Maine native in viral video coaching Carmelo Anthony

About 24 hours after superstar basketball player Carmelo Anthony shared a video of an off-season workout in New York City, over 1.4 million people have viewed it directly.

In the video, Anthony, who plays for the New York Knicks in the NBA, drains 8 shots on 8 attempts, and that apparently has New York fans excited as their star player works to return from knee surgery.

What most viewers of the video won’t realize though, is that the guy running around on the court with Anthony is a former Maine hoops star from Portland High School.

Longstaff at Bryant College (now Bryant University).

Longstaff at Bryant College (now Bryant University).

Josh Longstaff, the 2001 PHS graduate who won local attention in his high school days for his cold-blooded shooting ability and intense will to win, has steadily risen through the NBA coaching ranks ever since he got his big chance several years ago as a video assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.

Around this time last year, Longstaff was hired by the Knicks after they made NBA great Derek Fisher their head coach. Fisher and Longstaff had worked together in Oklahoma City, and with the move to New York Longstaff went from the video room to the sideline bench.

Longstaff with Fisher before a recent summer league game in Las Vegas.

Longstaff with Fisher before a recent summer league game in Las Vegas.

Now, as he looks to continue building player/coach relationships with Knick players in the off-season, he’s putting in time at Anthony’s gym in Manhattan.

“Michael Jordan had the gym built, and Carmelo gets to use it whenever he wants,” said Longstaff in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“The gym is really cool,” Longstaff elaborated, “you’re walking on 32nd Street and then there’s just these double doors with Marvin the Martian looking at you.”

“It looks like you’re going into a dark alley and then you open up the door and there’s this immaculate gym. It’s just incredible, it’s called Terminal 23 for Jordan’s old jersey number.”

He touched on his working relationship with Anthony, and his outlook for the upcoming season after a disappointing campaign in the 2014-2015 go-around:

“Carmelo’s driven to help turn this place around and it’s exciting to be a part of it. We were working on the triangle offense, he’s getting really good at it. He’s got a great personality so we click, he’s funny and loose most of the time.

You can’t really hear me in the video, but I was getting on him a little bit. He’s great to work with and easy to rebound for, you just stand under the basket and you’re fine.”

Longstaff warming Anthony up before a game last season.

Longstaff warming Anthony up before a game last season.

When asked if he ever feels the pressure building from the intense New York media, he responded as coolly as he used to in big moments all those years ago playing at the Portland Expo building:

“We’re so involved in building the franchise back up, I don’t even notice much of the outside influences.

I’m doing what I love, I feel like I haven’t worked in five years. I’m lucky, I think being from a town like Portland has really helped me keep things in perspective and stay hungry.”

Longstaff (third row, second from the right) celebrating with his Portland High School team after winning the Maine state championship in 1999.

Longstaff (third row, second from the right) celebrating with his Portland High School team after winning the Maine state championship in 1999.

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.