After growing up in Brooklyn, Nolan Adams will be returning to the borough in which his basketball career commenced. Adams was recently named as the new men’s basketball head coach of the NYU-Poly Fighting Blue Jays from Downtown Brooklyn.
He is a lifelong member of Good Shepherd parish, Marine Park, and attended St. Edmund Prep, Sheepshead Bay. From his days playing CYO basketball to his current post, Adams has learned the vital lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play.
Adams played power forward at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, for two years and concluded his playing career at St. Joseph’s College, Clinton Hill.
He’s excited about his new coaching opportunity, his first head coaching job after spending three years as an assistant coach at Mt. St. Vincent.
NYU-Poly is a Division III program that plays in the Skyline Conference. Since Mt. St. Vincent and St. Joseph’s are also in the conference, Adams will have the advantage of being familiar with many teams in the division.
He believes his experience in the Skyline Conference will help with his transition as a head coach. Though it’s a competitive conference, Adams’ experience scouting his opponents may pay dividends for the first-year man.
Adams will prepare himself to coach against his two mentors: Brian Nigro from Mt. St. Vincent and Joseph Cocozello at St. Joseph’s. Adams will use the lessons he learned under these coaches to embark on a hopefully successful career.
The Fighting Blue Jays are coming off an 0-25 season, so Adams knows he will have to be patient in turning the program around.
“There’s only one way to go which is up, but the only way to go up is work hard,” said Adams.
Despite last year’s poor season, he has high expectations. His players have been motivated to improve and are putting it on themselves to take positive strides. The players were not happy with last season’s results and have been committed since the day Adams took over as coach.
“Hopefully, we can put out a much more competitive team than we have the last couple of seasons,” said Adams.
The team will be adding five new freshmen to the fold. Though Adams had a late start on recruiting due to the timing of his hire, he believes his new class can contribute right away.
Another advantage that Adams has going for him is his age. He’s only 30, so he feels he can connect with his players. His original goal was to be a head coach by age 30, and he has accomplished this feat. Adams is not too far removed from his own college days, so his experiences will allow him to relate to the players. This sense of trust will go a long way.
In addition to his coaching career, Adams works as a seventh-grade social studies and law teacher at Ditmas Street H.S., Ditmas Park. He enjoys both these professions and that he is able to do both simultaneously.
“I love both jobs equally,” said Adams. “I don’t have to give up teaching to coach, and I don’t have to give up coaching to teach. They fit perfectly together.”
As a Catholic, Adams plans on implementing the values he has learned throughout his schooling. Of these, he hopes his players can give back to the community whenever possible. He has dedicated his life to service, so he would like to see his players follow in his footsteps.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned in my community and in my parish is the idea of service,” said Adams. “That’s something that I’m definitely going to try to instill in the guys.”
These community service events can serve as team-building exercises as well. The Fighting Blue Jays will have several new players, so trying to build team chemistry will be a priority.
Growing up in Brooklyn has had a major impact on Adams’ life. He’s ecstatic that his first head coaching opportunity will be in his backyard.
“I love Brooklyn,” said Adams. “To be back here coaching, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The season starts the second week of November, and Adams plans to have his team ready to play.
Carnesecca Honored at SJU Commencement
At St. John’s University’s 141st Commencement Exercises on May 15, legendary men’s head basketball coach Lou Carnesecca was honored for his 50 years of service to the school. He received the St. Vincent de Paul Medal at the Queens Campus ceremony. Carnesecca has served as an ambassador for SJU and amateur basketball for over five decades.