Portland native returns to Expo as G-League head coach

Josh Longstaff's coaching debut at the Expo

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Before Sunday, the last time Josh Longstaff says he set foot in the Expo was five or six years ago.

"I've been looking forward to this since I took the job," Longstaff said. "I get to coach in Portland, Maine."
 
In July, Portland native Josh Longstaff was named head coach of the Erie Bayhawks. Game two on his Bayhawks' schedule this season was a road game against the Maine Red Claws. The Expo floor is foreign to his players, but familiar territory for him. It's where he tore up the court as a star at Portland High School.
 
"They ask me what made you want to get into coaching and I said I didn't, I wanted to be you, I wanted to be a player," says Longstaff. "This is the second best thing for me."
 
He's earned the title of head coach of a pro team, planning practices and preparing his team for the competition to come.
 
"It's all about the players," Longstaff continued. "It's an opportunity for me to coach these guys and continue this journey with them in my home town, in front of the people that I love and I think about all the time."
 
The love could be felt at his Expo debut. Friends and family piling in, not wanting to miss his homecoming .
 
"I'm really happy for him," says Josh's high school basketball coach, Joe Russo. "He has a lot of support, but it's all well deserved. He's a hard working young man."
 
Hard working and full of humility -- his family says he didn't tell his team that Portland was hometown until his Dad showed up to watch them practice.
 
"That's what he is," says Josh's father, Tim. "We didn't teach him that. Josh has it."
 
Growing as a professional, but holding onto the lessons he picked up when he played here as a teen.
 
"You learn the values of the people here in Portland," says coach Longstaff. "To be humble and work hard, and I just feel like I've tried to carry those values through my NBA career. So far so good."
 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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