A Hudson Valley resident believes his tough local upbringing will help him teach Team USA the toughness needed to win gold.

Following a disappointing bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup in Egypt Harold Rayford Jr., of Newburgh, nominated himself to coach the United States under 19 men’s basketball team.

“I truly believe that the USA should have won the gold medal. With all the talent — athleticism, length, natural ability — a structure should have been in place to showcase the sport which we have birth[ed],” Rayford told USA Today.

Rayford who has coached at Tennessee Prep for the past 3 seasons made his intentions known on social media.

Rayford believes his Newburgh upbringing will lead Team USA to success on the hardwood.

“I teach, and I teach toughness and the everyday fight for success. I come from that environment in New York, where you need that to survive whether that’s on the court or in everyday life,” Rayford said. “How does the team develop team toughness? Through the coach and or the leader.”

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