Basketball Queensland is made up of dedicated individuals who are passionate about athlete development, especially the coaches and training staff. The transition from player to coach has become an increasingly popular pathway for athletes and we’ll be seeing some familiar faces in new roles as the inaugural NBL1 season quickly approaches. We’ve had a chat with several former QBL players about what encouraged them to pick up the clipboard.
To continue the series, we sat down with Jeremy Kendle the 2020 NBL1 North Head Coach South West Metro Pirates Men.
Player To Coach – Jeremy Kendle
Jeremy Kendle has been a staple of Queensland basketball for several years now. The US native first came to Toowoomba in 2015 after a successful stint in the Morocco Basketball League following an outstanding college career.
In his first game with the ‘Neers he recorded a 31 point triple-double, exploding into the Queensland basketball scene (however, this was overshadowed slightly by Steve Kluck’s backboard shattering dunk during the same game). He averaged over 30 points a game and earned league MVP in his inaugural QBL season, personally taking Toowoomba from last place finish in 2014 to an appearance in the semi-finals.
When the opportunity for a position as a player-coach on the South West Metro Pirates presented itself, Jeremy jumped at the idea of playing in Queensland again, having previously played for the Pirates in 2017 after returning to Brisbane to trial for the Bullets.
“This is where my wife and I decided to set up shop, where we met and got married, we love Brisbane and the community here. It was an easy decision.”
Inspired By His Coaches
Jeremy, like many others in his position, was inspired by the coaches in his life, having gone through several levels of basketball.
“From Andrej Lemanis to guys like Anthony Corcoran and Ben Harvey, seeing the influence and the ways a coach can change not just a basketball career but a life. That’s probably my biggest reasoning, coaches have the opportunity to make a big positive impact on and off the court.”
Knew Early On He Would be a Coach
Even during college, Jeremy’s coaches knew he would pick up the clipboard eventually.
“My coach, Scott Davenport, always thought I was going to coach one day, so from an early age I knew that was something that could possibly be on the cards.”
However, an unfortunate ACL tear during a FIBA 3×3 tournament in Malaysia put Jeremy out of action and gave him time to consider transitioning into coaching.
“I always kind of knew and the last few years it’s just how my career has panned out. It was just a matter of time.”
For Jeremy, being a player and a coach is not just about the game, but what you do with your position.
“Basketball for me is a platform to share my passion for the game and life.” ~ Jeremy Kendle
“Sports is just a platform you can use to invest in people, serve and inspire, teach, motivate and give hope to people. Basketball for me is a platform to share my passion for the game and life. Sports is universal, it bridges the gaps, it connects people, it has a way of uniting people.”
Making an impact off the court is just as important as coaching on the court according to Jeremy, and communication is a big part of that.
“I hope that as a past and current player, my team feel comfortable enough to approach me about anything. Success rises and falls on leadership and leadership to me is how you influence and connect with people.”
The Pirates’ season kicks off on May 2, when they’ll host Townsville at Hibiscus Stadium.