Monday, November 3, 2008

Every minute on the court was declaration of war on somebody

The Milwaukee paper recently profiled Scott Skiles, recounting how, during his playing days, he was so well prepared for the opposition, that he not only knew the plays as well as his coaches, but, in some cases, better than the guys on the opposing team:

"Since Skiles knew the opposing team's plays himself, he would merely shout out to his teammates what was coming. And then, just for good measure, maybe chide an opposing player if he was in the wrong place on the court."

As Magic SVP Pat Williams recalls:

"He was coaching both teams. Sometimes telling the opposition, 'You're supposed to be over here. Get over here. He wants you over here.' He was coaching both teams while he was playing."

A couple of highlights quotes from the story about Coach Skiles:

Pat Williams: "I remember his intensity and the fervor with which he played . . . every minute of every practice and every game. Gave no quarter, asked no quarter, never backed down. Fearless and pugnacious. Every minute on the court was a declaration of war on somebody.

I've been around two super-intense athletes in my 40 years in the NBA: Jerry Sloan and Scott Skiles. That's just how they went about their business. On the same guard line, those two guys would have been a pair for the ages. Not the most talented but just played with a ferocity and demanded it from their teammates. And would not accept anything - anything - less than maximum effort."

Jim Boylan, one of Coach Skiles' assistants: "Scott's always been very confident, and as a coach I think that's one of the attributes that you really need to have because the team can feel it. He's always had that. And he's always had a great command of his team. They respect him.

"One of his main strengths is during the game he's able to analyze and slow things down and execute his game plan. So, the one area over the years that he's continued to get better at is actual game execution. Reading situations in the game, the flow, timeouts, working the huddle, trying to motivate the guys and seeing what needs to be done. I think over the last couple seasons in Chicago, he really had a firm grasp on the pace of the game and what's going on and what needs to be done to try to get the maximum out of his team.

It's the competitive side of the game that really gets his juices flowing and I think he really likes to take a situation and put his stamp on it. We need somebody to come in here and really get us organized, give us some direction, and give us some leadership'. That's what he does best."

MIL forward Malik Allen: "He's a no-nonsense guy. Very detailed, but he's fair all the way across the board. Everybody is going to have an opportunity at some point. He has a good system. The system is hard. You have to play hard for it to work but it's proven that it does work."