Fresh off a championship season, members of the Albany Patroons basketball organization took time out to speak with students in Peter Gaddy’s Sport Management class.
Head coach Derrick Rowland, general manager Michael Corts and point guard Jerel Scott visited Watervliet High School to share their personal stories, experiences and wisdom about the game, education and life.
Coach Rowland, whose career includes college basketball, a stint in the NBA and playing for the Albany Patroons in the 1980s, said an important mission for him today is to inspire younger generations. He spoke about the character traits needed for success on and off the court.
“You must have a positive attitude, be respectful, be willing to work hard, and set goals,” he said. “Be determined to further your education. That means go to school, do your homework, pass your classes, and do not be disruptive.”
Player Jerel Scott, a basketball standout and graduate of Bishop Maginn High School, encouraged students to follow their dreams, but also understand that sports is not everything.
“Stay in school. I know that sounds corny and whack right now, but one day you will look back and remember what I told you,” he said. “Listen to your teachers, guidance counselors, and parents. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”
Ahead of the presentation, students read team biographies and prepared questions for their guest speakers.
When a student asked the general manager how the organization advertises the team, Mr. Corts responded: “That’s a good question. Social media is big for us because it is free and reaches a wide audience. We also have a sales team that reaches out to local businesses through emails and phone calls for corporate sponsorships and group sales.” He added the Patroons also use paid radio and television ads to promote the team and sell tickets.
As the presentation wrapped up, Coach Rowland offered this advice to students: “We all have talents, but you have to set realistic goals for yourself,” he said, noting that only about two percent of student athletes go on to play sports at the professional level. “To be successful at anything, you have to be disciplined, make good choices and understand the commitment it takes.”
Mr. Corts added: “No matter what you do in life, make sure you are passionate about it because that will help ensure your success. Be confident in your abilities, and be passionate.”