MISSOULA — Former Geraldine High School and Montana Grizzlies star Daren Engellant has kept his basketball career alive. He has now moved to the bench to help coach his son Drew and the Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack.
Engellant still ranks second all-time at Montana in career rebounds with 874. He also spent eight years playing professionally overseas. Drew was actually born in Germany.
But as soon as his son could start dribbling, Daren started his transition to coach. He has now instructed Drew at every youth level, up to his current gig as a Glacier assistant. The elder Engellant enjoys preaching fundamentals that he learned decades ago.
“Then when you come back to the youth level, you’ve got to really slow things down and work on just the basics,” said Engellant. “It’s been fun for me. It’s been a learning experience for me, because I kind of forget all of the things that I learned when I was young.”
“I would definitely say on the court he’s coach, and then at home he’s dad,” said Drew. “Basketball dominates many of our conversations at home. But he’s always been my coach, so I’m pretty used to him coaching me. He always has great points to make. Sometimes we don’t always, but we work (together) pretty well for the most part.”
The younger Engellant is one of Class AA’s top rebounders. He also leads Glacier in assists, and credits his dad for coaching his improved court vision.
“Definitely seeing the court and being aware of where everybody is and really watching the defense when I get the ball in the post,” Drew said when asked about where his father’s coaching has helped. “It’s been a big help, because I can find players. I get lots more assists and help the team out a bit more in that way.”
“I think he’s more mobile than I was,” said Daren comparing his game to his son’s. “We have similarities. Of course, I was bigger. I was a little taller (Daren stands near 6-foot-10, Drew is listed at 6-4). But I see some things. His footwork, I like the way he crosses over and makes those moves in the post. But for the most part, he’s his own player.”
Engellant added he has also had to adjust to the Class AA level. The former Class C standout admits the higher level is much more physical, which leads to much better defenses. He feels the classification could benefit from a shot clock to avoid some of the long possessions he currently witnesses. Daren also admitted he prefers the more wide-open Class C style.
Drew and the Wolfpack get back on the court Tuesday night, traveling across town to battle rival Kalispell Flathead.