John C. Longton III
In an unheard of move, Mike Long is stepping down as the Head Coach of the Hudson Valley men’s basketball team and is trying out to make his own roster as a player.
Long recently found out that he has one year of eligibility left that he hadn’t used while playing at Siena from ‘64-’68. Upon receiving this information, Long immediately stepped down as the head ball coach and called for a press conference.
“No one can run my system like myself so that’s why I’ve made the decision to come back as a player for the 2016-17 basketball season at Hudson Valley Community College,” said Long.
The last time Long played in an officiated game was in 1968, but in that year he led his team in scoring and rebounding and believes that the game hasn’t changed much and he could easily do the same.
“The biggest advantage that I have is I can shoot the ball, rebound and get to the rim,” said the coach. “Did I mention that I can finish with both my right and left hand?”
Long seems pretty confident about a successful return the game, but at what cost will his team pay for the coach’s roster spot?
The team is essentially full for next season, making it so that Long’s addition will mean the subtraction of a player on the roster. The move has caused a rift in the locker room and some players have been outspoken about their feelings on Long playing for the team.
“I’m just worried that I won’t get my minutes or shoot as many shots as I’d like with Long on the floor,” said an anonymous player.
“I normally don’t listen to what coach [Long] says when he’s calling the game from the bench, but now I have to tune him out when he’s closer to me on the court,” said another unnamed player.
Long doesn’t seem to be worried about the divide he has created. He’s just happy to be able to get back on the court and showcase his talent.
Besides being a good player, Long brings over 50 years of experience to the court and can easily read a defense or know how to run his offense.
“I know how to get shots and if I’m not open I know where people are going to be,” said Long.
“I know when to speed up or slow down the tempo of the game,” he added regarding the coaching component of gameplay.
Long has either played in or coached about a million basketball games and has seen every scenario that can play out at least twice.
When it comes to being a first year player on a new team a little hazing comes with the territory. In all of sports it is custom to make the new guy run errands, carry bags or even get duck taped to the hoop.
When asked how he would react to all of this Long stated, “Hazing is not an issue and I won’t be easily intimidated.”
One aspect of the game that Long can get reacquainted is calling a timeout.This past year the NCAA implemented a law in which a coach is no longer able to call a timeout. It has caused an uproar in the coaching world with a lot of backlash. Coaches across the nation are protesting the rule change and would like to see it reversed. Long considers himself ahead of the curve in terms of timeouts.
“Part of the reason why I’m coming back as a player is so I can call a timeout again,” said Long. “Man, I miss calling timeouts.”