Born and raised just north of the countryside of Taiwan, Henry Yeh’s childhood peers had a strong interest in the sport of baseball. Yeh’s shy demeanor kept him from expressing his lack of interest in baseball until one of his friends presented him with a life-changing gift.
“One day, a friend of mine introduced me to SLAM Magazine, and that was it,” Yeh said. “I fell in love with basketball and I started to religiously study the heck out of SLAM Magazine. That was my way to learn English as well.”
The immediate impact the magazine had on him resulted in Yeh doing hours of scouting notes on players he’d watch. Right before high school, his single mother was able to come to the United States to seek better opportunities.
Realizing one can make a career in sports in America, Yeh became a blogger and set his goal of becoming a sports reporter in the hopes of coming full circle to write for SLAM Magazine.
Less than two years into his first public university, Yeh dropped out of school, as he found the adjustment between his small hometown and the large student population to be difficult. Yeh’s most notable struggle was trying to adapt to the English language at a professional level and unfortunately, faced judgment from others along the way.
“As a minority, not many people are doing what I do,” Yeh said. “The toughest thing in sports is to have somebody to trust you. I had a bad accent and I don’t have the right skin color so my presence wasn’t going to hold any meaningful weight.”
After two years of blogging, Yeh was encouraged by the online basketball community to compile a 200-page scouting report and took the chance to physically mail them to every NBA team.
Five months later, he received a call from former Miami Heat player, now strategic advisor Shane Battier, saying how he loved Yeh’s work. From there, Yeh was introduced to scouting director Keith Askins, who is also a former player of the Heat and has been helping with regional scouting matters since. These connections gave Yeh the opportunity of a lifetime.
In 2017, Yeh began his current job as a scouting assistant for the Miami Heat.
Yeh also returned to school at Montclair State University in 2020 to fulfill his mother’s wish of graduating with a college degree in economics. He graduated in December 2021.
“I felt very happy for my mom,” Yeh said. “I’m the first member of my family to graduate from college so there is a certain pride in that.”
Though his in-person presence as a Red Hawk was cut short because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Yeh adapted the Montclair State mindset of valuing relationships on campus. Because of his early struggles in America, he was set on being a positive influence on others by being accessible at Montclair State.
Dr. Belay Begashaw, an economics advisor at Montclair State, is happy to see the person Yeh has become.
“He always surprised me with how proactive he is,” Begashaw said. “His passion has made me realize his potential and how great of a person he is. He always knocked at my door and was interested in learning new things and that embraces the mindset we look to promote here at Montclair State.”
Yeh has what he calls his “academic starting five,” which is a group of professors that not only influenced him but also pushed him to the mindset of being a sincere and successful leader. Begashaw, economics professors Dr. Ram Dubey and Dr. Orkideh Gharehgozli, Asian American history professor Dr. J. Kenneth Olenik, and English professor Dr. Keith Slocum are all on that list.
“The right people come to you no matter the field,” Dubey said. “[Yeh] caught me by surprise with his interest in basketball, but I support his work and I’m always open to help.”
Heading out into the sports world is very challenging according to Yeh, however, he suggests that no matter your doubts, building lasting confidence in yourself is key. Yeh’s journey continues as he has been admitted to the master’s program at Duke University.
“One year can change a lot,” Yeh said. “I’m big on being with good leaders and influences because the type of people you surround yourself with will dictate the quality of your life.”