I know coach was juniors mentor but how might junior suffer from never having know the coach?
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Junior respects his coach and desperately wants to impress him. They eventually build a strong bond, especially after Coach witnesses the violence that Junior's tribespeople inflict on him during the Reardan - Wellpinit basketball game. Coach praises Junior's ability to stand tall in the face of adversity and mentors him during his time at Reardan. I think that Junior would not have had an adult mentor figure without coach. Junior might have not developed his confidence had he not met coach.