When Chief Sealth (Wash.) High freshman boys basketball coach Tre'Von Lane tells his players he understands what they're going through, they tend to take his word for it. After all, he was in their shoes just three years ago. Now, at the tender age of 17, the senior is splitting his time between leading the Seahawks' varsity basketball team as one of the area's best point guards and serving as the head coach of the school's freshman team.
It's a unique arrangement borne of Lane's incredible maturation from a struggling freshman with a 1.9 GPA to a 17-year-old senior sporting a sparking 3.5. According to the Seattle Times, the senior was prodded by mentor and tutor Lisa Hara, who began working with the senior after he was diagnosed with a learning disability following his freshman season. The senior not only improved his grades and leadership on the court, he became more vocal and active in helping out his peers off it.
"I enjoy helping kids out with basketball, because I never had that in my life," Lane told the Seattle Times. "I want to help out the community the best I can."
He's earned an early start to what may be his future calling thanks in part to motivation from a summer crisis. Hara, his inspirational tutor, was struck by a serious stroke, leading Lane to promise a GPA increase above 3.0 in honor of the woman who helped him turn around his high school career. He's outdone that pledge, and simultaneously convinced Chief Sealth varsity basketball coach Colin Slingsby to give him a shot at coaching as part of a self-proposed senior project at the school.
"This whole year is, basically, all for [Hara]," Lane told the Times. "So she can get better and see that I did good."
The high school senior is taking on loads of responsibility with his part-time coaching gig. In addition to washing the freshman team's uniforms, Lane also has to develop a research paper, video package about the team and final presentation to earn credit for the senior project. The assignment also requires at least 25 hours of community service, a number Lane has dwarfed as he approaches an expected 200 by the end of the freshman schedule. The Times reported that he has accumulated some 750 service hours across his four high school years.
It may be irrelevant to his eventual grade in the project, but Lane's team has made sure he'd earn high marks for success on the court, too. During a recent game, the Seahawks trailed by six at halftime, leading to a long halftime speech from Lane, who made a handful of formation shifts and closed with an inspiring sentence: "I know you guys have the heart to win this game."
Lane was right. In that matchup against Bainbridge (Wash.) High, the Chief Sealth freshman turned the aforementioned deficit into an 18-point lead in the third quarter. They held on to win with ease, inspiring reflection from Lane on the euphoria he gets from a victory as both a coach and player.
"You get to see the kids smile," Lane said. "Coach Slingsby sees it all the time when we win, but to know that you weren't playing out there, you were coaching them, it's a lot different. I like it a lot better, because they're happy and it comes right back at me that I did my job and they performed."
His own coach can relate to that feeling, one he hopes that his protege gets to feel plenty more in the future.
"[Lane's transformation is] one of the biggest gains I've seen any kid make in the 10 years I've been here," Slingsby, who began coaching high school basketball at only 19 himself, told the Times.
"He's exceeded my expectations. I think that, if he chooses, he's got a really bright future as a coach."