you need to concentrate on heading into your first season with the Lancers?
The most important thing for this season is to build a culture and camaraderie, both on and off the court, while creating a sense of pride for Worcester State basketball.
Do you have a certain basketball philosophy you plan to implement with the team/program? If so, what is it?
I am inheriting a team that gave up over 85 points per game last winter. I have been a part of, as well as learned from some of the best defensive coaches in our region, so our biggest goal (heading into the upcoming season) will be to significantly improve our defense.
What do the next few months look like from a new coaching perspective? How will you get both yourself and the team/program ready to go come mid-October?
I have already begun building relationships with returners and incoming recruits. They need to feel comfortable and confident in me – vise-versa. We will have numerous team activities and fundraisers planned in the fall before October 15th (our first practice day as a team) comes around. I plan to maintain constant communication with our strength and conditioning team to ensure that our team is physically ready to go, so that way we can spend more time on basketball and less on getting their bodies ready for a season. (Also), I will make sure (to use this time currently) to make sure I am well-prepared for my initial season as a head coach.
A few fun questions, beginning with your all-time favorite basketball player: who is it and why?
I was a big Kevin Garnett fan growing up. He was a tremendous teammate and played with passion that seemed to forced his teammates to play at his level.
How much of the NBA Finals have you been watching and who are you cheering for to win this year’s crown?
I’m not a fan of either team that played in this year’s NBA Finals. I really just like to see a good, competitive series. LeBron James is the best player of this generation and is fascinating to watch. On the other hand, the Warriors have the three of the most unique players on the planet in Steph Curry, Kevin Durrant and Draymond Green, who are just as entertaining to watch.
What is your all-time favorite basketball movie?
I’m not a big movie guy, but I really like a lot of the ESPN’s 30 for 30’s, along with their basketball documentaries, too. I see them as learning opportunities.
Finally, what was the greatest advice you were given as a young basketball player that has helped you become a successful student-athlete and coach?
I grew up Davidson, North Carolina and went to multiple sessions at Bob McKillop‘s Davidson Basketball Camp. He was very prominent at his camps and at times would talk to each camper individually. He always seemed to explain things very clearly and helped me improve my basketball IQ.
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