HELENA — Former professional power forward and Great Falls CMR great Josh Huestis is ready to take on a new chapter of life with his non-profit, The Josh Huestis Foundation and Montana Elite Invitational which will be held at Carroll College’s PE Center on May 28 and 29 in 2023.
His nonprofit's mission is to provide positive and enriching experiences for the youth of Montana.
And his new invitational is just one more way to provide for Montana’s youth.
“It's just important to me, because I think that when I look back on my career and my path, I was really blessed and fortunate to have parents who could afford to send me to camps all over the country and could afford to give me access to traveling basketball. You know, I remember being on phone calls with shooting coaches from all over the country just continuing to learn. And I was blessed in that way that I had parents that were able to give me that not everyone has access to that,” Huestis said.
Huestis has been working closely with high school coaches all over the Treasure State to analyze players from Classes AA through C to find those who are ready to compete at the collegiate level.
His foundation helps make this invite 100% free for high schoolers attending. This includes travel, lodging, and food.
“I invite the best ones to come to Helena, and I'm inviting college coaches from all over the country from D1 all the way through (junior college). You know, my goal is to just help these kids get to that next level, you know, not even just from a sense of being able to play basketball collegiately. But because it gives them an opportunity to continue to get higher education, which I think can, you know, drastically alter the course of that family for generations by giving them access to that,” he said.
Huestis believes in Montana high school basketball players, admitting they’re absolutely slept on.
“You can look at the history of NBA players from Montana and there's Larry Krystkowiak. Back in, I believe, like the 80s, 90s. And then there's me. And I don't think that that is right. I think that there's plenty of athletes who have come out of Montana, who were good enough, and maybe just never got the opportunity," he said. "And I want to kind of shine a light on them to try to grow the game of basketball, grow the recognition that Montana gets as a basketball state, because you know, as well as I do, Montanans love basketball. And there's some really good players out there.”
Huestis has recently stepped away from pro ball himself but is looking forward to the next chapter of life, even if he doesn't know what it holds quite yet.
“The saying that is in the basketball world is either you leave the game or the game leaves you. And I'm proud to say that, you know, like, I left on my terms. And, you know, as soon as I decided I was going to do it and stepped away. And I've been away from it for a little bit now. I know I've made the right decision, because I'm so excited about what's next. And you know, it's now time for me to get my son to fill my shoes,” he said.
Huestis is in no rush to find out what’s next for his career and is taking his time doing things that he is passionate about and hold meaning to him.
“Me being from Montana, it's very important to me, and then, you know, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for kids. And so I think that it's really important to be able to provide, you know, a lot of really fun, exciting opportunities to them that can help, you know, just make the world a better place,” he said.
He wants the Montana youth to know he is always someone they can reach out to for advice or motivation.
“I'm reachable. I want to be the person that gives back, gives advice, because what good is doing what I've done if I can't help others do the same?” he said.
His advice for Montanans looking to progress their basketball careers is to work hard, commit, and sacrifice.
“I try to tell myself always, it's effort over results. You can't control whether you win the game, you can't control whether a shot goes in, things like that. But you can always control the effort you put forth, whether it's before the game, you know, practicing or during the game, you know, taking the shot, playing defense, rebounding,” he said.