KINGSTON (WPRI) – From 2011 to 2015, T.J Buchanan was a two-time captain and the glue guy for URI men’s basketball. A selfless leader, he helped guide the Rams to 23 wins fulfillinf every role the coaching staff asked of him.
“He didnt speak a whole lot but when he did people listened to him,” David Cox, URI’s current head coach said on Thursday. “He earned that respect.”
Buchanan’s leadership traits as a player impressed then-head coach Dan Hurley. In July of 2017, Hurley offered him a job as the Director of Player Development. Nine months later, Hurley left for Connecticut and David Cox took over. Cox immediately promoted him to Director of Basketball Operations. The following year? You guessed it. Another promotion. This time to assistant coach.
“You have to thrive in your role,” Cox said. “And that’s something that T.J. has always done.”
“Coming back to work here is a dream for me,” Buchanan said. “It’s full circle.”
Buchanan, 27, has made a quick rise in becoming one of the youngest Division I coaches in the country.
“Hard work and sacrifice are two main things as an assistant coach that you have to have” he said.
On the recruiting trail, Buchanan has helped land some of Rhody’s top targets this year like transfers Malik Martin (Charlotte) and Allen Betrand (Towson) as well as 3-star recruit ad incoming freshman Norance Tres Berry.
And when it comes to scouting, his passion is evidenced by his detail and thoroughness. But Cox says
Buchanan thrives most working guys out one-on-one.
“(He) established really strong relationships and the trust and respect of these guys early in the process by getting them on the floor and really working them. And showing them what he had to offer on the floor.”
Buchanan knows he still has plenty to learn, but for now he utilizes his age to his advantage.
“I really take pride in building relationships with our guys. I know that’s a huge reason why I’m in this position.”
A mere five years ago, he helped the URI program return to its winning culture as a player.
Now, he’s continuing to elevate the program’s national brand as a coach.
“This program is still trending up,” he said. “I feel like were still on the rise. We have a lot more to accomplish.”
Cox added: “I definitely see him becoming a head coach one day without a doubt.”