The NBA's newest recruit
ACU postgraduate student Jesse Green made his way from the sidelines of the Brisbane Lions to working as a performance analyst for NBA team the Sacramento Kings in California.
For exercise scientists, a passion for all things sport is usually a given – and Jesse is no exception.
“I’ve always loved and been passionate about sport, both as a player and an avid spectator,” he said. “I just didn’t think sport was a viable career option until my last year of high school when I discovered sports science and strength and conditioning. I figured if I can’t play sport as a career, this is the next best option.”
Career kick off
Jesse’s professional career began in the AFL with the Brisbane Lions.
“At the time, I was studying for my honours degree in sport science and I was offered a position as an academy strength coach. It was such a busy time and it was my first experience trying to study while working. But I was so grateful to have my lecturers open that door for me.
“I think you do have to be prepared to do things like internships and work experience if you’re interested in an exercise science career,” said Jesse.
“And your experience will separate you from the pack – and gaining that experience is often voluntary on your part to begin with.”
The American dream
After honing his skills in Brisbane, Jesse was ready for a change and took advantage of an opportunity to make a move to the University of Louisville in the US.
“I connected with the university’s Director of Olympic Sport Performance via a colleague at a Sydney event. We discussed a position that was open on her team and three interviews later, I was on a plane to Kentucky,” said Jesse.
“This was always the goal. I love American sports and the industry here is massive. My dream was to land a job in college sports so I could get exposure to multiple sports and professionals and see new ways of doing things. I was hoping it would accelerate my career and help me with the next step.”
From Kentucky to California
Jesse began working for the university’s Olympic Sport Performance program where he developed and implemented assessment-based training and monitoring. He then moved into a performance coach and analyst role for student athletes training in basketball, hockey, tennis, golf and baseball.
“Landing these roles definitely required a bit of luck, but those opportunities led me to where I am today.”
Jesse is now happily working as a performance analyst with the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team in California.
“The best part of the job is watching the players we work with every day succeed on the court,” he said.
“There’s nothing better than seeing the hard work they put in behind the scenes come to fruition on the international stage.”
Mastering his own performance
In between delivering athlete performance data to the team, Jesse is busy completing a Master of High Performance Sport online through ACU, which he believes helped him land his Kings role.
“The content I’m learning has been applied daily. The industry experts involved with the course have been a valuable resource for me and it helped that I had already connected with some of the key staff involved with the program.”
“But I admit balancing full-time work with full-time study is a real challenge. If I had my time again, I would reduce my study load to part-time during intensive periods of work. However, the lecturers were very accommodating with my deadlines when the balance was tough.”
While face-to-face contact with lecturers and other students is limited when you’re an online student like Jesse, the opportunity to attend the yearly Human Performance Summit held at Notre Dame University in the US was a course highlight.
“It had a fantastic speaker line-up and a great community feel, making it easy to connect with the other attendees and the speakers.”
Jesse knows he has a big career ahead of him and is only just getting started, but he’s already learnt a few lessons along the way.
“If anything, the past four years has taught me to keep working hard and opportunities will present themselves.
“I’m a firm believer that hard work ultimately rewards itself, but you have to be intentional with your decisions and career planning. If you want a career in basketball, spend time in basketball. If you want to work in soccer, ask yourself, ‘Am I doing everything I can to sharpen my soccer skills?’ These are the kinds of questions my mentors have asked me in the past, and I owe all of where I am today to them.”
If you’re interested in developing an international career like Jesse’s in high performance sport, learn more about the Master of High Performance Sport at ACU.