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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Assistant coach has championship aspirations

Straughn coached Team Takeover to a win at Nike’s Peach Jam basketball tournament in 2018. Photo courtesy of SJU Athletics

For Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Brenden Straughn, the path to St. Joe’s and working with Head Coach Billy Lange has long been mapped out.

“It’s a crazy small world where 10 years ago when coach Lange was the head coach at the Naval Academy I used to work his basketball camps,” Straughn said. “We didn’t have a real relationship or anything, just it’s funny how 10 years later I ended up working with him here at St. Joe’s.”

However, before he would arrive at St. Joe’s in late April of this year, Straughn spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant with the Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball team. From 2016 to 2018, he worked as an associate head coach for an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) program, Team Takeover Basketball, a team that is nationally ranked, according to Coach Lange.

“Brenden [Straughn] has a unique background in that he was with arguably with the nation’s top or top five transfer program in Team Takeover,” Lange said.

Highly respected in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area, Lange said he knew Straughn would be a great fit for his coaching staff in his first year on Hawk Hill.

“I made some calls to some people that I know in the DMV and asked for young, up and coming, hungry, ambitious assistants that do a great job of building relationships and connecting and almost every person I called said Brenden [Straughn’s] name,” Lange said. “So I got on some interviews with him and felt pretty good about him and he is a great guy.”

And for Straughn, he said the opportunity to join Lange’s staff at St. Joe’s was not one to be passed up.

“He’s been at the highest level, he’s got a lot of world and life experience, and in my career I want to be mentored by someone who can make me better,” Straughn said.

On top of that, the chance to be at a traditionally high level basketball school with hopes of continuing that history and tradition spoke to Straughn.

“Obviously I’ve followed St. Joe’s as far as it’s a traditionally basketball rich school, in a basketball city,” said Straughn. “I felt it was a good opportunity to be at school were we can make an impact on young men’s lives, recruit good players, accomplish some great things and add onto the tradition that St. Joe’s already has.”

Straughn, who played a big role in helping redshirt sophomore transfer Myles Douglas find a new home here at St. Joe’s, is highly regarded for his recruiting skills and ability to connect with students athletes.

“Coach Straughn coached me in AAU and that was the biggest thing for me, being able to play my game here and be comfortable,” Douglas said.

For Lange, Straughn’s ability to connect with his players was one of his strengths.

“I think he tells the truth and I think he is as relatable as he is to today’s youth be- cause he’s not afraid to tell them the truth and I think guys respect that,” Lange said. “They respect him because he’s real with them and I think that’s what young people truly want.”

And for Straughn, he said the best part of recruiting is the opportunities he provides to these student athletes.

“For me, it’s giving the opportunity to set their lives up and being able to play basketball is of course a key to go to college and to get an education, to be debt free,” Straughn said. “I think that’s the best part.”

Straughn said he is ambitious, and despite this being his first year, he has set high goals for the Hawks’ future.

“We’re going to work hard at it and make sure that we can win [the] [Atlantic 10] championships, reach the Final Four, get to a national championship, [and] win a national championship,” Straughn said.

But Straughn said he understands there is much work to be done, and wants the fans to know that him, as well as the rest of the coaching staff are committed to putting in the time and effort to achieve their goals.

“Those are all big picture things but I don’t want to just get caught up in that, you’ve got to work to that,” Straughn said. “It won’t happen overnight, but we are committed to putting in the work and the process to try and achieve those things.”

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