“The journey that leads us to our dreams is what helps bring the change in us” – Oliver Goldsmith
When asked to describe himself in a recent interview, former Weston star and Louisiana Tech basketball player, Lane Hartley, said “I’m just a regular guy.” Maybe so. But his story of how he went from being a player on a rural, Class B team to a member of the third place winning team of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), is far from ordinary.
Hartley’s basketball career journey is one of the most inspiring and motivational recounts you would ever want to learn. It is a true reflection of what can be achieved through desire, dedication, hard work, perseverance and just plain, old fashioned, having belief in yourself.
His former high school coach, Ryan Bond, echoed those sentiments when asked to remember Hartley, who while at Weston from 2012-16, was a four time All-District selection, two time district MVP and two time All State selection.
“Lane was a tremendous player for me. Very coachable and a team first guy,” said Bond. “He was one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Put in the extra time when no one made him. I am extremely proud of him for what he has accomplished. He earned it all by himself and is a winner all the way.”
After having enjoying the success of his talents in high school, Hartley desired to continue his basketball career. There was a problem though. His phone wasn’t ringing as no college coaches were calling. Undaunted, Hartley sent tapes and wrote letters to programs all over the south in hopes that someone would give the 6’1″, 170 pound guard a chance.
Finally he got a response from Kansas City Community College who agreed to let him come up and tryout. Hartley made the most of the opportunity and by the time the season began he had earned himself a spot on the starting five. He finished the year averaging a modest 8.5 points per game. It wasn’t the kind of statistics that would make someone take notice but the change in his physique was.
“I knew as soon as I got there I had to get stronger,” reflected Hartley. “So I started pounding the weights and changed my diet.”
Over the summer he spoke with Bossier Parish Community College head coach Chris Lovell, who agreed to sign him but told him he would have to redshirt a year. It was a tough time for Hartley. For the first time in his life he wasn’t able to play with his team. He also suffered physical problems such as a broken nose and a foot injury. When he finally got a chance to play he only averaged 2.6 points per game. Through it all he kept working though, using his time to continue to work on his conditioning and basically living in the weight room.
“Those were trying times for sure,” said Hartley. “I never lost my hope of being able to keep playing though and just kept working.”
As fate would have it, Louisiana Tech head basketball coach Eric Konkol, came to BPCC to look at one of Hartley’s teammates. By the time the practice session was over it was the local boy who would be coming back with him. His dream of playing for a Division One program had become a reality.
“Coach Konkol approached me after practice and said he was impressed with the way I played hard and offered me a chance to walk on,” recalled Hartley. “It was what I had dreamed of and to be able to play at Tech made it even better.”
Almost like a movie script isn’t it? You might now expect to see this is where Hartley became a star but that isn’t the case, at least not on the court. He only saw action in ten or so games both years while on the Tech team, most of the time in mop up roles.
Where he was a star though was in the locker room and weight room. Hartley brought an energy rarely seen and was a vocal leader, not afraid to hold his teammates accountable. During the “dog days” of offseason conditioning he led by example and held his teammates accountable. His contribution the last two years was not only noticed but greatly appreciated by his coach.
“Lane Hartley made a significant impact on our program the past two seasons. He has a passion for Louisiana Tech, competes every day, and has a team first mentality,” said Konkol. “We could always count on him to bring his best everyday and his energy was contagious throughout the program. We are going to miss him and can’t wait to follow his many future accomplishments.”
The folks back home in Jackson Parish can’t either. Judging by the legacy he leaves of continually striving to be the best he can, there is no doubt that he will be tremendously successful in whatever he chooses to do.