Reaching 1,000 points is a milestone in any high school basketball player’s career.  It takes commitment to the sport and love of the game.  This has only been achieved three times at the Academy, and all were basketball players on our Varsity Boys’ team.  I credit much of these players’ basketball successes to 20-year coaching veteran, Steve Pancoski, our Varsity Boys’ Basketball head coach.  “Coach P.” has coached all of our 1,000-point scorers: Stephen Pedersen ’08, Devin Dadigan ’06, and most recently, Nathan W. ’13. Coach Pancoski is as dedicated as any of his players, and from the middle school years through graduation, he motivates them to practice and encourages them to develop their talents.

In Coach Pancoski’s words: “Reflecting upon Nathan’s 1000-point accomplishment, I find it very fitting that it came on his signature move, a slashing drive to the basket. Nathan has blended his athletic abilities with his basketball skills very nicely over the course of his career.

Above and beyond the 1000 points, I find Nathan’s actions surrounding the event to be quite admirable. Many may not know this, but Nathan has dedicated this season and all his accomplishments to former teammate and friend, Reuben Mitrani ’10, who passed away last fall. Nathan traded his #3 jersey for Reuben’s #5 jersey this season, and it has served him well. I came to find out that after this game, Nathan posted on Facebook that he dedicated his 1000-point accomplishment to Reuben, his family, and his team.  To contemplate all of these things while competing to win a high school basketball game, as well as score your 1000th point, illustrates the depth of Nathan’s character and the quiet, reserved class with which he carries himself around the basketball program.”

Every good coach wants the very best for his or her players and will provide opportunities for them to reach that potential.  These opportunities may include offering summer workouts or open gyms, visiting colleges, or even providing inspiration.  As a former coach, I know the challenge is not spotting talent but rather, watching a talented player fall short of achieving his or her potential — and that is why witnessing player success at this level is so meaningful.  For certain, a coach’s extra attention can make all the difference in helping a student achieve success in high school and beyond.  It is our honor to play this very important role in the lives of our student athletes and to celebrate their many remarkable accomplishments alongside them.

CLICK HERE to watch the news clip about Nathan on WHP-21 news!