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Former MCCC Basketball Teammates Finding Success in Coaching


West Windsor, N.J. -- In 2010-11, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) sophomore Anthony Obery '11 (A.S., Criminal Justice) and freshman Stanley Tuchez '12 (Business) practiced and played on the same basketball court. The former teammates were reunited at MCCC Dec. 15, but this time as coaches on opposing sides of the court. Tuchez is in his second year as an assistant coach for the MCCC Vikings, while Obery is in his second year as an assistant coach for the County College of Morris Titans. 

Following their years at Mercer, both players went on to four-year colleges.  Obery graduated from Felician College in 2014, playing two years of basketball for the Golden Falcons. In his second season, he was selected for the All-State NABC Good Works Team, which recognizes men’s basketball players for leadership and community service, for his service as a youth pastor for United Deliverance Tabernacle in Newark.

After graduating from MCCC, Tuchez transferred to Rutgers University (RU), where he served as a manager for RU’s Division I men’s basketball program, an assignment that provided lots of lessons about the game. Following his senior year, Tuchez spent the summer as an intern with the men’s basketball office at Princeton University, further prepping him for coaching at his alma mater under MCCC Head Coach Howard Levy.

Tuchez says his return to Mercer has been a perfect fit. “I gained a great deal of self -confidence at Mercer and formed strong relationships with my now colleagues. Mercer gave me a great foundation to begin building my coaching career.”

Tuchez says he finds it easy to interact with Mercer’s current roster of players. “Since I was a player here not too long ago, I feel that I can relate to our guys on a more personal level.  I have been through similar successes and struggles they are facing on and off the court today.”

Obery made his way to Morris thanks to his former Felician coach, Eric Powe, who left Felician to take the head coach position at Morris. When Obery learned of the assistant job there, he jumped on board. “I told Coach Powe right away that I would be grateful to join the staff.  I wanted to have an impact on young men’s lives and help other players get to the level of basketball that I know they can play -- and to see the smile on their faces after helping them achieve their goals," Obery said.

Former teammates Stanley Tuchez, left, and Anthony Obery are assistant coaches at Mercer and Morris, respectively.
Obery and Tuchez are pictured in the back row, center, after the Vikings' come-from-behind post-season win that advanced them to the Region 19 championship. (Assistant Coach Miles Smith, Jr., far left, is the current head coach at Johnson State College in Vermont.)

Both Obery and Tuchez are grateful to Mercer and Head Coach Howard Levy for their success thus far.  “Coach Levy has been a mentor to me and has taught me life lessons during my time as a player and as a coach.  The three years I spent at Mercer completely turned my life around,” Tuchez said.

He added that basketball taught him a lot about who he was as a person. “I struggled as a player, but the constant effort and dedication I applied to basketball showed me that I could accomplish great things in my life outside of the sport.” 

Obery also recalls his Mercer experience as pivotal. He remembers a special moment with Coach Levy when the 2009-10 Vikings went to the Division I National Tournament in Danville, Ill., when Obery was a freshman. “I was sitting on the bench after Coach took me out of the game as we were about to lose. He told me, ‘Let those guys finish the game. As sophomores next year you will be great. Get ready.’  From that moment my mindset began to change and I realized I could be a great leader. I believe I went from a boy to a man,” Obery said.

Obery notes that coaching is a dream fulfilled. “All my life I wanted to give back to others as my coaches gave to me.  I had coaches who believed in me and who wanted to see me succeed.  When I walk in that gym every day for practice, I want my players to get better – not just in basketball, but in life.  Not everybody can be Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but they can use basketball as a tool to get their education. If basketball takes you to the next level, that’s great, but you can also use your education to take you higher.”

While the two players were together for just one season, they clearly made a lasting impression on each other. Obery says Tuchez was the true definition of a teammate.  “Stan had the biggest heart and when he got in the game you knew he would give it his all.  If we would argue as a team, Stan would be the one to bring us back where we needed to be.  I’m truly proud of him, as this is something that he always wanted to do and I believe this is a great opportunity that we both have been blessed with.”

Tuchez has equal respect for Obery.  “He is a leader on and off the court.  He played with so much passion and energy. He cared for and pushed us all to bring the out the best in each other.  Freshman year was the best I ever had as a player and Mercer’s team was the best I have ever been part of.  It owe a lot of that to Ant and my other former teammates.”

Tuchez and Obery clearly have similar game plans as they draw from their own experiences to assume leadership roles in coaching. And while the Vikings were the 75-71 winner in the Dec. 15 contest against Morris, both Obery and Tuchez are demonstrating their winning ways on and off the court.

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