Alex Rucker’s hard work does not go unnoticed, as he will soon be heading the analytics and strategy department of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. For 10 years, he worked with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors. Rucker has amassed ample experience in coaching as well, since starting in 1997.

Rucker began his journey with Riverside in 2014, when he assisted coach Paul Langford with the senior girls to a 4th place finish at the 2015 provincial basketball championships. “Being involved in basketball, or really any sport, is such a powerful, positive thing. You learn so many essential life skills, from perseverance through adversity, to the value of physical health and fitness, to time management. And the relationships you make with your teammates and coaches are relationships that can support you throughout your life,” said Rucker. He was also the head coach of the U14 girls BC provincial team in the summer of 2015.

This year, Rucker assisted in teaching at Pinetree Secondary and coached at Riverside Secondary and Jabog, a not-for-profit girls’ basketball organization founded by Langford in 1992. “Alex, you are such an inspiration to all and your Rapids will miss you very much.” said senior girls’ player and Riverside student, Adrienne Willems. Looking to the next chapter of his life, Rucker signed a contract to become the Vice President of Analytics and Strategy for the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA on October 16.

”The 76ers are an impressive sports organization. I will get to work with some of the most dynamic, visionary professionals I’ve ever met. Although the team has struggled a bit on the court the past couple of seasons, the young talent we have promises a really bright future,” said Rucker. He will lead the team’s analytics effort, use data science to provide insight and support to key decision-makers, and play an active role in the day-to-day management of an NBA team. “The opportunity to play a meaningful role in the rebirth of one of the most storied franchises in the NBA is a dream come true for me.”

Walking away from coaching, teaching and the relationships built in the community wasn’t an easy decision, but Rucker will embrace the potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “There are a lot of people in this world who will tell you what you can’t do, which dreams you can’t achieve. Don’t listen to them. Have dreams. Be bold and brave and creative and diligent. Figure out how to achieve your goals, and align your decisions with your goals… and you can absolutely achieve your dreams,” said Rucker.

After completing the education degree he is currently pursuing, he will move to Philadelphia in early-mid December.