My Whole Life

By Noah Stansbury

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When I was younger, I remember sitting on the plane with Charles Rhodes, my favorite player.

Rhodes played basketball at Mississippi State from 2004-2008, and I was just a young kid running around with the team.

Yet there I was, sitting next to my favorite player, playing “Go Fish” with him and his flip phone.

It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget.

Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be in his seat someday.

I aspired to be a college athlete.

But not just any college athlete—I wanted to be a college basketball player.

I hoped to sit in his seat, flying to different cities and playing basketball.

It’s a moment that remains vivid for me today.

I reflect on it often.

I’m quickly reminded that I’m living my childhood dream.

Growing Up As A College Basketball Coach’s Son

My life has always revolved around college basketball, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can’t escape it when your dad is a high-level college basketball coach.

It’s on your mind 24/7, whether you like it or not.

And, trust me, I liked it.

I loved it.

I couldn’t get enough of it.

I have countless memories of growing up in college basketball locker rooms and being around the team.

In a way, I was part of the team.

I was the waterboy at Mississippi State. My brothers and I were always involved. My dad granted us a ton of freedom around the team.

We attended team dinners, lingered in locker rooms, and dashed out in front of the team. We were involved with the players and coaches all the time.

I’ve always relished being around the older college guys — they were like big brothers to me.

I got to experience things that many other coach’s kids don’t get to encounter.

And without a doubt, I’ll always cherish that time in my life.

You can't escape it when your dad is a high-level college basketball coach. It's on your mind 24/7, whether you like it or not. And, trust me, I liked it. I loved it. I couldn't get enough of it. I have countless memories of growing up in college basketball locker rooms and being around the team.

My Moment of Fame

One of my favorite memories was a viral moment during the 2009 SEC Championship game.

I was sitting on the bench, whispering something to Dee Bost during the game.

I don’t even remember what it was about because I was so young —probably around six or seven years old at the time.

It was all in good fun, but it was a moment that garnered considerable attention after the game.

Thankfully, we won that game because if we lost, it might have been misconstrued.

Looking back on it, I’m simply grateful for all the memories and experiences I had growing up as a college basketball coach’s son.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

The Recruiting Process

When it came time to make my college decision, I had offers from several schools.

For most college athletes, it’s a tough decision to make. It’s your first taste of adulthood, and you’re making a decision that will shape your future.

But for me, it was an easy decision.

Every coach’s kid dreams of playing for their dad.

I couldn’t turn down that opportunity.

I knew I might want to be in his shoes someday, and I knew the best way to get there was to learn from him.

I decided to play for my dad at Western Kentucky.

Moving to Memphis

Because of COVID, I decided to skip my senior year of high school, reclassify, and start at Western Kentucky early.

It was a really different experience from what I’ve seen as a young kid.

We were taking COVID tests every day at 7 a.m.

There were no fans in the crowd.

But I adjusted.

After my redshirt sophomore year there, I transferred to Memphis when my dad took the assistant job there.

And it’s been a really great transition.

I’ve never lived in a city, so that is a little different for me. But I’ve learned a lot through the experience.

I’m just grateful I can still be playing under my dad, living my dream.

Learning from Dad

That’s been the biggest blessing in my career — to be around my dad and learn from him.

I’ve had the opportunity to be even more involved with my parents during my college years than most students.

I’ve been able to experience college life with them close by. Now, being a part of his daily routine, I can fully understand why he does what he does now.

When I was younger, I didn’t really understand why he wasn’t home all of the time.

Now I do.

He’s always doing what he can to be the best coach he can be.

He’s consistent.

And that’s what I’ve learned from him. In order to be consistent, you have to show up every day and do your best.

It’s not easy.

It can be boring and mundane.

But that is what’s required to compete at the highest level.

And that’s my goal for the rest of the season, too — to be consistent in giving my best every day.

I want to help the team win as many games as possible.

And we’ve had a few losses here and there that almost forces us to step it up a bit if we want to qualify for March Madness.

But, we’re just taking it day by day.

Showing up, being consistent, and giving our best effort.

The results will take care of themselves.

And in December, I’ll graduate.

I’m hoping to start a master’s program next spring and be a G.A. somewhere.

I’d like to get into coaching, too.

But, that’s all I’ve ever known, so I’ll take it step by step to see what opportunities become available.

After all, I’ve been around basketball my whole life and hope to have the opportunity to continue that tradition.