Pro basketball player helps coach Pahokee Blue Devils

Gertavian Blake

PAHOKEE – American Basketball Association player Gertavian Blake is the new boys varsity basketball coach at Pahokee High School.
At 6’11”, you can’t help but notice Blake. As large a man as he is, he still knows he owes a lot of credit to the coaches that impacted his life. He said he is now trying to fill that role and help the young men who play basketball for Pahokee Junior Senior High.
“It feels good to be here. It feels like home. My mom, Cynthia Graham Blake, graduated from here and grew up in Belle Glade,” he noted.
Blake said he is very impressed so far with the talent and the work ethic of the Blue Devils.  He said all of them are going to improve this year. “I say look out for all of them because the Blue Devils are coming. We are building a new brand here at Pahokee.”
Blake said he hopes to be able to offer the boys tips that make them better players. He started playing basketball as a kid in the Police Athletic League in Jacksonville. He also played AAU basketball and moved on to high school and college.
Blake played at Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville and learned a lot from Coach Bernard Wilkes. Wilkes is a member of the Coaching Hall of Fame and won 21 district titles and four state titles in 30 years of coaching. Blake got to play in state finals in 2005 and 2006. He went on to play college ball at Palm Beach State College, Southern State in Alabama and ended up at Jackson State in Mississippi where he earned a political science degree.
“My advice to the boys is to just give it all they got because the reward at the end of the day is victories. That is what it’s all about. One of my mottos is hard work beats talent because talent doesn’t always work hard.”
Blake said the boys are motivated, want to work hard and are buying into the system.
“I can just give them things from my own experiences and let them figure out things for themselves. I can’t make a play or grab a rebound for them. I can only direct them in the best way that I know how.”
Blake said he learned a lot from Coach Wilkes and his professional coach Kevin Waters. After college Blake played in the American Basketball Association, which is a semi pro league with divisions in Florida, Georgia and other states. Miami, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville have teams in the league. Blake played for the Jacksonville Giants and was able to be a part of the leagues championship team back in 2013.
He also lists Boynton Beach coach Ken Mitchell as a mentor. He tries to learn from all of his coaches and now use that valuable information to help the Blue Devils.
He said he knows the ins and outs of the game and can help the players inside with defense, shooting in traffic, and rebounding.
“I try to direct them and guide them. I hope the fans come out and support the Blue Devils this year.”
They host Glades Central on Dec. 10.

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