Local coaches up for Jr. Knicks Coach of the Year
by Bryan Fonseca
Feb 27, 2019 | 2065 views | 0 0 comments | 210 210 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joann Pinnock
Joann Pinnock
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Jason Curry
Jason Curry
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Two Queens based basketball coaches, Joann Pinnock and Jason Curry, were recently announced as two of five finalists for the Junior Knicks Coach of the Year Award, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery.

Pinnock is the varsity coach at Mary Louis Academy, and is also executive director of Positive Direction, a program that serves children ages four to 17 through basketball, a title she’s held for 28 years.

Curry is president of Big Apple Basketball, which is also very active in the community, building relationships through partnerships with high schools and student-athletes across the metropolitan area.

Pinnock was nominated by a former player, Reana Mohamed, and one of her coaches, Karen Miller, for the honor. She is also very active with the Lupus Foundation of America.

“We do tournaments that attract kids from all over the New York City area,” she said. “We did a big charity game for lupus because Coach Miller has lupus.”

Positive Direction also hosts food drives and SAT college prep programs while mentoring teenagers preparing for their next level of education.

“My kids also do community service,” Pinnock said. “Whether it’s coming back and working with even younger kids or working in nursing homes. We’re a high-end academic school, so the young ladies are definitely encouraged to do a lot more than just play basketball.

“At Positive Direction, our young men and women come back,” she added. “We actually keep track of them all the way through college, so that when people need to find jobs we can network for them.”

Curry offers free basketball clinics to underprivileged children.

Through Big Apple Basketball, the work he’s done for nearly 20 years includes the Big Apple Basketball Invitational, a two-day showcase where they sponsor around 15 high schools from the metropolitan area serving about 250 kids, inviting fans, media and college coaches from around the country.

“In addition, people outsource us to come run clinics and mentoring programs for kids within their programs,” Curry said. “We also talk to parents about other things outside of basketball and ways they can achieve their goals.”

Curry adds that it’s important for him to help the many kids who lack the resources to be involved in sports.

“The reality is, most of those kids have a high interest in basketball, but it was something in which basketball was kind of the carrot,” he said. “Technically it’s a basketball program, but the reality is that those particular kids we’re dealing with have so many personal and family issues, so it is a great opportunity for us to be able to connect with kids outside of our personal brand.”

Fans can vote for their favorite coach by visiting the Jr. Knicks Twitter account and retweeting posts for #CoachJoann or #CoachJason. The winner will be announced on court when the Knicks host the Sacramento Kings on March 9.

The winner will also earn a $5,000 grant for their program and be entered into the Junior NBA Coach of the Year contest.

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