CHICAGO - Former Saint Michael's College men's basketball star Jason Curry '95 was named the national Jr. NBA Coach of the Year on Friday during the Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference.
Curry, the president and founder of New York City-based Big Apple Basketball (BAB) who represented the New York Knicks in the Jr. NBA competition, was presented the award by Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, ESPN announcer Fran Friscilla, and Knicks legend Allan Houston. Each of the three finalists received $2,500 for their organizations, with Curry claiming an additional $2,500 as the winner.
Curry bested fellow finalists Anthony Hernandez (Friends of the Taft City Parks, San Antonio Spurs) and Rosalyn Knox (Memphis Jewish Community Center, Memphis Grizzlies) for the honor. He was part of a national pool of 31 candidates, all representing an NBA or WNBA team as their local community's coach of the year. He became one of eight semifinalists in April and was introduced as a finalist just last week.
Thanks to Curry's efforts, BAB has trained and mentored student-athletes since 1999. He is responsible for all aspects of daily operations, coaches the Pro Summer Team, and is the lead clinician for the Basketball Training program. Curry has created and implemented all BAB programs, including the High School Challenge, High School Invitational, Scholarship Games, Shooting Challenge, Academic Eligibility Seminar, Basketball Training, and Mentoring Program. BAB's mission is to provide exposure and assist young people in their athletic, educational, professional, and life-skill development, while providing family- and community-focused programs and events. Visit bigapplebasketball.com for more information.
Curry, Hernandez and Knox traveled to Chicago for the final unveiling, with the Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance announcing the winner as part of their Youth Basketball Leadership Conference. The finalists were selected by a 12-person executive panel, including Carlisle, former WNBA star and Olympian Tamika Catchings, NBA legends Jason Collins and Kiki VanDeWeghe, Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, ESPN analyst Doris Burke and TNT host Ernie Johnson, along with fan voting via social media.
According to a press release, the finalists were selected because they have not only been successful in bettering their athletes on the court, but have also shown their main focus was to make these athletes better people in their communities. These coaches have established and fostered meaningful relationships with their athletes and their families over the years, and have incorporated valuable life lessons into every aspect of basketball they coach.
In March, Curry received the news about his being named Junior Knicks Coach of the Year through a call from Houston, a two-time NBA All-Star and 2000 Olympic gold medalist. Curry and seven of his youth players were later honored before 19,000 fans in Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game with the Sacramento Kings. He received a $5,000 grant while advancing to represent the Knicks on the national stage.
A 2009 inductee into the Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame, Curry was a two-time captain as one of the greatest point guards in program history. He graduated first all-time in career assists (514) and free throw percentage (82.0%), second in three-point shooting (40.5%) and third in steals (156) while scoring 897 points and averaging 1.9 assists to every turnover. His 48.4 percent three-point clip in 1993-94 remains the school standard.