Archive for the ‘Pro Talk’ Category

We got to win.

Win no matter what.

Trip, kick somebody, fight, bite.



-Derrick Rose


Doc Rivers is not only extremely knowledgeable and smart but he is a phenomenal coach.  After looking for some pieces published about his coaching philosophies, I came across this video and thought I would share.

Derek Fisher: 2010-11 Exit Interview

Published by Mike Trudell on May 10, 2011 2:08 pm in Derek Fisher.

As has been the case in recent years, Derek Fisher’s numbers went up as his playing time increased in the postseason, his 10 games bringing averages of 8.2 points on 42.7 percent shooting, 41.2 percent from three, with 3.6 assists, 2.7 boards and 1.4 steals in 32.5 minutes. In starting all 82 regular season games for the sixth consecutive season, Fisher averaged 28 minutes to score 6.8 points with 2.7 assists, 1.9 boards and 1.2 steals while shooting 38.9 percent and 39.6 percent from three to lead the team.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

– Intro: “My thoughts are plenty, most of them not good. I just really never imagined being in this situation, speaking to you guys under these circumstances. It definitely hurts. This one will be with us a while.” While other losses hurt, like 2008 in the Finals, Fisher said it particularly hurts to go out this early with such a talented team that believed it would win it all again. He’s hoping that it ultimately becomes a positive with everyone really being forced to look into the mirror.

On if the team’s capable of getting back to the Finals: Yes. I’d take the same exact group of guys and line them up, lace them up again. We’d get the job done, that’s what I believe can and will happen. It’s no disrespect to Dallas or any of the other teams still (playing), but with the same group of guys — obviously our coach would be different — there are some things that we can do as players to be better.

– On where it went wrong: “This wasn’t an overnight thing. It happened over time. To try and sum it up, some of it is a part of making the run that we’ve made for the last three or four seasons, playing 400-plus basketball games in four years, and just how difficult that task alone is to try and bring the focus, the energy, the effort, the concentration and the intensity to all those games in such a short period of time. In a sense, we were set up to have a fall at some point, but I don’t think anybody imagined or envisions us falling in this way. It was a tough year from the beginning, starting in Europe for training camp. Without making any excuses, I think Phil touched on it even then. It was very difficult to have a training camp, to lay down the foundation that it takes to be a championship team, (especially) with so many new guys (on the bench).”

And a key quote that hints at how L.A. may have faltered: “I don’t think we were really able to build and grow as a team.There was a point where we just weren’t getting better, we were just the same, and you have to get better in this league.”

– On finishing on this sour note with Phil Jackson: “That probably bothers guys more than anything. That probably hurts more than our own individual circumstances. He deserved to go out much better than this.”

– Fisher was asked if he considered retirement at all, and was very quick to say no: “There’s not a question about whether I’m coming back or not. There isn’t anything tangible that I measure my success by that tells me that today is the day I’m not supposed to be playing basketball. I’m not even close to that. Every bit of me is excited and looking forward to the future. Great things are born out of defeat, adversity and struggle.”

– Fisher’s fully behind assistant coach Brian Shaw, while acknowledging that it’s Mitch Kupchak and Dr. Buss’s decision about whom to hire as the next coach: “I support Brian 100 percent.”

Fisher on what he will remember most about his time with Phil Jackson: In a very, very short version, that basketball is only a metaphor for life. As bad as this hurts, and as much as we like to talk about the game and the stories and the articles and all the attention that goes to NBA basketball and the Lakers, at the end of the day this is a very, very small part of real life. That’s what I’ll take from my relationship with him more than anything, is keeping those things in perspective and being able to emotionally balance the things that come with this job, but realizing that it is a job. At the end of the day, it’s the health, safety and security of your loved ones and your friends, the people that you care about that really mean the most. The money, the contracts, the championships, it’ll eventually run out, get dusty, rusty, dry up and go away, but the memories that you have with close friends and family and teammates … those don’t ever go away.”

– Fisher was very forceful with his words defending Pau Gasol, whom he said took way, way too much blame and criticism: “If anything, I regret the fact that I wasn’t able to fully understand it and speak up sooner on his behalf, to say that I think it was ridiculously wrong to assume some of the things that were being assumed and place the burden of how successful we were or were not on his shoulders. That just wasn’t the case. Sometimes it’s comical the idea of how statistics determine whether a guy is really doing his job or not, and I think it was quite unfair for Pau’s statistical output compared to last year or some other time to be stacked up to this year and now, and then say that somehow we didn’t win because he didn’t play well statistically. If you asked the other teams we played against this year, he was there. He was still Pau Gasol. But he, like all of us, just as a team weren’t able to operate as efficiently at that max level the way we’ve become accustomed to.” In short, Fisher wishes he could have done something to make it better for Gasol from a mental/support standpoint, so that all of it could have “just shut up.” Had the Lakers kept winning, Fisher continued, no one would have been blaming someone statistically, citing as an example that Jason Kidd’s shooting percentage from Round 2 won’t be remembered.

– Fisher said it was very much in Andrew Bynum’s character to apologize for his flagrant foul in Game 4 against Dallas: “Andrew is a bright, smart, very intelligent man, and that particular play doesn’t symbolize who he is on whole. He just had that moment of frustration and anger and weakness that got the best of him. We’ve all been in that situation in life sometimes, where you make a decision and it’s too late to take it back, but Andrew’s a guy of high character, and he’ll be OK.” Fisher’s hopeful that he can just let it go now, having apologized, with knowledge that J.J. Barea didn’t suffer any injuries.

– Fisher concluded with a line about Phil Jackson:
“The biggest void regardless of who is coaching next year, what players are back, the biggest void of all will be Phil Jackson not sitting in the high chair. It’s that simple.”

A couple of years ago when we first took over at UC Santa Barbara it was an unbelievable experience for many reasons.  One of those reasons was because of the championship culture that had already been built between the Ocean and the Thunderdome.  You see some of our staff had already been apart of  championship teams at one time or another, but never to the extent of UC Santa Barbara.

(Just to give you an idea of the championship tradition at UCSB…There is a news-article picture that hangs by entry of the Women’s Basketball Suite that reads “Back -to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Champions”)

I may be wrong in my count, but before our arrival (2008)  they had won the previous 12 out of 14  Big West Championships and had gone  on to post season play just about every year.  And although excited about the opportunity to carry on such a legacy it was instant pressure to fill the shoes of the legendary Coach French, Cori Close, Carter Shaw, Tasha McDowell, and Tony Newnan.

We were very fortunate to have a situation where we had the opportunity to coach seasoned veterans Jenna Green, Sha’Rae Gibbons (Mitchell), Lauren Pederesen, Kat Suderman, and Whitney Warren who all understood the value of games and practice (when they could practice/they were an old bunch) 🙂 .   But we were even luckier to have (then) freshman Emilie Johnson who grasped an understanding of what it took to become a champion very early in her career.

During that 2008-2009 season we went 15-1 in conference.  And although I won’t bore you with the details of every game, I will say the seniors taught invaluable lessons that year.  #1 Prepare for every practice and game the same.  Everyone is beatable on any given night.  (Hence the 15 and ONE)  #2 Championships begin in the “off” season and continue through every practice and every game.  #3 Just because you put on the jersey doesn’t mean you have automatically won the game.  WORKING HARD day in and day out will put you in the best position to win. #4 You are EXPECTED to carry on the legacy AND build upon it.

After that year, “it” was evident….

The very thing that carried the Gauchos to the top year after year….

 We as coaches were responsible for putting our players in the best possible situations to be successful, but they themselves had the baseline value figured out.

They had A Champion’s Approach.

They worked on their game every opportunity they got.  Between classes you could always find at least one Gaucho in the gym shooting on the gun or working out with a coach. Not just idle working out.  But working out with a purpose.  Keeping track of shooting percentages and trying to improve upon it every opportunity they got to be in the gym.  It is no wonder that after a rough start during this basketball season, our Gaucho family came out with the Co-Conference Championship.

They put in the same work when we were 0-4 as they did when we finished the season 19-12 and Conference Co-Champions. It was always interesting when our staff went on the road recruiting and would hear other coaches complain that they could not get their players to work extra in the gym. I would go out on a limb and say a number of those coaches were not coaching players with A Champion’s Approach.

Below is an article I read from Kevin Eastman talking about what A Champion’s Approach is to him.

A Champion’s Approach

by WENDY on DEC 22, 2009 (0) COMMENTS

As I analyze not only our team but many other winning teams in various sports, it becomes clear that winning teams approach their seasons with a greater dedication to perfection than average teams. Many teams are satisfied with playing well and getting good practices in. The best teams are different.

Whether it’s practices or games, I can tell you that the Boston Celtics are seeking perfection in execution. The goal of every practice is to pay attention to every detail, every teaching point, every possession in order to consistently strive for perfection in our execution.

Our games are the same way. We don’t want to be driven one way or the other based on the score. Many teams will relax when they get a comfortable lead, which can be very dangerous against the better teams on the schedule. Or teams may stop playing team basketball when they are down by a lot. We are always trying to be perfection conscience rather than score conscience when we hit the game floor!

The challenge of all successful teams is to seek perfection in their execution. This becomes the driving force to ensure that you have the best possible practices and pay the ultimate attention to details in the games.

–cited from–