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Reggie Geary with his wife Candace and sons Quincy (left) and Wesley during the recent AAU tournaments in Las Vegas (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES
AS CURRENT HEAD COACHES
High school boy’s basketball
|Mike Bibby||1996-98||Phoenix Shadow Mountain||2014|
|Jason Stewart||1997-99||Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito||2014|
Men’s college basketball
|Craig McMillan||1984-88||Santa Rosa (CA) JC||2000|
|Josh Pastner||1996-00||Georgia Tech||2016|
Men’s professional basketball
|Matt Brase||2003-05||Rio Grande (D-League)||2015|
|Reggie Geary||1992-96||Nagoya (Japan)||2011|
|Steve Kerr||1983-88||Golden State (NBA)||2014|
|Luke Walton||1999-03||L.A. Lakers (NBA)||2016|
|Tod Brown||1990-94||North Dakota State||2007|
|Shelley Duncan||1999-01||Class A Hillsboro (OR)||2015|
|Terry Francona||1977-80||Cleveland (MLB)||2013|
|Chip Hale||1984-87||Arizona (MLB)||2015|
High school baseball
|Colt Sedbrook||2006-08||Boulder (CO)||2013|
Women’s college basketball
High school football
|Marcus Bell||1996-99||Eager Round Valley||2011|
|Robert Bonillas||1995-98||Desert View||2012|
|Mark Keel||1979-82||Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap||2000|
|Clarence McRae||2003-04||Mountain View||2012|
|Antonio Pierce||1999-00||Long Beach Poly||2014|
|Leticia Pineda-Boutté||1995-98||Washington-St. Louis||2006|
High school softball
|Jackie Coburn||2002-05||Scottsdale Horizon||2013|
|Jody Pruitt||1990-93||Peoria Sunrise Mountain||2011|
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Reggie Geary sat courtside last week as his 12-year-old son Quincy played in his first AAU tournament of what will be many in his young life.
“All right, easy pass … easy pass … Don’t dribble with your head down!”
Not a word about defense?
Geary is the best defensive player on the ball than anybody to wear an Arizona uniform. During his career from 1992-96, He not only limited the opposing point guard, he helped shut down the other team’s offensive flow. He set the tone for his teammates with his defense when the ball crossed mid-court.
His tenacity and bravado also got in the heads of his opponents, including coaches — Todd Bozeman, formerly of Cal, to name one. One of Geary’s signature moments at Arizona occurred in a 1994 game in Berkeley when Bozeman was whistled for a technical after grabbing an official’s wrist pleading for a technical on Geary, whom he accused uttered a vulgarity at one of his players.
“That was the best psych job of my life,” Geary told the Associated Press after Arizona pulled away to a 96-77 win. “I know what the boundary is. I never crossed the boundary.”
Geary was not shy on the court but he never resorted to name-calling. His defense spoke volumes enough.
During a break in the action of his son’s game at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week, I turned to Geary and mentioned of his sons, including 9-year-old Wesley, “They’ll be good defensive players, that’s for sure.”
“No, no, no,” Geary said with a laugh. “I keep telling them to shoot the ball. I told them their dad played defense for the entire family, so they get to shoot and pass and do the fun things.”
“How about they will be tenacious?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah, they will definitely be tenacious,” Geary answered. “They have that in their DNA.”
Geary, 42, played two seasons in the NBA for Cleveland and San Antonio but his shooting touch supposedly kept him from more. After two seasons in the CBA, he played four years overseas in Israel, Portugal, France and Ukraine. Learning different cultures made him appreciate that the game he loves can be taught and learned all over the globe.
When offered a coaching position in Japan in 2011 — after three years as an assistant at Arizona and SMU — Geary jumped at the chance. He learned by then that coaching was also in his DNA.
“When I was 30 or 31, people kept coming up to me, the right people, Coach (Gary) McKnight at Mater Dei High School, Pete Newell and coaches I worked overseas with said, ‘Man you have a really good feel for this. You should go into coaching,'” Geary said. “It was kind of a natural progression for me. I’ve been really fortunate and blessed.”
Geary and his wife Candace are set to return to Japan by mid-August with their two sons for another 10-month stretch there. It will be the sixth season Geary will serve as a head coach in Japan, the last three with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.
He has established himself as one of the top coaches in Japan earning coach of the year honors in his first season and then leading the Yokohama B-Corsairs to a title in his second year. Geary has also coached American standout Justin Burrell of St. John’s to a player of the year season there. Burrell has played for Geary for most of his career in Japan, including Nagoya now.
“It’s been an awesome experience coaching in Japan,” Geary said. “It’s given me an opportunity to learn my craft. My family and I live in a beautiful country and the people have been very good to us, so I am very happy with it.
“I’ve been fortunate. I am surrounded by a lot of receptive guys who are professional. One thing about Japan everybody gets their work in (with little or no distractions).”
The standards for the game have improved in Japan during Geary’s tenure there. Each team is required to have at least a 5,000-seat arena. “Most teams draw 2,000 to 3,000 fans but many are starting to draw 5,000. The atmosphere is improving. Japanese are very polite for the most part, which is interesting. It’s a growing sport.”
For the first time this year, Geary and his wife got their sons involved in playing organized basketball with the Tucson Spartans AAU program. Quincy was part of the 12-and-under team while Wesley competed for the 10-and-under group.
Quincy and Wesley also learn daily from their father, the best teacher they can be around with his experience playing the point guard (coach on the floor) position under coaches such as Lute Olson and Gregg Popovich.
“Obviously being around the sport their whole lives, they like basketball,” Geary said. “We have to keep them into a competitive environment and playing on teams.
“They’re young. We think in time it’s gonna click for them and hopefully they will be good basketball players.”
Geary is listed at 6’2″ and Quincy already stands past his dad’s shoulders as a middle-schooler. When playing against his age group this summer, Quincy’s feet were noticeably longer than others. The youngster may grow to at least 6’4″ or taller, which means he can either be a taller point guard than most or a prototypical shooting guard and/or wing player. His size will become an asset.
“Quincy knows what to do with the ball,” Geary said. “He’s gonna be taller than me. Give him time. He will get better and tougher and enjoy playing the game more and more.”
Geary added that maturing in a different country will benefit his sons on and off the court later in their lives.
“They don’t know any better; they have adjusted very well,” he said. “They have Japanese friends and they speak some Japanese. … Knowing life is more than Tucson, Arizona or the states will be important in their development.”
While Geary was observing his sons plays last week, his Arizona brethren also occupied Las Vegas as fellow coaches on the collegiate level.
Former teammate Damon Stoudamire scouted talent in the AAU tournaments as Pacific’s first-year coach. Jason Gardner (IUPUI) and Josh Pastner (Georgia Tech) were also here. What they and Geary have in common: They played point guard at Arizona under Lute Olson. Their development as head coaches is not by accident.
Quincy was taller than his 12-and-under teammates with the Tucson Spartans this summer, which allowed him to post up but he also showed a deft shooting touch from the perimeter, something he is focusing on thanks to his dad (Geary family photo)
Eight former Arizona players groomed by Olson are head coaches in all levels of basketball: High school, junior college, college and the pros. Geary also noted that former teammates Corey Williams and Miles Simon have remained involved in the sport as ESPN broadcasters.
“It’s a great thing so many U of A guys are coaching and are around basketball,” Geary said. “To me, it shows they had a great experience. The teaching that Coach Olson and his staff imparted on us was positive. The guys in turn wanted to get the same result.
“It’s great to see Damon doing his thing and all of the guys in the NBA. And Corey broadcasting and Miles broadcasting .. We’ve all stayed in the game so hopefully it’s a good thing and beneficial to our careers and we can build an Arizona network.”
Wesley Geary took home some hardware from a recent tournament in Sahuarita in which the Tucson Spartans 10-and-under team went 5-0 (Geary family photo)
Geary foresees a day soon that he will be part of that network back on the homeland.
“I would love to coach back in the states,” he said. “I had a couple of opportunities this summer that didn’t work out for me, but I feel like I’m getting close to returning, so that’s exciting.
“I prefer to be in the professional ranks. I’ve been there for six years now. If an opportunity came about in college, I would definitely entertain that. But I’ve been over there so long it can be a little difficult time-wise for college. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.”
By the time Quincy reaches his senior year in high school it will be interesting to see where the Geary family will be and what the prospects are for him and Wesley. One thing is for sure: Geary’s kids will be developed on the offensive end. Their dad is making that a mission.
They should also be assertive, and of course, be well-schooled on gaining a psychological edge over their opponent.
Their last name is Geary after all.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.