Metro Detroit Basketball Coach Instills Values, Integrity & Leadership Skills
Obeying the Rules and Strict Discipline Shapes Lives of Youngsters
Brandon Neely, Sr. knows a thing or two about the game of basketball. He is consumed by it. He eats and breathes the game. A self-confessed basketball junkie, he has turned the sport into an occupation. Affectionately known as “Coach Boe” to his players and parents, he is no ordinary coach. His commitments to the boys on his various teams know that he means business. He is all about teaching the players how to master the game, and to work on their skills until it becomes second nature. You can’t play for Coach Boe if you aren’t serious about putting in the practice time and giving it everything you’ve got to be the best.
At 5’10”, Coach Boe was a standout player at East Catholic High School in Detroit where his team won two state Championships in 1984 and 1986. He was a Junior College All-American at Macomb Community College, and he also attended Ferris State. In ’86 his AAU Team won a national championship alongside teammates former NBA stars Derrick Coleman and Doug Smith along with Missouri University stand-out Nate Buntin. As he continues his involvement with the sport, his passion is developing his players athletically and emotionally. Teamwork and unselfishness are requirements. He also does not allow the players to talk or dribble the ball while he is giving instructions.
“They can’t hear me if they are distracted”, he says. “What is most rewarding to me is seeing a kid develop. I have worked with 8 year olds who are just petrified and shy when they first get on the court, and a few practices later they blossom into really good players with a higher level of confidence”
Coach Boe’s everyday schedule consists of playing basketball, coaching basketball and watching basketball on television. He admits that it is all consuming, and he says that if basketball didn’t come on TV, he wouldn’t need one because beside the news, he rarely watches anything else. “On a weekly basis, I am all over the state of Michigan and with my AAU teams I travel outside the state. I’m really busy with the game.”
With his son, Brandon, Jr. as his side-kick and assistant, the two have made a business out of training, coaching, and developing teams around Metro Detroit. Besides AAU, he coaches teams at West Bloomfield’s Jewish Community Center. Brian and Liz George drive make two weekly 160 mile round trips so that their sons, ages 9 and 11 can play on Coach Boe’s teams. Brian says his town doesn’t have a program as good as this one and he’s a big fan of the coach’s techniques.
“I never met a coach that relates so well to the boys. He can tear a young man up and raise him up all in one sentence.”
Coach Boe devotes the majority of his time to The Family Basketball Organization which he describes as one of the best in the state. The league consists of boys from 5th to 11th grade representing public, private and parochial schools from across the state. In order to play on one of Coach Boe’s teams, a player must meet the challenges of a tough try-out. Even some of his best players sit on the bench, because the competition is stiff.
Coach Boe considers former L.A. Laker Magic Johnson to be the best NBA player of all time. “At 6’9” people didn’t realize how fast he was for a big guy; and he was a great passer also.” His favorite current players are LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.