In the sport of basketball, there are quite a few names that stand out at the mere mention of the sport. Most of them come from the most popular basketball league on the planet, the NBA. However, that’s not to say that there are homegrown talents that aren’t exceptional at the game. It’s all about recognition, but most of the time, the stories that we know are of the people at the frontlines.
The players are always at the heart of the game. The players are the ones who are most recognizable to an audience. Oftentimes, we forget that the coaches play a vital role in a basketball team. A basketball coach can make or break a team. Exceptional coaches can push players to their limits and make them succeed.
That’s where Coach John Saintignon comes in, a world-renowned basketball coach who was an exceptional collegiate player back in his hay days. His story is one of true inspiration, rising from adversity as an adopted child in a foreign country. Saintignon didn’t know who his birth parents were because he was given up for adoption and raised by a loving family in Tucson, Arizona.
He played college basketball when he enrolled at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In his collegiate basketball career, he became the NCAA’s leading scorer in the entire USA in 1985-86. He was an exceptionally talented player, averaging 31.2 points per game.
He finally graduated from the University of California, San Diego, where he transferred and earned his degree in Economics. Eventually, he took up a Master of Arts degree at Liberty University and graduated in 2012. His career as a world-renowned head coach began at Oregon State University, where he was hired as part of the coaching staff. After three whirlwind seasons, he got an offer to become the Head Coach of the Culiacan Caballeros, a team in Mexico’s top basketball league LNBP.
As exceptional as he was as a player, he was even more gifted as a head coach. And he has the achievements to back it up. He was jumping from country to country, coaching different teams of different nationalities, and always coming out on top. What Saintignon was doing was only possible because of his sheer passion for the game of basketball.
After traveling around the world to become the head coach of various international teams, Saintignon became an independent talent scout for the LA Clippers. He looked at players from Poland, Croatia, and Italy with his discerning eye. He even went to the NCAA to scout for some talent with the help of his connections.
Last year, in 2019, he became the replacement coach for the Saitama Broncos in Japan. He was tasked to bring stability to the team, and he once again delivered. Vastly improving the team’s performance, they were playing the best basketball of their lives. However, the long-running B League season came to a sudden halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Japanese team was 20 games away from finishing the season, but they were a definite playoff contender due to Saintignon’s guidance.
Saintignon is an inspirational figure, and so he shares his wisdom with others through his book entitled “Take Your Shot, Make Your Play!” In this book, Saintignon recounts his successes and failures, which eventually led him to where he is now. He shares inspirational stories to help others succeed as much as he has on and off the court.
With everything that Saintignon has achieved in his lifetime, he passes on the knowledge that he has attained. It’s a great read and is truly inspirational. The book helps others reach for their passions and dreams just as John Saintignon did.
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