Coach Justin Harden has much to celebrate this season, his 15th year of shaping The Rock’s basketball program from the helm of the National Team.
As part of the Lions’ impressive 5-1 start to the season, the team’s 58-47 victory over Creekside Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) unlocked another triumph — Coach Harden’s 350th career win at The Rock.
A Track Record of Success
Since becoming head coach in 2009, Harden has steered the National Team to an impressive 351-160 (.686) record, claiming four coveted SIAA State Championships and earning the top seed in the state tournament four times.
Under his guidance, The Rock’s National Team has become synonymous with excellence by earning 20 wins or more in 13 of 14 seasons.
“This milestone is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our players, coaches, and the entire community at The Rock,” Harden said. “It’s a shared victory that underscores our commitment to excellence on and off the court.”
Building a Legacy
Harden’s coaching prowess extends beyond the court, having shaped the careers of more than 40 NCAA Division I players, with eight transitioning to professional careers in the NBA, Europe, and Asia.
The Rock’s reputation as “PG High,” recognized by college coaches for producing top-tier point guards, further cements Coach Harden’s legacy.
High-caliber players like Scottie Wilbekin, Mitchell Wilbekin, Jamari Wheeler, and Bryan Greenlee, developed under Harden’s guidance, have excelled at both collegiate and professional levels.
Notable TRS alumni, including NBA star Joel Embiid, can attest to the transformative impact of Harden’s coaching philosophy.
“I loved it at The Rock,” Emiid told local media during a return to Gainesville when playing with Kansas. “I got better every day in practice by competing. Coach Harden worked me, and I got a lot of minutes. I became confident.”
A Commitment to Faith & Mentorship
As much as he and his teams have succeeded in the win-loss column, Coach Harden’s greatest accomplishment remains his lasting impact as a mentor – an accomplishment made possible by his dedication to his Christian faith and the Lord.
Along with his staff of faithful assistants, Harden has led countless student-athletes to follow a positive, faith-based path both on and off the court.
This commitment is felt throughout the program, from the class room to community projects to skill development and beyond.
The end result has been remarkable, as evidenced by his players’ accomplishments away from basketball: academic success with high rates of graduation and college completion; career success in a variety of competitive fields; and a lasting commitment to faith, family, and community well beyond their time at The Rock.
“None of this is possible without our Lord Jesus Christ,” Harden said. “He saved me, brought me to this amazing church and school community, and entrusted me with this great program.”
“I am grateful beyond measure and hopeful to reach yet another milestone for our program.”