Lebron James' high school coach, Dru Joyce, says LBJ always shows up for big games

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-19 19:40:37-04

The amazing 41-point performances by LeBron James in Games 5 and 6 are all the talk of the NBA finals, but one of LBJ's first coaches wasn't the least bit surprised.

"He always shows up in big games and he always understood, 'OK, I need to take over,'" said Dru Joyce.

He coached James between the ages of 10 and 18, including when Joyce was the assistant coach and head coach at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary.

"The bond that you build through the kind of experiences we had, it doesn't just end overnight," Joyce said. "We were integral parts of each others' lives."

The two remain close and have texted back and forth during the playoffs.

"Just letting him know that we appreciate what he's done and that we're for him," Joyce saod.

LeBron's former coach said a lot of people-- including national experts-- counted the Cavaliers out when they went down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors, but Joyce said LeBron's strong work ethic keeps him fighting for that evasive Cleveland title.

"We don't understand what we've placed on his shoulders and I just believe his shoulders are broad enough to bear it," Joyce said. "We're starving here for a championship so to bring that back to Northeast Ohio, I can't think of a better ending."

Joyce said he's not ready to predict the outcome of Game 7, but he knows one thing for certain.

"He's going to give it his all and allow the results to take care of themselves."