Exclusive Interview: Duane Broussard

Bruin Report Online gets an exclusive interview with new UCLA assistant coach Duane Broussard, and talk about him coming to UCLA, recruiting for the Bruins, and more...

We talked with new UCLA assistant Duane Broussard about coming to UCLA.


Q: okay, we're here with Coach Duane Broussard. Here he is. In Coach Broussard's office.

DB: yes, sir.

Q: So, first off, it's been a whirlwind, eh?

DB: yes, it's been.

Q: … since you've got here. How long has it been?

DB: April 1st.

Q: we're a month…

DB: actually, I started April 2nd. But right, it's been about 4 weeks.

Q: 4 weeks. Pretty much hit the ground… having to hit the ground running because as soon as you got here… well, first you had to get acclimated. Had some meetings with various people at UCLA.

DB: yeah.

Q: Then you hit the ground…

DB: hit the ground running.

Q: … recruiting because it was a recruiting period…

DB: right.

Q: …very quickly after that.

DB: very, very quickly. As a matter of fact, I think, starting on April 11, we had an opportunity to go out for the very first time. So… that was quite interesting. Quite interesting to get out. Kind of get a feel for the LA scene and recruiting. And get a feel for some of the coaches and players. I can say that the reception was very well-received. Very well-received and lots of people were very open to the idea of UCLA basketball coming into their gym and watching their kids. And phone calls we've made. People seem to be very excited. A genuine excitement about the program, and it was good to see that.

Q: right. So, starting… establishing yourself, there's… you've got to do a couple of things. first you have to go in and just introduce yourself to some coaches in Southern California and the west coast…

DB: right.

Q: …as opposed to if you had been coaching and recruiting at UCLA previously, you know, it was just maintenance. But you had to make the initial contact and then you had to go recruit and go evaluate.

DB: well, not necessarily. Note necessarily because, being from my former institution and having an opportunity to recruit the west coast…

Q: sure.

DB: … some of the coaches, I would say over half of the coaches I already had a relationship with.

Q: right.

DB: just purely out of phone calls and checking up on certain players.

Q: you're just in a different color.

DB: just in a different color now. So that, I think, was a smoother transition. A smoother way of going about things. So that part made it a little bit easier. That's not always the case obviously because I think, again, you're dealing with a different type of player now so... But I think, the UCLA Blue and California gold certainly helps the situation. So needless to say, going out for the very first time was a little bit easier than I thought it would be. A little bit easier than I thought it would be.

Q: so you say "dealing with a different type of player."

DB: different type of player.

Q: different level?

DB: different level player, right. Different talent level.

Q: right.

DB: you know, here, I think you have the opportunity to recruit the elite of the elite. The best of the best. I think in my former institutions, you know, I felt like we had reached the point where we could start looking at those players, but would always be trumped by the "big boys," so to speak. So now, having a chance to really be in a vehicle, and I call this a vehicle, and this is a powerful vehicle here. A vehicle where, when you go and talk to a parent and you go and talk to a player and you go and talk to a coach, you know, I think they're willing to listen. They're willing to listen. I think they're willing to entertain the idea. Even if they're being recruited by other major, major universities. So, that was actually fun. It was actually fun to get out and say, "Okay, I'm with UCLA. We like you." And it's like, "Okay, Coach. Yeah, alright. I'll listen." You know, so to speak. So that was good. That's been one of the most exciting aspects of this new adventure for me, personally. Because you can get in the door easier.

Q: right.

DB: You get in the door easier.

Q: so you've been waiting kind of for this your whole coaching career? I mean, there's always been a little bit of… now you're at UCLA and now the door's opening for really pretty much anyone. Just about any level of recruit. Any recruit.

DB: I think you're right.

Q: You can have the door be open.

DB: I think that my career path has been one where every stop that I've made, I've enjoyed it thoroughly and I have tried to take everything that I possibly could from that particular position whether it's experience, relationships… all of that. I think in the back of my mind, after having been at my last institution, one of the things that I said to myself was, "It would be nice to be in a place where you could actually win a national championship." Because I thought that was one of the areas or one of the last frontiers that I hadn't been exposed to in my previous institutions so when this opportunity came, there really wasn't a second thought.

Q: right.

DB: with my family especially. There really wasn't a second thought. We have to do this especially at this junction in my career.

Q: right.

DB: having been at it 20 [audio difficulties] years. Having won conference championships. Having had the opportunity to recruit players, develop players and have players get drafted into the NBA. Having been a part of a program that has graduated players. All that being said, the one thing that was not within grasp was the fact that you could win a national championship.

Q: right.

DB: and so, that's what makes this even more of a special opportunity for me personally. Because of the fact that you can win a national championship.

Q: sure.

DB: and we will work toward that. so yeah, this is great. This is a great opportunity. Great opportunity.

Q: so when Coach Alford was hired at UCLA, how long did it take before he pivoted and asked you if you wanted to come with …

DB: oh, I would say within 12 hours.

Q: 12 hours?

DB: within 12 hours.

Q: 12 hours? You're not saying 24.

DB: no, I'm saying within 12 hours.

Q: within 12 hours.

DB: within 12 hours. And really, when he got the job or when he accepted the position, it was just… it had really come as a major surprise to me because of the success that we were having at our former institution…

Q: right.

DB: … as well as the things that were put in place to move that program forward.

Q: sure.

DB: so, when I got the phone call, I was a little startled because I normally don't get phone calls from him at night/early morning. [audio difficulties] thinking, "Something must be going on."

Q: when he comes up… when that ID comes up on that phone, you're going, "What's this about?"

DB: yeah, "What's this about? What is this about?" So when he told me what had just transpired with him and had explained to me the golden opportunity, I was extremely happy and excited for him. Had no idea that the next part of the conversation was going to be, "By the way, Duane, I want you to come with me."

Q: so it was the same conversation?

DB: it was the same conversation!

Q: really?

DB: same conversation. It was the same conversation.

Q: wow, he didn't have to think twice about it.

DB: it was the same conversation. Well, I mean, it took 12 hours.

Q: so you thought about… 12 hours is still a short amount of time to think…

DB: yeah, yeah, but no. Just messing around. When he brought the idea to me, in my mind, my heart started to palpitate a little bit. I'm like, "Whew. Okay." Because the opportunity aligned with my desire to want to win a national championship because that was the only thing I thought would take me away from where I was. That was the only thing. That was the only thing and so… I graciously thank the Lord and thanked him and said, "Yeah, let's talk about it."

Q: oh, so you talked? You didn't initially just say…

DB: no, well… He… He… He… you know, he's really good about situations like that, Tracy. He said, "It's a big-time opportunity for you and your family. It's there for you. My family loves you. We want you to be there for us, but I also want you to make sure that it's a really good fit for you so talk to your wife about it." He was very good about that. He said, "Talk to your wife about it. Talk to your kids about it. See if this is something you want to do." Because I have been at this institution before, almost 11 years.

Q: right.

DB: So I took the next 24 hours and then I met with him, I think it was on a Sunday at his house, and I said, "Hey, you know, we're in. Just tell us what we need to do." And that was it. 2 feet in. My wife right there. My wife was …

Q: how long did it take your wife? Was she immediately in or did she…

DB: I think it was overwhelming at first. When I first told her…

Q: right.

DB: …but, after about 6 or 7 hours and she started doing some research about the area. You know, wives… they're always about homes and schools.

Q: that's what they're supposed to do.

DB: yeah, they do all that. And so, it was, "Yeah, Duane, let's do this. We're in." And plus, she tremendously trusts Steve. She trusts him. She trusts his family. Since the very first time that I started working with Coach Alford, his family has embraced my family as family.

Q: right.

DB: and there was never a question that I was a part of a staff there, I was a part of his history, his legacy, his lineage. Everything. And that made a huge difference. That made a huge difference. So, yeah, after a little bit of time of deliberating and trying to figure out if this would work, there was no question. We were ready to go.

Q: so, with the workouts, how involved have you… I know you've been out because it's the recruiting period, so how involved have you been with the workouts?

DB: Haven't really been involved at all…

Q: okay.

DB: …to be honest with you, because I've been here trying to grind out the phones and been on the road.

Q: right.

DB: but I've had a chance to go by and watch and interact, you know. I've been impressed. I've been impressed. But my involvement hasn't been… I would say if you take a pie, and 100% of that pie is divvied up into different areas of what I've doing, that's probably would have been the least area where I've been involved in just because we have all this other stuff going on.

Q: sure. So let's talk about all that other stuff as much as we can.

DB: absolutely.

Q: in the West coast, the 2014/2015 class is pretty loaded.

DB: right.

Q: did you… when he offered you the job, did you consider how talented the class… that those two classes were upcoming before you even took the job? Did you think about that?

DB: well, for us, not knowing this opportunity was going to present itself, just as a daily routine, we're always going to be looking forward to recruiting. You're always going to be looking at who you can recruit and where they're being recruited at so I had a fair amount of expertise on what was out here, okay?

Q: right.

DB: if you take the 150… the top 150. Can I look at the top 25? Probably not, at the former institution. But I knew about them.

Q: right.

DB: I knew about them.

Q: sure.

DB: so, I mean, you know, usually there are… Tracy, we're talking anywhere between 75 all the way down to 150. Those are the kind of kids that I kind of had an idea about.

Q: sure.

DB: but when I got this job, and those other players became a reality. Those other recruits became a reality, then the wheels started turning.

Q: right.

DB: so within the time that I first got the call from Coach Alford, 6/7 hours later, 8 hours later from when I talked to him, I had a pretty good knowledge base of where we needed to go…

Q: right.

DB: …and who we needed to talk to.

Q: so is it a different approach? The elite/high-major in recruiting?

DB: well, I think… I think that the two things that you have to have in any recruiting situation is you have to have a little bit of a personality…

Q: sure.

DB: … and you got to have a lot of sincerity.

Q: right.

DB: I think those two factors play in any recruiting situation that you get involved in.

Q: right.

DB: okay? And I think those two things are very important simply because all the other schools that are recruiting at the elite level really offer some of the same deal. Whether it's skill development, whether it's academics, whether it's environment. Whatever the case may be. The issue is going to become: can a mother/father/aunt/uncle/high school coach/AAU coach/player trust this person.

Q: right.

DB: okay, so how do you do that? How do you do that? Okay? How do you "trust?" Alright? Well, the [audio difficulties] is personality. Okay? And then that sincerity piece comes in. which all ties into… al ties into that major word: T R U S T. Trust. That's what it ends up being.

Q: really? So let's… among a lot of things that would attract a prospect to a program…

DB: hmm-hmm.

Q: immediate playing time. Going to the NBA.

DB: yeah, absolutely.

Q: uh, let's see, what else do they… you know… what else… Playing style. "We want to get up and run."

DB: hmm-hmm.

Q: would you say that the personal relationship with trust is a pretty big factor in all that?

DB: well, let me say this. Let me just say this. If we're all selling the same thing…

Q: sure.

DB: …we're all selling the same thing…

Q: what I just said.

DB: yeah, we're all selling the same thing, okay? What's really going to get that kid over the hump? What is it?

Q: right.

DB: okay? So that's where the work becomes strenuous because of the phone calls, the "saying the right things," the "talking about your history and the past" and trying to show examples of how you develop these players. I've learned from my research, Tracy, that if you can develop kids at this level and they have a chance, to me, that's more important. That's more important, first, than the relationship because I think the relationship comes after you prove yourself after you become competent in that person's eyes. I think that's what happens. I think once you become competent and you can show them how you're going to develop them, I think it opens up a whole other world. That's where the selling comes in.

Q: okay, so…

DB: how are we going to develop this player? How are we going to develop him as a person, as a player, as a complete whole person? I think that's where the selling comes in.

Q: so, coming in here, being new here…

DB: hmm-hmm..

Q: …would you say you're a little bit of a deficit in selling them about what you've done and your background? Is it a little bit more difficult?

DB: well, we've had to play catch-up. No doubt. We've had to play catch-up. And that's required a lot of energy. A lot of energy. But I think we're making some headway. I think we're making some headway. Because… fortunately for us… and like I said, I can't say the names… some of the prospects that we're addressing, we had already had a relationship with the coach or an AAU coach.

Q: sure.

DB: so that makes it a little easier.

Q: sure.

DB: and because we were at a school that was in the west, a school that has had a fair amount of success in the past five or six years, and we've been on TV, kids sort of have a familiarity with the style of play, with the system of coaching, and I think having a name like Steve Alford has helped that. I think that has helped. So we've been able to penetrate some recruiting markets fairly well. I'm not saying that kids are jumping at the bit to come here although I think that… I think that… that.. that process is beginning to happen. I'm just saying that I think it's been a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would in terms of trying to recruit the elite level athletes on the West coast.

Q: sure.

DB: that's what I'm saying to you.

Q: philosophically, do you… what's your philosophy in recruiting at UCLA? Is it, emphasize the West coast? Is it recruit nationally? What would be… what do you think is the most effective approach?

DB: I think you have to have … I think you have to have a strong base here in Southern California. Northern California. And I think all up and down the West coast. I think that has to be a phenomenally a strong base for you. I think, having the opportunity to recruit nationally is also important, but you still got to be careful. I think you got to take care of home. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to try to take care of home as best we can because, you know, when you look at the history of UCLA, you know, whether building championships, winning national titles, having great players, a lot of great players have come from this area. They just have. And you're talking about, especially in this area, and you can help me with this statistic, there's probably what? 15 million people in Southern California?

Q: a lot more than that.

DB: oh yeah, that's what I'm saying. So you've got to think, out of that, you're going to be able to get high quality, both students and student-athletes, you're going to be able to recruit those kind of players.

Q: right.

DB: you just are. So taking care of home is a priority for us. And that's what we'll do so… but I think you also have to be able to… you can't focus as much time nationally, but you can't neglect that as well because I think we have a national brand.

Q: sure.

DB: and I think we have to be able to utilize that.

Q: looking at the roster, it looks like you might be needing some bigs. Looking up to your board up there. I mean, projecting the roster down…

DB: oh, in the future?

Q: in the future.

DB: oh yeah. Yeah.

Q: or even next year.

DB: even next year. That'll be an emphasis. That is an emphasis. There's no question that's an emphasis.

Q: so, let's say… I mean, I can talk to it. 2014, it's a talented class in the West, but it's a little bereft of bigs.

DB: which is why we probably have to look outside the borders of California.

Q: right.

DB: we probably have to do that.

Q: how do you feel about looking overseas and looking…

DB: good question. That is not… that is not out of the question. That is not out of the question. That is a really, really good point. So that discussion has been taking place for the past 2, 3 weeks.

Q: because the UCLA brand is a big thing internationally…

DB: oh, yeah, absolutely.

Q: and past staffs haven't seemed to take advantage of it.

DB: no, you're right. You're absolutely right about that. You're right about that. And that is something that has been talked about thoroughly. Thoroughly. So…

Q: well, thanks, Coach. Appreciate it.

DB: absolutely, Tracy.

Q: thanks, man.

DB: have a good day.

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