Basketball has provided Tanner Massey a myriad of experiences.
This one, however, will be a lot farther away and much more exotic.
After spending three years with the NBA Gatorade League (formerly the NBA Development League) on the coaching staff of the Erie (Pa.) Bayhawks, the Conway native has elected to take the overseas route.
Massey recently landed a job in Japan as the top assistant coach with the Hiroshima Dragonflies, a member of the B.League. He said other coaches he knows who either coach there now or have in the past told him it was a good opportunity.
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“They said I would love it,” Massey said.
Massey served as a coach’s assistant with Erie last season after spending two years as a paid intern with the club.
“The D-League is a great place to be, but it had at this point kind of run its course for my career and this was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” he said. “Everybody that I talked with – whether in the NBA or D-League or other pro basketball coaches – they all encouraged me to do it and felt that it was a 100 percent go [situation], you know, I needed to do it for my career.”
I’m not going to miss anything by not being in the D-League this year. It just worked out really good and everybody encouraged me to do it within basketball.
Massey has never been overseas; therefore, this gig will present a unique challenge.
“I was excited because it was something brand new,” he said. “I’m going to learn so much from it, that’s the main thing. I’m going to learn more about basketball. It’s a different style of basketball over there, different players. Just the way it’s played, that’s one area where I’m going to learn.”
Another learning process will be adjusting to a new way of life.
“It’s going to present its own challenge with the language barriers, the food – I’m sure it’s going to be a little bit different – but it’s just a way for me to learn more about the world, life, basketball, relationships,” Massey said. “The opportunity to learn was something I really valued and I didn’t want to pass it up.”
The Dragonflies finished last season 46-14 and return “everybody from last season,” Massey said.
“I’m excited to work for that team,” he said. “They’re really good.”
One challenge, he said, will be fitting in with the team. The other will be settling into a new life.
I’ve got to play catch up with that while also doing my best as a coach to have them to believe in me and believe in us as a staff. I don’t think that will be a problem. I’m confident with our staff. I’m looking forward to that challenge, though. You’re going to a winning organization and you’ve got to take over and direct them, so it’s going to be fun to do that.
“My life’s going to change a lot. I plan to soak up as much of the culture and language and the food and all that as much as I can. I want to soak up this experience all season,” Massey said. “I’m going to meet new people and I want to live how they live and be as involved in their culture as possible. But I plan on staying in touch with everyone back home as much as I can. I mean, it’s a 12-hour time difference, so it’s feasible. My life’s going to change a lot. It’ll all be for the best, for sure.”