On a chilly Sunday morning, Moody Coliseum held some of the premier coaches in the college game today and despite cancellations from San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, Kentucky's John Calipari and Maryland's Mark Turgeon, Moody Coliseum still hosted an impressive list of coaches who have each impacted the game in their own fashion.
Led by Larry Brown, Kansas's Bill Self, former Lakers and Rockets coach Del Harris and former St. Johns and current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, each coach spent more than an hour talking to countless high school and college coaches, going through lessons they learned on their way to prominence, plays and tactics they use consistently, and what is most important to them in coaching. Below are excerpts and notes from each coach's speech, including quotes from each describing the future of the SMU basketball program under Larry Brown.
To start the clinic, former national championship winning coach Bill Self talked about a few members of the SMU coaching staff, especially how Larry Brown has helped him throughout his coaching career.
Self started his speech by gushing about coach Brown, calling him easily the greatest basketball mind the game has today and possibly ever. Self told numerous stories of how Brown would call him, from when he was at Old Dominion, all the way through his time at Kansas, and offered tips and advice to how to handle everything from troubled players to levels of success and failure he never thought he would experience.
"Has anyone else lost 18 straight games? I have, and luckily I was at a place where they didn't care (Old Dominion), but through the whole experience Coach Brown was there for me," he said.
When talking about members of the SMU coaching staff, Self, who has known coach Tim Jankovich since their time together at Illinois, called him ‘one of the great young minds in he game today.' This message was reiterated throughout the clinic from Self numerous times, as well as Fran Fraschilla and Larry Brown.
Self also mentioned Jerrance Howard, who he coached at Illinois, and after numerous jokes about Howard not playing much at Illinois, Self called him ‘one of the best recruiters in the game' and a guy who recruits can really connect with.
"The thing I enjoy most is fixing problems," Self said. "Anyone can do it when it's easy. Although it could take some time, Coach Brown will have the SMU program winning."
Self also said he cant wait for the SMU program to ‘rise from nothing' and pitched to all in the crowd to come to all the SMU games and support the program, especially to see coach Brown, one of the best coaches to ever coach the game.
Other Self quotes
"The game is changing, and successful coaches will tweak towards the ever changing game."
"I'm positive when everyone else is negative. I'm negative when everyone else is positive."
"If you want a team to bond, make them hate you."
"Be brutally honest with your players. Demand the most them and you'll get the most back."
Following Coach Self was last minute replacement Del Harris, who has successfully coached at every level imaginable, and is currently a consultant with John Calipari on the Dominican Republic national team.
Harris was obviously very aware of the crowd's disappointment to have coach Calipari cancel, and started off his lecture by saying,
"I know you guys expected James Bond (Calipari) but your stuck with Andy Griffith."
Coach Harris spent the majority of his time going through plays and strategies he used, but did say, "Basketball is a team game, and Coach Brown's teams always play together."
Fraschilla, a native of Highland Park, woke up a sleepy and tired crowd with his never ending passion and energy during his lecture, where he spent a good portion of his time talking about the future of the SMU program.
"Larry Brown's coaching level is unbelievable, which doesn't surprise me, just go to a practice, you'll see it," he said "Texas High School basketball is as good as it gets right now, and Coach Brown knows that."
Fraschilla also spent at least 10 minutes trying to recruit fans of SMU, and fans of basketball in general to support the team because ‘it's a great community and great place to go.'
Fraschilla, like Self, told many stories of how Larry Brown has impacted his own coaching career, and said without a doubt, the SMU program, under Brown, will be successful.
To close out the clinic, the man everyone wanted, Larry Brown took to the court, and was instantly the most popular man in the building. Wasting no time, Brown started telling jokes, including talking jokes about one of the most famous players he ever coached, Allen Iverson, saying jokingly, ‘God put me on this earth to coach A.I.'
Before putting the prospective walk-ons through drills, Brown told stories of how the game was when he last coached in college, including talking about how in the past, opposing coaches would have dinner the night before and share thoughts on basketball, in order to improve the game.
Coach Brown also preached the amount of talent the state of Texas has and said that a few in-state recruits could turn this program around.
When talking about the program now, Brown jokingly said, "We are terrible (laughing). But I promise we will play hard and play together. It's going to take some time, but we will get there, I promise."
Lastly, Brown ran through some drills, which really pleased the crowd, especially to see retired NBA player Eric Snow compete in drills against the walk-ons, and when he won, the crowd went wild along, with Snow.
The moments that struck me the most amazing was how casually and often coach Brown would mention the names of former players he coached or coached against, and their experiences with them. To name a few, Brown told stories of Allen Iverson, Reggie Miller, Rasheed Wallace, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Tony Kukoc and his recruitment of Patrick Ewing.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the day was at the end, when coach Brown did his best Tony Kukoc and Dikembe Mutombo impressions, which sent the crowd into laughter.
Overall, the coaching clinic was a success despite some high profile cancellations. The fact that such high profile coaches spoke so highly of coach Brown and his staff provided immense amount of optimism for the future of the SMU program. This clinic solidified my possibly bleak, yet true prediction that within four years, the SMU basketball program will eclipse the SMU football program in success and popularity.
More Brown Quotes
"If you want to be a great coach, surround yourself with people who are loyal and special to you."
"Players reflect their coaches energy level, and I promise you we will play with a lot of energy."
"My goal is to improve the game, and that will never change."
FREE: SMU Basketball Coaching Clinic Notebook
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