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Former pro basketball player Sean Tyson paying it forward
Published Thursday, September 7, 2017 2:59PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, September 7, 2017 10:46PM CST
In a small gym just east of Warman, Sean Tyson is molding the next generation of basketball stars. His passion, he says, lies in player development, and it always has. It just took him his entire playing career to realize it.
“I know that this is something I’m strong at, and I just try to fit in in their development in some way,” Tyson said.
The 49-year-old Baltimore product has been everywhere, playing for Clemson of the NCAA, the short-lived Saskatoon Slam of the early 1990s, professional leagues overseas and NBA training camps. But Tyson says it was when he became an assistant coach in the minor leagues that he discovered his knack for teaching.
“I got a chance to learn the inner workings of professional basketball at the minor league level. I got to see the passion in the guys who just didn't make it to the NBA, and what they wanted to do to get to that next level,” Tyson said. “And seeing rejection and that, seeing a lot of stuff, I just had this burning desire to always want to be somebody who could help them understand what they needed [to get to the next level].”
He now calls Saskatoon home, and for the last 15 years he’s dedicated his time to helping basketball players reach their potential as technical director of Greenwave United, an elite-level development program based in Saskatchewan.
"To me, nothing beats watching a kid get it. If you've been in teaching or anything like education, when you're teaching something, you know that once a kid gets it and gets it, it's that euphoric feeling that you get."
And a quick look at the list of players he’s worked with speaks for itself.
"I've just had a kid here a couple years ago, Ledontae Henton, who just signed with the [Los Angeles] Clippers. I've had JaVale McGee, who's with the Golden State Warriors. I've had Alan Anderson, who's been with the Brooklyn Nets. I've had Jermaine Jackson, who was with the Toronto Raptors."
Currently Tyson is working with Joseph Jumo, a Grade 11 student at Bethlehem Catholic High School. Their workouts together, which Tyson calls “memory overload,” are meant to instill muscle memory and to speed up reaction times in game situations.
"He's experienced. He's been to the NCAA college basketball, so I trust what he's doing,” said Jumo. “I believe he can help me elevate my game to the next level."
And Tyson hopes he makes it there too.
"Everyone uses the cliche of giving back. I kind of look at it as paying it forward,” said Tyson. “Everyone has a dream, but then the realization of that dream comes through a lot of the stuff that I do with players."