Giving spirit key in Hoang’s world
ROGERS — Hoang Chau admitted he knew nothing about basketball four years ago when Rogers High boys basketball coach Wayne Herren approached him about being a manager.
He’s learned plenty about the sport since that time, but players and coaches alike agree they’ve learned plenty from him, too.
Herren recalled noticing a young freshman in his Physical Education class, who sprinted ahead of the group every day to hold the door
open until the last person came through. He greeted him every day with a smile that was infectious.
“If you were having a bad day, it just kind of made your day a little bit better to see something like that,” Herren said. “It is out of the ordinary
for someone to care more about other people than themselves. I think that’s Hoang. I think that’s what drew me to him.
“We needed someone to film the games and I told him that’s a very important part of what we do to be able to break down video of every game. You’re not just handing out a towel or something. He really responded to it. I’ve been here five years at Rogers and Hoang’s been with us four. I can’t believe it’s going to be over soon.”
Chau said being a part of the Mounties’ basketball team is just like family.
“Just being with the team is a true definition of family means to me,” Chau said. “I want to be like their brother and support them every step of the way. I just want to do whatever I can to make this team feel special.”
His duties aren’t limited to filming though. Herren said Chau will do whatever they need him to in order to help out the team, including stepping into a drill or two during practice.
Herren figured out just how seriously Chau takes his duties early on when he asked if the young man had any gum prior to a game. Chau didn’t have any gum that day, but he remedied that in the future.
“I joked with him ‘ You said you would never let me down, Hoang. This is the first time you’ve let me down,’” Herren said. “The next game not only did I have gum, but he had gum for everyone. There’s no telling how much we owe him for gum.”
Stories of his dedication to his teammates are endless. Earlier this season, a teammate forgot his basketball shoes to an away. Senior Jake Benninghoff said it was Hoang to the rescue.
“He asked him ‘What size do you wear?’ When he figured out he wears the same size, Hoang gave him his Steph Curry’s to wear,” Benninghoff said.
Herren decided to reward Hoang for a job well done following
his freshman year by taking him with the team to summer camp in Little Rock.
“You don’t usually take managers to camp during the summer, but we, as coaches, thought ‘he can come with us, hang out with the team and have fun,’” Herren said.
But he again came to aid of his team with no prodding from coaches. Playing the third game of the day in a gym without air conditioning in the middle of the summer, players were suffering, Herren said.
“Oh, man, we had guys cramping, just sweltering,” Herren said. “I look up and Hoang has towels soaked in cold water in a cooler and he’s meeting the guys as they come off the floor. Nobody asked him to do that. That’s just him.”
Junior Jaden Uecker said Hoang’s selfless spirit makes him special.
“He’s just got a willingness to help people,” Uecker said. “It’s like a goodness that most people don’t generally have. He deserves respect from so much he does for us. He doesn’t ask for anything in return and we all give him the utmost respect. He deserves it.”
Herren said Chau has transformed from a shy kid to one who leads by example. Late last season when the Mounties were in the midst of a losing streak, Herren asked if anyone had anything to say and Hoang raised his hand.
“He proceeded to go around the room and tell everyone what he thought they were good at,” Herren said. “Just a wonderful motivating thing. He’s alwasy a glass halffull kind of guy.”
He also purchased gifts for all eight seniors a year ago on senior night to honor them. But Herren and the players may have a surprise in store for Chau on his senior night in late February.
Rogers High senior Hoang Chau, manager for the boys' basketball team, shoots video Jan. 6 of the game against Springdale Har-Ber at King Arena in Rogers.