Varsity player coaches youth team

While his team is on the court, head coach junior Zack Shahzad walks up and down the sidelines shouting defense as the opposing coach sits and watches.

When seventh-grader Garrett M.’s South Beach Basketball Association team was drafted without a coach in place, his mom asked Shahzad if he was interested in the position. On top of taking five Advanced Placement classes and holding down a job at I9 Sports, Shahzad agreed to take on the extra responsibility.

“When I was asked to coach I was reluctant at first because I didn’t know what to expect, but then I decided it would be a great opportunity,” he said.

Once realizing how much work this would require, Shahzad asked junior Daniel Shelton and senior Travis McClendon to serve as assistant coaches at games at practices.

“Basketball is something I’m really passionate about,” McClendon  said. “Plus I needed more volunteer hours for Bright Futures, so I’m glad Zack picked me to help.”

Not only has Shahzad become a leader to the team, but also a role model and friend.

“I like having the chance to leave a positive impact on the kids,” he said. “Most of them are starting middle school, so I try my best to give them advice when I can.”

Garrett M. said having high-schoolers instead of a parent coaching has made the season more entertaining.

“Zack, Travis and Daniel all play on a basketball team so they know a lot about the sport and are able to coach well too,” he said. “They come up with ways to help us get better and have fun at the same time.”

The team plays its final game Saturday at noon at the Hoover Middle School gymnasium.

By Madeleine Coalter