Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Men’s basketball alum Jarred Houston ’23 joins NBA G League as assistant coach

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Emerson alum Jarred Houston ’23 goes for a layup against Worcester State on Dec. 3, 2022.

For those who know him, Emerson graduate Jarred Houston ‘23 lives and breathes basketball.

After a decorated five-year career as a Lion—one that saw him log over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds and be named to the 25-Year All-NEWMAC Team, among other honors—there was no doubt he would remain connected to the game in any capacity.

“I knew I always wanted the opportunity to stay in basketball,” Houston said in an interview with the Beacon. “Whether it was going to be coaching, front office, working in marketing for a sports agency, or anything like that.”

Now, Houston will begin his next chapter on the sidelines, serving as an assistant coach and player development intern for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the G League affiliate of the NBA’s Miami Heat.

Not long after Houston hung his jersey up, he began reaching out to Emerson alumni on LinkedIn, expressing his interest in getting involved with the NBA.

“I had the opportunity to go down to Las Vegas for Summer League, which was great,” he said. “A lot of people say it’s a huge networking opportunity. And if you love basketball like myself, it’s a great venue to be at.”

Though he didn’t get an offer at Summer League, a connection reached out to him regarding an opening with the Skyforce.

“Miami’s organization is spoken about in high regard throughout fans and league offices, so it was really a no-brainer at that point,” he said.

Both the Heat and Skyforce are well known for their exceptional player development. Last season, 12 former Skyforce players joined the Miami Heat during their NBA Finals run. This season, 17 former players are on NBA training camp rosters.

Among the “Emerson Mafia” that Houston consulted were Eli Kell-Abrams ‘15, a video coordinator with the Portland Trail Blazers, and Sam Presti ‘00, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder—both of whom also played basketball at Emerson.

“[They told me] it’s really, really hard to get your foot in the door,” Houston said. “And then when you do, you have to keep it open by working hard, as cliche as it sounds.”

Men’s basketball Head Coach Bill Curley also served as a “valuable outlet” for Houston. Curley, the 22nd pick in the 1994 Draft, spent seven years in the NBA across five franchises. He offered Houston a unique perspective on life in the league.

“I talked to Coach Curley throughout the whole process,” he said. “Getting that perspective of what it was like for him, hearing what his opinions are on what I’d be doing or where I could be potentially going, that was super helpful.”

Houston’s responsibilities with the Skyforce will include on-court development with their players, practicing with them on the scout team, and cutting video for film sessions.

“What I’ve heard and what I’ve learned very quickly is, your title may say one thing, but you’re really going to be doing a bunch of different stuff,” he said. “I’ll probably end up picking two-way [players] from the airport, dropping them off and trying to help out in any way the team needs.”

While at Emerson, Houston pursued a business of creative enterprises degree and a master’s in public relations. He says Emerson taught him plenty about self-advocacy and communication, vital skills needed for the workplace and for maintaining professional relationships.

“One thing that Emerson does well when you get in is [teaching self-advocacy],” Houston said. “Being able to talk to these coaches and market yourself. [I’m] taking those tools of what I’ve learned on the basketball court from Coach Curley, and then figuring out how to communicate it to the right people, communicate it properly, and making sure to ask the right questions.”

For current Emerson students looking for jobs in the sports industry, Houston emphasized the need to network, and to not be discouraged by a lack of responses.

“What I heard throughout this whole process is that everyone was once in the spot that [Emerson students] will be in when they’re looking for a job,” he said. “There’s probably a bunch of unopened LinkedIn messages that are sitting in my account now. But, with that being said, there are people that took the time to respond.”

Houston sees Skyforce as an excellent learning opportunity.

“From what I’ve heard [and] a lot of the feedback I’ve gotten, the G League is a great spot to start out, because there’s so much to learn,” he said. “It’s definitely already a different pace from the college level, in terms of some of the actions that are run and stuff like that. [I’m looking forward to] seeing a higher level and higher brand of basketball, experiencing that [and] gaining as much knowledge as possible in a great organization.”

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About the Contributor
Jordan Pagkalinawan
Jordan Pagkalinawan, Managing Editor
Jordan Pagkalinawan (he/him) hails from Burbank, California, and is the Beacon’s Managing Editor for news and sports. A junior journalism student with a minor in Sports Communication, Jordan previously served as the Kasteel Well Bureau Chief, sports editor, and staff writer. Outside of Emerson, he has interned with the CBS Sports Editorial team and currently writes for Last Word on Sports and YRMedia. When Jordan isn’t working on a story, you will find him either playing basketball, listening to music, reading multiple books, or buying a cup of coffee.

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