3rd woman takes reins of PSAL boy's varsity team
The drive to prove herself has always been strong, first as a player and now as a coach as Albana Gega steps in to become just the third woman to be a head coach of a PSAL boy’s varsity basketball team, taking over the reins this season at Thomas Edison H.S.
As a star at Forest Hills H.S. back in the early 2000's, Gega was a solid contributor who thrived on her hustle, drive, and desire. Those are the attributes that Gega is now hoping to instill in this young group of Inventors as she looks to put her stamp on a team that she believes has a lot of upside for the future.
"There is a lot of potential and for me it comes with instilling that fire and fuel into the kids, but I am extremely hungry to get started," Gega stated.
Gega is hungry to help get Thomas Edison back to near the top of the Queens PSAL, something she hopes can happen very soon, but she is also hungry to prove that she belongs as a female in a male dominated world.
Outside of Ruth Lovelace at Boys & Girls H.S and Anastasia Bitis at Maspeth H.S. there haven't been women who have made the jump to coaching on the boy’s side in the PSAL. Gega though sees this as an opportunity to prove herself that she is first and foremost a coach, ready to once again do whatever necessary to show that she belongs.
"As a female growing up and playing basketball with guys all my life I have always had to work ten times harder to defend that I should be on the court with the guys," Gega explained. "So this feels as if I am doing it again but in a coaching aspect."
The fuel and fire that Gega wants to instill in her players also runs deep in her as she knows that eyes will be on her wanting to see how she will do, but it's a challenge that she says she is ready for.
Having been the JV head coach at Thomas Edison for the past two years, Gega already has a strong knowledge of many of the players she will have this season, but she already says that she will have a good amount of work ahead to get them to where she wants them to be as she expects them to have the same attitude and passion for getting better that she always had.
"We just had a conditioning drill and they were complaining that it was too cold and I'm like come on guys what kind of fake ball players are you," Gega said.
Gega's start to her varsity coaching career also did take a small hit during the summer when Tykei Greene made the decision to transfer out of Edison and head to Long Island Lutheran, but that doesn't worry Gega as she says it could prove to be a benefit as instead of relying solely on one player it will force the team to play together and build a solid foundation of teamwork.
How good the Inventors can be this season though is still to be seen and Gega says that seeing improvement from the start of the season to the end is what is most important to her, believing though that big things could be ahead if they play the way she hopes, as Gega looks to put her imprint on what she hopes is an up and coming Thomas Edison program.
"I'm super driven on fundamentals and team basketball, like the San Antonio Spurs play," Gega said. "Hopefully we can play that way, and we can have a strong season."