After seeing Josh Gershon pop up on Twitter, I knew we had to be in touch. The man is living a dream -- his dream and I am sure many of your dreams: scouting the future of basketball. We caught up with Gershon, an up-and-coming scout, and learned his awesome story.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm 33, live in Hermosa Beach, California and work as a basketball scout for a living. Being a basketball scout was a dream job of mine as a kid and I'm very fortunate to be able to have made it my career. Between doing what I love for a living, residing on the beach and having incredible friends, family and colleagues, I feel like I have a dream life and am working hard to assure that it will be a lifetime dream life.
2. What is Scout.com and how did you get involved in it?
Scout is a digital media network that has a large collection of websites, many focusing on college sports team coverage, but the Scout brand has websites specializing in college basketball and football recruiting, NFL, MLB, etc. I covered University of Arizona Athletics during and after college for Scout's rival, Rivals.com, and was able to work my way up to being offered a job by Scout as a West Coast recruiting analyst in 2011. I was recently promoted to National Recruiting Analyst and NBA Scouting Analyst; as we grow into the NBA space, I'll be evaluating college prospects for draft coverage.
3. What makes Scout.com unique?
As far as basketball recruiting, we have four full-time experts and the amount of resources we pour into scouting and covering the entire country is second to none. The majority of websites scouting high school basketball have just one full time expert and Scout has invested into dominating this market space.
4. Does scouting lead to coaching and would you coach given the opportunity?
I've had some opportunities to get into college coaching but it's not something I currently -- or ever really -- foresee myself being interested in. I'm investing everything into being a great basketball scout and think that getting involved in coaching would only distract me from that path. I have several close friendships with coaches and use those relationships to continue to gain knowledge about the game but being an actual coach isn't an interest of mine.
5. Which player do you look forward to in this draft? Any surprises?
It sounds obvious because he was the best player in college basketball this season, but since he's not unanimously considered a top 10 guy, I'll go with Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky. He's a legit 7-foot power forward with terrific footwork, scoring and shooting ability, ball skills for his size and craftiness. Add that to the fact he's mentally elite and an intense competitor and you have someone who is bound to overachieve at the next level in the same way he did in college.
6. Did you play basketball as a kid? Were you any good?
I played up until high school and eventually got distracted by everything else going on when you're that age and stopped trying. I mean I was a 5-foot-8 power forward and there's not a big market value for those anyway and I certainly wasn't anyone that someone would have considered a good player. But I was extremely competitive and really only cared about defending and rebounding, which is funny because those are the characteristics I'm drawn to as a scout. Understanding that no matter how hard you try, there are many things you just can't overcome physically has been an important lesson for me as a scout. As hard as I tried, there was nothing I could do to be a good basketball player, despite my love for it. I'm thankful I've been able to take my passion for the sport and make it my life's work.
7. What was your Jewish upbringing like?
Even though I had a conservative bar mitzvah and education, I was raised as a Reform Jew and my family went to synagogue together every week growing up. We observed Jewish traditions at home and celebrated high holidays. My parents raised me to be proud of my heritage. The Jewish community in basketball is very strong and loyal and there have been several Jews who have believed in me, supported me and helped me grow as I've moved up the ladder. I'm very thankful to have that kind of support.
8. Lakers or Clippers? Mamba or CP3? Jack Nicholson or Billy Crystal?
Clippers. CP3 is one of my favorite players. Love his mental toughness for the point guard position. Intense competitor with extremely high skill set and basketball IQ. It would be hard to care about winning as much as he does. So definitely CP3 over Kobe. I feel bad going against Crystal and his awesome sense of humor, but Nicholson is one of the coolest actors ever. When I think about Los Angeles, which I now call home, he's one of the first people I think of.
9. Anything else we should know and where can we follow you?
One of the best parts of the job for me isn't just developing and growing into a successful scout, but also the opportunity to help kids get scholarships and chase their dreams. There have been several instances in which a player, often from a tough situation in which his family couldn't afford to send him to college, didn't have any scholarship offers and I've helped them land a full ride. I'm fully invested into maximizing my talent and having a great career but along the way I hope to have a big impact on the community as well and I feel like that's starting to happen and it's a very rewarding feeling. You can follow me on Twitter -- @JoshGershon