Support our Sponsors
  • St. Johns Dobbs Ferry ER
  • Masters School - Dobbs Ferry, NY
Rivertowns Sports

First-Year Coach Has Masters School Boys Basketball Team Thinking Big

• Bookmarks: 99 • Comments: 1

January 29, 2023

By Tom Pedulla—

Junior guard Adam Bello does not mince words when asked about the recent history of boys’ basketball at The Masters School. “We were the joke of our conference,” he said.

No Fairchester Athletic Association opponent is laughing now. The Panthers are making tremendous strides under first-year coach Joey Kuhl, a former director of operations for Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino at Iona, and the future appears to be blindingly bright.

Support our Sponsors
  • Listening Caring - St. Johns Dobbs Ferry
  • Hastings Alumni Association

After it won only three games last season, Masters’ ability to split its first 10 games was heartening. The record included the first league victory in four years and the first home win in three years. The school did not play two years ago due to the pandemic.

“The buy-in is there. The belief is there. We’ve got to keep getting better,” said Kuhl, 29. “We’re a long way from where we want to be, but I couldn’t ask for better kids, better effort, a better administration.”

The native of Austin, Texas has done everything possible to succeed in his first head coaching opportunity. He worked from 2012-2017 for the San Antonio Spurs and their team in the NBA Developmental League. He served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech before joining Pitino more than two years ago. He cites Pitino as a profound influence.

“He is an absolute savant when it comes to the game of basketball. There is nothing he hasn’t seen,” Kuhl said. “He is a genuine innovator and there aren’t many of those in basketball. So the chance to be around him every day was invaluable. Just trying to keep up with his mind was one of the most difficult tasks I will ever have. He’s one of the best coaches ever for a reason.”

Kuhl brings Pitino-like intensity to his new position. “He’s brought a passion we haven’t seen in the past,” said senior Chris Gatty, a member of the varsity since he was a freshman. “The team has really rallied behind him. He’s motivated us to build for the future.”

There used to be only occasional film study of opponents. Now, it is done on a regular basis. At one recent session, one player raised his hand. Instead of asking a question, he wanted to suggest a certain strategy. Kuhl’s eyes lit up.

The gym opens at 7 a.m. every school day for those who wish to enhance their shooting skills. Typically, more than half of the 16-player roster attends. More emphasis is being placed on time in the weight room and a stepped-up strength and conditioning program.

“I’m a serious basketball guy,” Kuhl said, “and I’m giving them a serious basketball environment.”

Players are excited by their progress, individually and as a team. “We’re making a huge jump,” Bello said. “Now, we’re actually serious contenders and pushing for the playoffs.”

Player development is Pitino’s top priority. It is the same with Kuhl. Bello’s emergence as the Panthers’ leading scorer is among the most significant breakthroughs.

“In previous years, I haven’t been as confident,” Bello admitted. “I found my role as a scorer and not just a passive player but an attack-first player.”

Gatty is providing tremendous leadership. Kuhl praised senior Noah Kassel-Yung for his consistency. Edward Tam is a sophomore guard with the mental toughness that allows him to be an outstanding defensive player. Jake Raab is making an impact as a freshman and joins Tam as a building block for the future.

Kuhl knew a great deal about The Masters School because his girlfriend, Mariah Pena, teaches English in the upper school. Athletic Director Logan Condon needed less than one day to persuade Kuhl to take on the once-strong program.

“He has brought the full aspect of building the student-athlete,” Condon said. “We feel with Joey we really have a cornerstone for building the program and building a solid foundation for the future.”

Read or leave a comment on this story...

Support our Sponsors
  • Congratulations Ardsley High School Graduates
  • Congratulations Irvington High School Graduates
  • Dobbs Ferry PTSA congratulation to the graduates!
  • Hasting High School Graduation Congratulations
  • Piccola Trattoria in Dobbs Ferry - make a reservation
  • Listening Caring - St. Johns Dobbs Ferry
  • The Rivertowns Rotary - scholarship awards
  • Andrea Martone - Houlihan Lawrence
  • Temple Beth Abraham religious school

Tarrytown Schools Awarded Grant for Free After-School Program at Middle School

By Rick Pezzullo--- The Tarrytown School District, in partnership with Family Services of Westchester (FSW), has been awarded a grant...
Read More

Mt. Pleasant Pays $300,000+ To Law Firm To Cover Four Months’ Work On Sleepy Hollow Voting Rights Case

By Barrett Seaman-- It was only last January when the Town of Mt. Pleasant announced that it had retained Baker...
Read More

Body of Drowning Victim Recovered in Hudson

By Rick Pezzullo--- The body of a swimmer who went missing Monday in the Hudson River off the coast of...
Read More

Dream State: A Fusion of Synths and Shakespeare Fosters Human Connection at River’s Edge Theatre

The production combined the old and the new, challenging audiences while enveloping them in a dreamlike atmosphere by Lilly Sayenga--...
Read More

Tarrytown Seeks Help to Control Crowds at Halloween Parade

By Rick Pezzullo--- The Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown area has long been known as Halloween country, and it seems more people than...
Read More

Prisoners of Love

PRISONERS OF LOVE: Romancing the ultimate bad boys By Krista Madsen– In the footage from the Ted Bundy trial in Miami for...
Read More

Kiddie Ride Derails at Carnival in Dobbs Ferry

By Rick Pezzullo--- Holiday fun at a local carnival temporarily came to a frightening halt July 4 when a kiddie...
Read More

Final Primary Tally Shows Latimer Won Ten Of Twelve Westchester Districts

By Barrett Seaman— Though the election night tally gave County Executive George Latimer a decisive 17-point primary win over incumbent...
Read More

Veterans Banner Program for Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow

By Rick Pezzullo--- The villages of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are looking to honor its veterans in a special way....
Read More

Tarrytown’s Jonathan Oakes Wins State Junior Championship

By Barrett Seaman— Tarrytown’s Jonathan Oakes has done it again. Last year, Tom ewrote in The Hudson Independent that Oakes,...
Read More
99 recommended
1 notes
bookmark icon