Juan Nunez begins his coaching debut this year. Previously, he has coached in high school and in Campus Rec. This year he coaches the team he used to play for: UTM White.
Last season, both of UTM’s Division 1 men’s basketball teams (the Blues and the Whites) made it to the top four. The teams are now ready for the start of a new season. Nunez, now at the helm, expects a lot of his team for this year.
Nunez, a fourth-year student, also serves as the commissioner of the UTM Campus Rec intramural team. His job is to make sure all the referees get the schedule and all players are registered, and to keep stats for the teams and individual players. Nunez says that although his workload is full, it will not affect his coaching.
“The White team won the Division 2 championship two years ago,” Nunez reminds us. “Now we’re playing in Division 1; we have two teams playing in Division 1.”
As the coach, Nunez often needs to push his players. He points out some possible improvements for the Whites if they are to make it to the finals, such as not to let the team fall to one player.
“Get the team chemistry going. It’s also the little things,” he says. “[Like] guys going for the rebounds and going for loose balls.”
His team’s basketball style focusses on defence. “Every coach would focus on defence,” he says. That means getting rebounds, causing turnovers, and filling the lane.
Nunez shows a lot of commitment to his team; they practise at least twice a week. Nunez focusses on executing plays, running defence, and doing lots of cardio. He also works with his players one-on-one.
There are a few new faces on the team this year, and Nunez is very excited to see them play. “They bring a lot of energy to the team,” he says.
The team starts the season next week against Woodsworth College at the RAWC. Having the home advantage will help, he says. “The home crowd brings energy to the players, like when they cheer when we score a basket.”