By Ronald Hanaki
On March 31, Moravian College named Justin Potts, assistant coach of ESU’s men’s basketball program, as the new head coach for its men’s basketball program.
Coach Potts has served as the assistant coach to head coach Jeff Wilson for the past thirteen years. He also graduated from Moravian College in 2000, so this is a homecoming for Potts.
Potts said, “You start as an assistant coach and work your way up with an aspiration to be a head coach one day, and Moravian is my alma mater.”
He was quick to credit Coach Wilson for helping him develop as a basketball coach.
He said, “Coach Wilson has done a great job preparing me for this opportunity.”
So how will Potts change the basketball program at Moravian College?
“I’m going to keep it successful. I’m not going to change much. I will bring the same system and style from ESU but add my own wrinkles,” he said.
As for recruiting, Potts is “looking to attract and recruit the same type of players as ESU.”
“I’m looking for hard-working student-athletes who are willing to buy into our program at Moravian: Guys who are invested on and off the court; Guys who can pass and shoot and have good all-around games and are interchangeable; Guys who are long and athletic and can play at an up tempo pace,” said Coach Potts.
Pat Riley once said relying on the 3-point shot was like chasing fool’s gold. Clearly Potts disagrees, as the 3-point shot is a staple of ESU’s basketball program.
“I believe in the 3-point shot. The 3-ball stretches the floor and makes the team better in the post. You see that with teams like Golden State in the NBA,” said Potts.
It may not be coincidence that Golden State and ESU are both called the Warriors.
Naturally, the highlight of his 13-year career at ESU was the 2013-2014 season when the Warriors went 30-2.
Potts said, “I’m hoping to accomplish something similar at Moravian.”
As for last season, Coach Potts said, “The expectations were high. The team played well but not consistently well enough night in and night out. We probably left a few wins out there on the floor that cost us in the end.”
Coach Potts said, “I invested 13 years here, so there are a lot of memories. I’m going to miss the times spent with Coach Wilson. I’m going to miss being around the team and the traveling and the practices.”
He continued, “I’ll miss the success, the friendships, and the day-to-day stuff.”
Coach Wilson, who is in Indianapolis, Indiana for the NCAA’s Final Four, was kind enough to offer his thoughts on the new hire.
Wilson said, “I feel great for Justin and his family. It’s a tremendous opportunity. Moravian is a perfect fit for him. He is going home to lead a program, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Wilson continued, “[Coach Potts was the] best assistant coach that a head coach could have. I’m happy for his family, but his leaving will leave a hole that is tough to fill.”
Of course, since Moravian College is a Division III school and ESU is a Division II school, the mentor and his protégé will not face each other on the basketball court.
Potts said, “I want to say thank you to the ESU community. It’s been a great thirteen years. I have a lot of warm relationships, and I will be rooting for and keeping my eye on ESU. ESU has been great to me and my family.”
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