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Knapp goes undefeated in first season as coach

Knapp goes undefeated in first season as coach

Former Siena College standout Scott Knapp is a part-time basketball coach earning full-time rewards.

Former Siena College standout Scott Knapp is a part-time basketball coach earning full-time rewards.

Although he loves his day job as a pharmaceutical salesman for dermatology products, Knapp’s part-time job as the head coach of the Schenectady Legends paid off in a big way, as he led the team to the Independent Basketball Association fall division championship and a perfect 13-0 record.

“I love my regular job, and I do it well, but this was fun,” said Knapp, who graduated from Siena in 2001 as the school’s all-time leader in three-point field goals (203) and free-throw percentage (89 percent). The former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year is also 12th on the Saints’ all-time scoring list with 1,381 points.

“I always wanted to do something like this, and I’ve had some opportunities over the years, but this was just something that I was really interested in doing.

“I played with E.J. Gallup over in Utica, and he’s the one who suggested that I look into becoming the Legends’ coach. It couldn’t have worked out better. This was a great experience for me, to put together a group of guys I like personally and have a great amount of respect for. We all had a great time, and we all knew each other. It’s almost like we’re all best of friends. It’s really been great for me personally.”

Knapp said he wouldn’t have taken the job if not for the fact that the roster is loaded with Capital Region players.

“Everybody on the team is either from the area originally, or played at a local college and then stayed around here. That was a big part of what I wanted when I talked to Steve [Legends owner Steve Miller] about the job. I wanted to bring in guys that I knew. I felt very comfortable with all the guys here. I think even if we didn’t pay most of them, they would have wanted to play just for the love of the game. Some of the guys thanked me just for the opportunity to play and be part of this championship.”

Schenectady County Community College product Lloyd Johnson, a 6-foot guard, was the Legends’ leading scorer, and scored an IBA championship-series record 61 points in the title game, a 154-137 win over the Kenosha Ballers. Johnson scored about 30 points a game, while Gallup, who played at Gloversville High School, University at Albany and Coastal Carolina, added more than 20 an outing in the high-scoring league.

College of Saint Rose products Shea Bromirski, Brian Ledbetter, Kareem Thomas, Zach Bye (Scotia), Clayton Longmire and Sheldon Griffin; Amsterdam High School grad TJ Czeski (Wagner); Georgia Tech grad Brad Sheehan (Shaker); Schenectady High School products Tyrone Butler and Andy Robinson; and Iona grad Anthony Bruin (Colonie) rounded out the roster.

“We play with a 22-second clock in this league, and it forces you to play up-and-down,” said Knapp. “Especially when you get up by a lot of points, you can really get some wild scores. But the scores were a little lower when you had games that you had to grind it out. It’s definitely a high-octane kind of league.”

Knapp said he’s not expecting his coaching success to draw much attention.

“This was something that fit into my schedule,” he said. “I would think that something like this would help my resumé, but I’m not expecting anything major to come out of this. My wife works for the state, and we just can’t pick up and move. I like to keep things pretty simple, and I like staying put in one place.

“Coaching puts a lot of pressure on your family life. I watched Paul Hewitt put so much time and commitment into coaching when he was at Siena. People see the high salaries and think it’s an easy job. When you are winning, there are no job security issues, but the time commitment is not a 40-hour week. You’re usually spending 70 hours a week, at a minimum.

“This worked out great for me and the guys.”

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