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February 20, 2013

Ray's the bar


“Everybody knows if you have a team that’s full of talent what the expectation is, but when kids have to work and kids have to improve, they see the reward of their hard work. That’s what coaching is all about.”

Senior Sam Maidens pointed out Preston has touched so many with his lessons over the years.

“I go to class in a hospital and people say, “Oh, you’re on Mr. Preston’s team. I know him. He coached me. People come up to our team that we don’t even know. He just knows everybody and he’s coached everybody.”

His resume is littered with accomplishments.

Twenty-six times, he’s guided the Wildcats to Delaware League division titles. He’s steered them to 11 league championships, eight Section Four Class D titles, four appearances in the state final four, two of which ended with losses in state championship games. He’s also been inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame and the Section Four Hall of Fame.

Those listening closely Tuesday might have gained some insights into his coaching prowess.

One example was when he told a guard not to go for an offensive rebound because that left no one back to protect against a fastbreak.

“I need somebody back!” he said.

Or when he yelled to his team to keep the ball in the middle of floor on its press-break, so Stamford couldn’t use the sidelines as extra defenders.

Or when he told his perimeter defenders to not reach.

Or when he pleaded with his team to box out.

“He knows our abilities and wants us to play to our abilities,” said Haight, who also had seven steals. “He won’t settle for anything less.

“He’ll tell us, this is where you are and I expect you to be there,” she continued. “If you’re not then you’re going to sit the bench. It makes you want to work hard.”

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