Kendal Cudjoe can't be certain that his career would have naturally followed this path.
Last week, Cudjoe was named the new boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Douglass High School, where his father was a legendary coach, and where Cudjoe starred in basketball and football.
But it was a serious knee injury a little more than a decade ago that sent Cudjoe's career down an alternate path.
After playing college basketball at Central Oklahoma, Cudjoe went into officiating.
He began as a referee at the high school level, calling games in the All-City Athletic Conference, before working his way into the junior-college and NAIA levels.
Soon, he landed a job in the Big Eight Conference, then stayed on when it transitioned to the Big 12 Conference.
But an injury that required a full knee replacement ended his days as an official after 19 seasons.
If not for the injury, would he still be in the striped shirt, instead of on the sidelines as a coach today?
“That's a good question,” Cudjoe said. “It depends on how high I would have gone up the ladder in officiating. The schedule would have increased, so it would depend on how it went from year to year.
“I really had a good time doing that, traveling, meeting guys, working camps in the summer. It was a lot of fun.”
Before the injury, Cudjoe had begun coaching at Taft Middle School, helping with the football, basketball and track teams. So he had a natural transition to his next career. He spent the last four years as a head coach at Northwest Classen High School, two with the girls team and two with the boys.
His past gives him a unique perspective on an official's job during the game.
“I enjoy coaching more than officiating,” he said. “I know exactly what those guys are going through. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that during the course of the game when a call doesn't go my way.
“They're human. Even the best officials at the NBA level miss calls. It helps me understand what they're going through, because I've been there.”
Now, Cudjoe gets the chance to fulfill a dream of coaching at the school where the court is named for his father, Lawrence Cudjoe.
Douglass has won the last four state championships in Class 4A, but it also lost the school's most prolific scorer, point guard Stephen Clark, who started on all four title teams.
So Kendal Cudjoe will take a page from his father's playbook as he takes over his new team.
“I've always believed — and I got this philosophy from my father — that balanced scoring can be just as effective, if not more, than one person doing most of the scoring,” he said. “My father had great players at Douglass, but their teammates were so talented that they could score also, when they were called upon.
“These guys in the program now know how to win. When you lose a guy who averages 30 or 40 points a game, you know you have underclassmen waiting to get their shot to step in.”