At Long Island Lutheran High School, most people know John Buck as a former LuHi student and a math teacher whose energy and passion is loved throughout the school. After school, they know him as the Varsity Basketball Head Coach of one of the most successful basketball programs in New York.
In his three years as head coach at LuHi, he’s won two state titles while coaching star players such as Jordan Allen, Achraf Yacoubou, and the Connecticut-bound Jamaican sensation, senior Kentan Facey. In an interview with the coach before his season opener against the Queens School of Teaching , he said that he did not imagine himself coaching until his senior season at Wake Forest.
“Before then, I was just focused on playing basketball,” coach Buck said.
Soon after his graduation from Wake Forest, Buck returned to LuHi and joined the varsity coaching staff. After a couple of years of serving as an assistant coach, Buck was promoted to head coach after former head coach Brian Carey retired.
In his first year leading the team, the Crusaders finished fourth in Class A and came in fourth in the SNY Invitational. Two years have passed and Buck, along with his coaching staff, have a better idea on how to approach the invitational and its pressure.
“The first time we got in the invitational, we were so excited, but we might’ve been a little too hyped up for the first game against [Benjamin] Cardozo” Buck said. “This year, we have a lot of experience. It doesn’t take much to fire this team up. They just go out there, and play their game, and do their thing.”
The Crusaders have a good amount of experience, returning six players from last year and adding several talented transferred from other elite schools. Speaking of players, Buck said near the end of the interview that one reason he coaches is because of the talented and gifted players he works with every year.
“The group of kids is different each year,” Buck said. “It’s exciting to coach different players from different backgrounds.”
Buck and his Crusaders look to expand upon their success in this year’s SNY Invitational.