From Player to Coach: A Chat With Hayfield Hawks Head Basketball Coach Carlos Poindexter
Updated: Mar 12
Today the Undefeated Varisty Hayfield Hawks defeated the Battlefield Bobcats in a rematch of their 2018 State Championship meet-up. As a Hayfield Alum myself, I've had the pleasure of casually knowing Carlos Poindexter for almost thirty years. What I remember about Mr. Poindexter when I first met him back in 1994 was his love of basketball. As he prepares for this third trip to State, Coach Poindexter took time out of his busy schedule to Chop it up with Reviews and Dunn.
Reviews & Dunn - You are a Hayfield Alum who played on the Basketball team. Did you always have aspirations of becoming a coach?
Carlos Poindexter - I never had aspirations in coaching. It literally just happened. Coach David Abella, who was the Hayfield coach at the time when I was finishing up college, asked me to coach his summer league, so I was doing that as a favor to him. I'll never forget what my pops told me during dinner the day I graduated. He said, "Son, it's now time to give back to your community." The only thing I was interested in doing was basketball, so I got on Abella's staff as an assistant. Once Abella retired, the new coach Ronald Palmer, a legendary coach out of California, took over and asked me to be the freshman head coach, and the rest is history.
Reviews & Dunn - The Hawks had a great win over Landsdown this past January. Did the pressure from that game prepare you for the current title run?
Carlos Poindexter - Quick story about leading up to the game. Ironically, Landstown wasn't on our schedule to play. We were supposed to play Green Run, but a couple of their players came down with COVID. When the event organizer hit me up to play Landstown, we jumped on it immediately. They had a top player (Donald Hand, Boston College commit), and we have a player (#23 Greg Jones) that has some buzz and thought it would be a good matchup for him and notoriety for our team. I believe us challenging ourselves with playing vs. Bishop Ireton, Landstown, John Marshall, and St. Stephens's scrimmage was all part of the process in preparing us for the playoffs.
Reviews & Dunn - How would you say the game changed from when you played until now?
Carlos Poindexter - When I was in school, the best players were still going to public schools. Now they reclass and go to private schools. It has changed tremendously. With that said, Hayfield has always had good players, just not top-tier D1 players.”
Reviews & Dunn - You had a chance to play with some DMV HS basketball legends like Steve Miles and Cornell Felton. As a coach now, do you think things are coming full circle?
Carlos Poindexter - Cornell, and Steve were the cornerstone of the Hayfield Program. Along with Carlos Jones, they were the "Big 3" long before it was popular to say that. We had tons of great players after them, but not many have accomplished what that backcourt has done. Right now, we have a backcourt in the ’22 class Braylon Wheeler and Ashton Pratt that is special and will be potential Hall of Fame candidates. In addition, the three juniors, Dj Holloway, David King, and Greg Jones. So yes, I like to think things are coming full circle. Reviews & Dunn - The late Mark Craver, who was a poetry teacher at Hayfield, wrote a book called Team First Team Last: An Epic Journey to the Heart of High School Basketball. Have you ever shared that book with your team?
Carlos Poindexter - I never shared that book with this particular team, but I have in the past.
Reviews & Dunn - Is there a song that the Hawks play to get hype? Carlos Poindexter - The song choice of the year for them to come out to was Future and 42 Dugg called “Maybach."
Reviews & Dunn - What would you say are the best and worst basketball movies?
Carlos Poindexter - I’ll start with the worst, Like Mike 2, Crossover, and Boogie. There are more, but those stick out to me right now. My favorite ones are Above The Rim, Coach Carter and He Got Game.
Reviews & Dunn - The year is 1993, and you are playing a game of NBA JAM; who is your go-to team?
Carlos Poindexter - Charlotte Hornets with Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.
Reviews & Dunn - Many NBA fans felt that the Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend this year was lackluster. As a basketball fan yourself, what would you say are your Top 3 dunks in Dunk Contest History?
Carlos Poindexter - I am not sure what the names of the dunks were, but I loved the Vince Carter one, the duo of Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon's dunks, and the battle. I have a personal favorite in Oladipo's dunk. That was special.
Reviews & Dunn - Is there anything you would like to add? In addition, will the game be available to stream for those who cannot get tickets?
Carlos Poindexter - I want to thank everyone for their support and shout out to Mr. Nowland (Athletic Director) for taking a chance on a young brother back in 2012-2013. I know there were probably way more qualified candidates than me during that time, and he gave me my shot. I will never forget that. I look forward to competing in the championship and pray that we can bring that hardware back home to the Hawks Nest and complete this historic run. Here is the link to view the stream: