Tom Saltzstein, who led Tempe High School’s boys basketball program the past nine seasons, will be joining Phhoenix Prep and will be head coach of its White team that plays in the Canyon Athletic Association, PHH Prep director John Ortega said.
Salzstein, who was a Tom Bennett assistant at Gilbert High School before leading Gilbert Mesquite, has been head coach at Tempe since 2013.
“I like Tempe High, I like the kids, I like (Athletic Director) Shelly Arredondo,” Saltzstein said.
But Saltzstein added that the commitment level of the players wasn’t where he wanted it to be.
Saltzstein said that after the Tempe High season ended, he had the gym open for fundamental work and only two players showed up.
When June basketball began for high school teams, Saltzstein said the most players he had on any given day were five.
“I want to be at a place where I can work with players who want to be there, are fully committed, want to work and get better,” Saltzstein said.
PHH Prep is ever-expanding and now has three national teams. Its top team, coached by former Phoenix Mountain Pointe coach Kirk Fauske, travels all over the country and this past year was part of the Grind Session.
Saltzstein said the PHH Prep White team will also travel for national games but not in the “Grind” circuit, like the program’s top team.
In his first season at Tempe in 2013-14, he led the Buffaloes to 28 wins and into the 4A Division II semifinals.
Ortega calls Saltzstein “an incredible addition to the program.”
“Saltz brings years of success and old-school style that matches what we do here at PHH,” Ortega said. “Saltz is a coach that wants to develop players and mentor young men to be better people through the sport.”
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