Most people enter a new job with some degree of trepidation, uncertain about what their new surroundings and responsibilities will bring. But when Maze Stallworth came on as a new assistant basketball coach at St. Catharine College, it was like he was a long-time member of the Patriot family. He seemed to know everything about the program, players and coaches.
“I played in high school with Brandon Johnson (the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer) so I always kept up with St. Catharine,” said Stallworth who played at John Hardin High School. “And I knew Coach (J.T.) Burton for years when he would come to Morehead. I consider him a great friend.”
Indeed, Stallworth speaks of a lot of people with St. Catharine connections as friends. He played at Morehead State University under Donnie Tyndall who coached at St. Catharine in 1997. Wade O’Connor, another former St. Catharine coach, was Tyndall’s assistant at Morehead. And last year Beau Braden, a former assistant at St. Catharine, became an assistant coach at Morehead.
But Stallworth, a mainstay on the best teams of Tyndall’s tenure at Morehead and a grad assistant there after his graduation in 2010, sees his basketball buddies as more than just friends. “I look up to Coach Tyndall and Coach Burton. They are my mentors. I want to get where they are in coaching.”
Stallworth also lists Artie Braden, his coach at John Hardin when the Bulldogs went to the State Tournament, as an important mentor in his basketball career. “One of my goals was to play professionally which I did. Now I want to get into coaching and use what these coaches have taught me.”
The professional stint for Stallworth came last season when he played in the NBA Development League for the Tulsa 66er’s and later in the season for the Maine Red Claws. He now will focus on getting St. Catharine back to the national tournament for the second time in the last three years.
“I think we have one of the most talented teams in the nation,” said Stallworth. “I know we have a chance to be the best defensive team in the nation.”
Stallworth was noted at Morehead for his offensive prowess. The 6-4 forward is the all-time 3-point shooter for the Eagles. He hit a school record 283 treys.
St. Catharine head coach J.T. Burton has to feel that Hardin County has put out some good basketball products. For the upcoming season three of the four Patriot assistants hail from Hardin County (the fourth coach is Hans Desir from Miami, Fla.).
In addition to Stallworth, Brandon Johnson is joining Burton’s staff. That group already included Arthur Latham, a graduate of North Hardin High School who is second leading career scorer at St. Catharine behind Johnson.
“I have lost some good coaches since I have been here but that is what you expect,” said Burton. “You want them to work hard and have the desire to move on to bigger programs.”
Burton added, “These coaches know our system, they know the players and they get along great with them and with each other. It helps to have guys who have been at St. Catharine because they really take pride in our program.”