GREAT FALLS — June 26th, 2014 was the day that life changed for Josh Huestis. The Great Falls native was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, 29th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Next thing he knew, he was on a plane to the Heartland, where he signed a contract and began his professional career.
But his wasn’t the only life that changed. The first call Huestis made after the draft was to his best friend, Reid Tramelli.
“I was actually teaching in Arizona. I finished doing my student teaching at (Great Falls) CMR and moved to Arizona. My wife was doing her physical therapy down there and he called me and said, ‘I want you to come to Oklahoma and be my manager and live down here with me,’” Tramelli recalled.
Theirs is an unlikely friendship. Tramelli was two years older than Huestis, went to Great Falls High and played basketball for the Bison on the other side of the river.
“We were rivals in sports,” Tramelli said. “I always knew who Josh was because he was always a great athlete, and I always played against him on the other side of the river. But we played against each other a couple times in high school and then our mutual friend, Tucker Cook, who I played baseball with growing up forever, kind of introduced us and the rest is history, I guess.”
After high school was when their friendship really took off. The two of them, along with Cook, would hang out whenever they were all in Great Falls. Tramelli would also make trips to Stanford University, where Huestis was enjoying a fine career.
“We spent all this time together and he would come visit me and we would talk all the time and got to be really, really good friends,” Huestis recalled. “He’s someone that I trust with everything and someone that has always been there for me and seen me through some tough times and been by my side.”
The friends have done a lot together and had each other’s back through the highs and lows of adulthood. They both got married within the past three years, while Tramelli and his wife, Olivia, welcomed a daughter last July.
Though Huestis is the face of his annual hoops camp in Montana, it wouldn’t be a reality without Tramelli, who serves as camp director, pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
“He does a great job, sets up so much stuff for us, and the camp wouldn’t be possible without him,” Huestis said. “I think I have the easy job: I get to come in and smile and talk to people, but (Tramelli) and my wife, Haley, are the ones that without them this would not be possible.”
Mixing business and friendship doesn’t always work, but Tramelli and Huestis have always found a way.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, we talk through things just like anybody else,” Tramelli said. “But there’s always disagreements and at the end of the day our friendship is greater than any business decision. So it’s always survived.”
“Working with Reid is a dream, this is kind of like what we would talk about as kids,” he said. “One day we’re going to have camps, one day we’re going to do all these things together, travel together, see things, do things. To see that come to fruition is so exciting, I’m so happy to be able to see all these things and take my friends with me.”
While Huestis awaits his free agency fate, he and Tramelli are preparing for their second camp of the summer July 15-18 in Bozeman. For more information, visit jhuestisbasketball.com