The Coaching Connection

Great Basketball Moves

Summer basketball explosion

This summer has exploded with basketball!

How did the 4th of July get here so soon? Would it be too much of a pun to say that the summer has exploded?

My Nike travels took the real head coach and me to both New York City and Washington, DC. I am blessed to be involved in basketball and to enjoy the quality of play. The individual development is unbelievable. They are physically very gifted, but mentally and emotionally they need some help. Sounds a whole lot like raising any group of teenagers, doesn’t it?

I’m headed for Las Vegas this week for the annual LeBron James Skills Academy, which is always a great experience.

Great Basketball Moves: Jim Burson Hired as Boston Celtics Head Coach

Of course that’s not true, but announcing Brad Stevens from Butler as the Celtics’ new head coach was about the same level of surprise. Not because he’s not competent or that he isn’t a great coach.  On the contrary; he is both of these. No, the reason this is so surprising is because to me he epitomizes what a great college coach should be:

  • He graduates his players.
  • He is always in control on the bench.
  • He is a gentleman in interviews, win or lose.
  • He is a student of the game and of life.
  • He is what all college presidents would (or should) want their coaches to represent.

What do you epitomize? What are you a perfect example of as a coach? A teacher? A spouse? A friend? A parent or grandparent? Are you surprising people with your kindness, love and caring? Surprise yourself by being the kind of teacher-coach-parent you want people to think that you are.

Best of luck to Coach Stevens as he jumps into a whole new world!!

Great Basketball Moves: Thad Matta Wins Even in the Off-Season

This is a great example of coaching beyond the X’s and O’s. I learned that Coach Thad Matta just elevated Greg Paulus from his position as video coordinator to a full-time assistant for the Ohio State Buckeyes. I’ve known Greg through his coaching with summer basketball before he joined Navy. He is very bright and determined to become the best coach he can be.

Greg has been willing to work in a position of relative obscurity just for an opportunity to be part of the OSU program. A lot of people want to be a head coach, but not too many are willing to work and put in the time preparing. Congratulations to Greg. His attitude, patience and willingness to sacrifice have paid off.

Greg Paulus takes the place of Chris Jent, who has now moved to the pros as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings. Chris played at Ohio State with my son, Jay.

Coach Matta has hired Jake Diebler as the new video coordinator. Jake has most recently been an assistant at his alma mater, Valparaiso. In a further personal coincidence, Jake’s younger brother, John, not only played for Coach Matta at OSU, but broke my son Jay’s 22-year all-time Ohio high school scoring record!

Congrats to Jake and to Chris, too!

Someone moves out and up and someone else moves in. What a great profession. Assistants always would like to become head coaches, but in order to succeed they must remember that their purpose is to become the best they can be right where they are now. And that, in turn, means their job is to help the head coach of the team to become better and to help the head coach succeed.

Passing thoughts about passing

In basketball, passing is an important fundamental. To master the various types of passes is really important and the same is true in life. Pass on your knowledge, your class, your character and your integrity to all those you come into contact with.

Never pass up the opportunity to help someone who needs an assist in life.


What do you think about these great basketball moves? Are there other moves that you think are interesting and go beyond the X’s and O’s? Share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” comments box below (scroll down).

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Photo: © bokstaz –

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One Response to Great Basketball Moves

  1. Lynn and David James Clark July 5, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Hey Coach!

    I sent you an email about David James going to Jay’s camp in a couple weeks. David James is really excited. Hope to see you and Jennifer soon!


    Lynn and David James

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