By Zach Shubella
Photos by Matthew Lamy
A lot of youth basketball players have the dream of someday meeting their hero from the NBA, the person who inspired them to practice and play every day. Many would settle for just walking out onto the professional team’s court, or watching a game in person.
For Justin Jones and Alan Lang, all of these are realities; their dads (Brad Jones and Antonio Lang) are assistant coaches for the Utah Jazz basketball team in Salt Lake City. Both Justin and Alan play basketball for their high school, Judge Memorial, and they are inspired by the Jazz players and coaches each and every day.
“I talk to the players a lot,” Justin said, “but I usually talk to the coaches more because I know them a lot better and have known them for longer.”
While the player’s and coach’s life revolves around basketball, they have a lot of information about life to impart as well. They have imparted a great deal of wisdom to both Justin and Alan, ranging from basketball advice to advice about life in general.
“One thing I learned is that you should be smart with your money no matter how much you make,” Alan said.
Alan is a junior this year, and aspires to play basketball in college and possibly even beyond. He says that the Jazz players and coaches have played a big part in shaping this dream.
Justin is a senior this year, and while he knows he wants to keep basketball in his life, he isn’t sure if he wants to keep playing organized basketball, like in college.
“There definitely is a part of me that wants to stay involved with basketball just because my family has been in basketball for a long time,” Justin said, ”but in the end it’s what I really want that will drive my decision.”
Whether or not he chooses to continue to play basketball, the lessons the players and coaches have imparted on him will help guide his future. There are certainly a lot of benefits that come with being a part of the Jazz organization.
“There are many perks,” Alan said. “We get all the giveaways and if we want something clothing wise, we can basically just ask for it.”
However, while the clothing and accessories are nice, they really aren’t what makes being a part of the organization so good; it is the experience and the contact with such great individuals.
“They are like my family,” Justin said. “They want the best for me so they all push me to be the best I possibly can be in sports and all other things.”
Even when the two stop playing basketball (however long that may be) the lessons they have learned and the experiences they have had will be with them for the rest of their lives.
Judge Memorial Catholic High sophomore Zach Shubella wrote this story & Judge Memorial student Matthew Lamy took the photos as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.