From overseas basketball to local coach, Redmond’s Maarty Leunen is back on on his home court.
The Redmond High School 2004 graduate basketball standout helped the Panthers win a state title in 2003.
“We had a great showing up in Portland, beat Hillsboro is the championship game,” Leunen said. “Still remember that game like it was yesterday, the celebration afterward, coming back to Redmond and having the parade.”
He then took his talents to Eugene, playing for the Ducks.
During his junior year the team won the conference tournament and unto the NCAA tournament.
“We made the elite 8 that year so, ended up losing to Florida.” he said. “They ended up winning the national championship.”
“Being the in-state kid, where I had a large following was obviously pretty cool at the same time.”
Leunen was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round, but he did not make the team.
So, he decided to go overseas and play in Istanbul turkey.
“Which was a great experience going from Redmond, Oregon, to Eugene, to Istanbul, third largest city in the world,” Leunen added. “A little bit of a culture shock by at the end of the day it was one of the best years of my life.”
He played summer basketball for the Rockets for four years, while still playing overseas before making the decision to play overseas a permanent one.
Leunen played 11 years in Italy and one year in Germany, playing against some of Europe best players like Dallas Maverick star Luka Doncic.
Now he is one year retired from the league and Thursday night concluded his 12th annual youth basketball camp.
“Teach them a few things not only about being a great basketball player, but being a good student, good person, just trying to relay what I went through while trying to develop these kids at the same time,” Leunen said.
The camp saw 120 kids register.
He just wrapped up his first year on the high school coaching staff, helping the team reach the same ranking his team was in school, number one.
“I was kind of nervous coming back,” Leunen said. “As a player, now you’re on the other side of the sideline as a coach, but it has been great, very rewarding trying to teach these young kids how to play the game.”
Leunen says he’s giving back to the community and the program that was so good to him and he plans to continue helping coach the Redmond Boys high school basketball team forever.