Brooklyn, Bronx basketball coach named finalist for Junior Knicks Coach of the Year award

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A professional basketball player who coaches in the Bronx and Brooklyn is a finalist in the Junior Knicks 2020 Coach of the Year award.

For Roman Perez, basketball and coaching is his life.

“When I see these kids, it reminds me of me when I was a kid,” says Perez.

Even after getting cut from basketball teams year after year while growing up in Williamsburg, he never gave up and went for his dreams of playing professionally overseas.

He says it's what his father, Dudo Baez, instilled in him. However, when Baez died in 2014, Perez says he felt a new calling.

“Whether it was playing basketball or trying to accomplish whatever goal they have in their life, that feeling of wanting to help others grew in me,” says Perez.

Ever since, Perez has been coaching kids from 8 to 19 years old and even adults while he plays professionally.

He is the coach of the basketball team at P.S. 119 in the Bronx, the middle school across the street, as well as the head of the league at Rodney Park in Brooklyn and the Bronx YMCA league.

His coaching experience led him to create his own organization in honor of his father, which helps bring young players from the Dominican Republic to New York.

“The goal is to make sure no kid is left behind. That's my mission here,” says Perez.

His commitment to coaching, mentoring and giving back caught the eye of the Junior Knicks.

“Win or lose I’m grateful to be a finalist,” says Perez.

He says he coaches to provide opportunities to New York City kids.

He is currently coaching his daughter in the game of hoops and life, and making sure all of his players know he's always there for them.

“No matter what they go to, what they're going through always count on a father figure on and off the court. No matter what it is,” says Perez.

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