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From Coach to Author, NAZ Suns’ Damany Hendrix Just Loves to Teach

By Jacob Withee | May 17, 2019

In April of 2018, Damany Hendrix was prepping the Raptors 905 for their NBA G League Finals matchup against the Austin Spurs. He was getting the league MVP Lorenzo Brown and current Golden State Warriors forward Alfonzo McKinnie ready to face off against top talent like Derrick White, who just became a playoff star for the San Antonio Spurs. Just over a year before that Finals series, he was prepping the Justin-Siena High School boys’ basketball team in Napa, California.

Hendrix is now a Northern Arizona Suns assistant coach, one of many stops for a well-traveled 38-year-old. One thing remains constant for him though – he loves to teach.

“This is why I like coaching in the G League because you still get the opportunity to teach guys,” Hendrix said. “I love the college level as well. So that’s my biggest thing, I love teaching the game and helping guys develop and see the game, offensively, defensively. So I really love the G League for that aspect, you get guys that are coming fresh out of college who have to learn NBA concepts and verbiage and language, so it gives me an opportunity to teach and work with younger guys.”

Hendrix has coached in the NBA G League for two seasons, last year with the NAZ Suns under Bret Burchard after his one year in Canada under Jerry Stackhouse. His stop at the professional level was preceded by a short stint in China and several years coaching at the college and prep levels.

From 2015-17, Hendrix was at the helm of the Justin-Siena High School boys’ basketball team, part of the Marin County Athletic League. He had also coached in his hometown at Vallejo High School and at California State University Maritime Academy, an NAIA school in Vallejo, California. Mix in his stint with California State University, Northridge, and several years in the AAU circuit, Hendrix has tasted every level except for the NBA, which is in the long-term plans.

Teaching and the love of the game are the main reasons Hendrix tolerates the instability of where he’ll be one year from the next, a journey he called “one hell of a ride.”

“I got the bug to coach and I’ve been pursuing it,” Hendrix said. “I didn’t really have the desire to play anymore, so I went right into coaching as soon as I graduated.”

Hendrix was a great player in his own right, earning a scholarship to Gonzaga, leading his Vallejo squad deep into the playoffs in 1998. He went on to earn All-State honors at Santa Rosa Junior College and All-Conference honors at Lamar University.

Now, Hendrix plans to work with pre-draft prospects this summer in Los Angeles. In the meantime, maybe he’ll write another book, as his first published work came out three years ago.

His book is called The Pain and the Game, which Hendrix calls, “a personal memoir about my journey through playing and coaching.” It can be found on Amazon, with part of a description that reads, “His love for the game of basketball has caused him and his family much pain and grief. The game that he has loved so much has been a blessing and a curse.”

Thus is basketball, a sport that gives opportunity, joy, unity, hardships and stress. For Hendrix, his journey with the sport is far from over, and you better believe he’ll lead by example, because that’s what teachers do.

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