Duane Eason

Mountain Pointe's new coach, Duane Eason, played one year at New Jersey City University.

(Special to AFN)

The search for Mountain Pointe’s new basketball coach has unearthed someone new to the Arizona basketball scene in Duane Eason.

Eason spent this past season on the coaching staff at Phoenix College after spending most of his coaching career New Jersey, including three years at American History High, where he compiled a 36-41 record.

He takes over from Hosea Graham, who announced he was resigning before the season ended and went 48-55 in four seasons.

One of the things that led to Graham’s departure was a fractured relationship between coaches, players and parents.

Eason feels he can get a handle on the job based on his past coaching stops, which includes club and college levels.

“A big part of my success has been because my guys have stuck together. It’s important to create that brotherhood and family bond and build a lot of trust and togetherness off the court and on,” Eason said in a release. “It’s about us, the ‘we not me.’”

Eason inherits a young but talented roster led by guards Malik Salahuddin, who was a captain as a sophomore last season, and Khlid Price.

Salahuddin averaged 11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists, while Price finished the year averaging 9.7 points and 2.3 steals. Junior Amarion Cash was fourth on the team with a 9.2 scoring average and added 3.3 rebounds.

Eason’s own playing career was one year at New Jersey City University, which came after a baseball career that saw him get drafted three different times. He also spent time at Brookdale Community College and Troy State University.

His approach to education and coaching was formed during his high school days at Hackensack High. As she kicked him out of class, his 11th grade teacher told him, “All you athletes are the same. If you’re not challenged, you don’t perform.”

“My passions for teaching and coaching go hand in hand,” said Eason, who teaches now at Maryvale High. “I want to be the best English teacher and for my students to have the highest scores.

“I love the challenge of explaining Othello or another piece of literature in ways that students who think they don’t care about it or don’t understand it can make a connection.”


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