Coaches can be frequently heard telling players that to become really good, they must work on their game outside of practice. According to Coach Jason, Head Coach of T3 Class of 2020, and Coach Michael, Head Coach T3 Class of 2017, it’s a two-way street. Good coaches must also work to expand their knowledge and skills. With that in mind, both coaches attended the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) annual convention held in conjunction with the Final Four in Dallas. The NABC was founded in 1927 by legendary University of Kansas Head Coach Forrest “Phog” Allen to bring coaches together to serve as guardians of the game. As part of the convention, NABC offers a Professional Development Series (PDS). The focus of the program is to develop well-rounded basketball coaches on a professional (on and off the court) and personal level. Coach Michael has successfully completed the PDS series each year he has attended the convention.
In addition to attending the conference for his professional development, Coach Michael says he attends to network with other coaches and look for opportunities to help players reach their basketball dreams. “Several players in the club have shared with me their dream of having the chance to play basketball in college and have asked me to help them. I take very seriously my commitment to help them, and I am constantly on the lookout for activities to take their dream one step closer to reality. I met multiple coaches whose program would be a good fit for some of our kids. They shared with me ways to make our players more attractive and some even invited us to their campus to take a look.”
Coach Michael added, “It’s always fun to see and speak with our local coaches. I got to talk with Derek Whittenburg of NC State and C.B. McGrath of UNC-Chapel Hill. My basketball philosophies have been heavily influenced by the “Carolina Way” established by Coach Dean Smith; so it is always exciting to talk with family-tree members like Jackie Manuel, currently on staff at UNC-Greensboro and Jared Haas of University of Alabama-Birmingham. It was particularly gratifying to be present at the Guardians of the Game Award Show when Coach Roy Williams received the Metropolitan Award.”
This was Coach Jason’s first convention. He was invited to attend by Coach Michael. “Coach Michael’s always talking about we are a basketball family and not just a club; so he is like an older brother—obviously a much older brother—to me,” Coach Jason said with a smile. “I really appreciate him inviting me and all that he does as an older brother to help me, or as he always says to me, ‘make me better than he ever was.’” An avid believer in the power of analytics and the information they can provide to make a player that much better, Coach Jason salivated at the opportunity to talk shop with Ken Pomeroy, a luminary at the forefront of basketball statistics. As a young coach at the beginning of his career, Coach Jason also made it a point to speak with Shaka Smart, Head Coach at Virginia Commonwealth. Coach Smart was gracious enough to discuss with Coach Jason the trials and tribulations that await coaches at the beginning of their tenures and more importantly, how to overcome them to put your players and your program into the best possible situation to succeed.
Both coaches brought back an abundance of teaching materials to disseminate to the other coaches whose schedules prevented them from attending the conference.