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Basketball still in Wesley's future

By Rick Kretzschmar rickk@news-journal.com
June 26, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.


David Wesley has his next ultimate career destination in mind. He wants to be an NBA coach.

He knows he's going to accomplish that goal, too. When talking about it, he says, ''When I'm an NBA coach.'' The word ''if'' does not replace ''when'' in that statement.

"I will do my part and let the other stuff take care of itself," said Wesley, with a smile.

The road toward that goal will begin this fall as Wesley has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Texas Legends, a Frisco-based team in the NBA Development League, commonly known as the D-League. It appears Wesley's post-NBA playing career is picking up steam.

Part of that career includes philanthropy, which continued Friday and Saturday as he hosted the Eighth Annual David Wesley Basketball Camp at Longview High School's Lobo Coliseum. Approximately 90 attended the camp, conducted by the David Wesley Foundation, a non-profit organization. The camp was free and included free meals, a camp T-shirt as well as a goody bag.

The camp brings Wesley back annually to where he had his first widespread success, earning all-state honors in 1988, the year he graduated from Longview. Longview retired his playing number (11) in 2008. Wesley went on to have a standout collegiate career at Baylor University, earning the Southwest Conference's Most Valuable Player honor in the 1991-92 season.

Wesley played for five NBA teams - the Hornets, Celtics, Rockets, Nets and Cavaliers - from 1993 to 2007 but it was his first professional experience which he admits has led him full circle to his job with the Legends.

In part because of a perceived lack of height, Wesley played with the Wichita Falls Texans for the 1992-93 season. Wesley says he especially reflects back on that time now, and what assistant coaches did - from coaching to cleaning floors, driving buses and making hotel reservations for the team.

An assistant coach for the Texans at that time was Mike Davis, who led Indiana University to a national runner-up finish in the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and is currently the head men's coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"There's a lot to do as an assistant coach, but that's good," Wesley said. "Mike Davis told me as long as you where many hats, you will never be unemployed."

Wesley said his time with the Legends will also help council NBA hopefuls in other goals of his foundation: youth financial education and fiscal responsibility.

Wesley said it is disturbing to hear stories of NBA peers such as Eddy Curry, Antoine Walker and Derrick Coleman in financial trouble despite earning tens of millions of dollars in their careers.

Wesley said he learned financial responsibility with the Texans, where his per diem for three meals was $10 a day. However, he said that responsibility didn't sink in right away.

"Until I signed with the Hornets (in 1997), I would get money, then spend it. In my first four seasons, I made a million dollars, but I have nothing to show for those years. I was a fiscal failure," Wesley said.

"I want to get the education about money out early. I don't know why there aren't more financial-education courses in high school."

Wesley said his camps - especially his annual Longview camp - will continue in the future. However, Wesley said NBA coaching jobs would create more work around the NBA draft, and his Longview camp could move to later in the summer.

There appear to be plenty of kids anxious to hear from Wesley such as Gaylon Wiley, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Foster Middle School, and Jason Roundtree, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Bramlette Elementary. In a drill to close out Saturday's camp on offensive rebounding and raw determination, Wiley was one of three campers who played one-on-one games with Wesley.

Roundtree said Wesley taught him to always be in the fight and don't quit, even if he's losing a basketball game by 40 points. Wiley said he learned from Wesley to always have a great attitude and never give up, Wiley said he is confident Wesley will be a good professional coach.

"If he teaches like the way he taught us, he'll do great," Wiley said. "I feel like I'm a better player than what I was from the two days I was with him."

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