Coached by former Portland Trail Blazer Brandon Roy, the Nathan Hale Raiders won the Les Schwab Invitational in a stunning victory on December 30. Entering the tournament as the No. 7 seed, they defeated No. 1 seeded Sierra Canyon 67-65, after trailing by as many as 11 points. Blazer’s Edge contributor Ashley Williams caught up with Roy after the game, who was elated with the win and appreciative of support from the Oregon crowd.
“I definitely felt the love. I told people ‘It’s like the magic’s still here.’ The fans pushed me to do some real amazing things as a player, and I told those guys ‘Hey, live in the moment,’ and I thought fans started to kind of jump on our side tonight. Maybe we had a bit of some hometown love because I played here, but I just told the guys ‘Hey, feed off of it; get the crowd into it,’ because I know how great these fans are here. If you play hard and play with respect and respect the game, then they’ll cheer for you. And those guys did that, so I’m just the happiest guy on the planet right now, just with the unbelievable win.”
The Raiders are currently 8-0 in Roy’s first year of coaching—already a stark difference from their 3-19 record the season before. Without discounting the holistic efforts of the roster, the addition of star player Michael Porter Jr. has also been important to their newfound success.
The Raiders take on the O’Dea Fighting Irish tonight, with hopes of maintaining their undefeated season. Roy seems to have found his post-playing career calling and is happy to help these young men be successful, just as the Trail Blazers faithful are happy to support him in his new endeavor.