PASADENA (May 9, 2019) – Former Caltech men's basketball player Bryan Joel '15 has been named by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as a representative on the 2019 Under Armour 30-Under-30 Team, recognizing 30 of the most outstanding men's college basketball coaches under the age of 30 across all three NCAA divisions.
Joel is coming off his fourth year as an assistant on the University of Chicago's men's basketball staff under Head Coach Mike McGrath. His coaching duties include involvement in recruiting, player development, game planning, scouting and statistical analysis.
"The recognition came as a surprise to be honest, but it's a great honor to have been nominated and to have my name on the list," Joel said. "All of the other coaches have great careers in front of them if they aren't very accomplished already."
Caltech Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger recruited and coached Joel over his four year career starting in Fall 2011 and immediately took notice of his work ethic and drive to better himself each time out on the floor.
"Bryan is and always has been amazing," Eslinger said. "I often tell our current players and the guys we're recruiting that when you think about the ultimate leader who also has a desire to get better, physical attributes, the mental side and understanding of what it takes to be the consummate Caltech scholar athlete that Bryan is the total package. He came in with great character, great commitment and a desire to compete and make his teammates better while holding himself to a really high standard of accountability.
He was always one to ask himself, 'what do I need to do to take the reigns of this program and get us to the next level?' That's what made him great then, and that's what makes him great now."
As a player with the Beavers, Joel averaged 7.8 points per game over his four-year career. He scored in doubles figures 37 times, hit four or more three-pointers in a single game 11 times, and posted single-game career highs of 22 points and five steals on both the offensive and defensive end. He started every game as a senior after earning captaincy his junior year and helped lead the Beavers to their best conference season in 44 years. He finished his career in Pasadena as the team's third all-time in three-point field goal percentage, third all-time in steals and fifth all-time in assists. He is also in the top 10 for three-point percentage in a season and steals in a season.
At Caltech, Joel learned to direct his energy and focus towards progress rather than obstacles. Although the men's basketball team snapped its 310-game conference losing streak the year before Joel and his classmates got to campus, the program still had plenty of work to do before becoming relevant in the SCIAC landscape.
Under Eslinger, Joel learned to embrace the future and that regardless of whether the scoreboard is showing a win or loss, there is always going to be room for improvement.
"The old leading narrative about Caltech basketball focused on the challenges we faced and the circumstances surrounding basketball where we were," Joel said. "We wanted to create a different narrative that focused on our play and our success. In order to do that, we had to start winning and that meant we couldn't afford to give our attention to the things outside of our control. Coach Eslinger always had a bigger vision of what we were meant to accomplish and it's something we were constantly chasing. With every step forward, there was something else he had us motivated to reach for."
Since joining the UChicago staff ahead of the 2015-16 season, Joel and the Maroons have gone a combined 61-39 with a slew of ranked wins in tow. After graduating Caltech with a mechanical engineering degree, Joel realized during his senior season with the Beavers that he wanted to continue to his basketball journey in addition to pursuing his educational endeavors. The DMV-native went on to earn his master's degree in predictive analytics from Northwestern University in 2017 and has since continued on as a Maroons coaching staff mainstay.
Coaching has given Joel the opportunity to contribute to a "relationship based program," and further establish his philosophy as a coach who, above all else, values his relationship with his players. Now a member of the prestigious 30-Under-30 Team, Joel has the platform and recognition to help bring along young players much in the same way as his leadership under Eslinger helped players like Kc Emezie '16, Nasser Al-Rayes '17, and David Kawashima '18 cultivate successful careers in the orange and white.
"I just want to coach in a manner that I can be proud of and find success doing it," Joel said. "If I do right by my players, my fellow coaches, and the game of basketball, then I believe I'll be in the best position possible to succeed and prepare student-athletes to move on in their lives and careers as capable and motivated individuals."