Thursday, February 19, 2009

A more collaborative coach

Raja Bell was a rookie on Larry Brown's 2001 Sixers team that reached the NBA Finals.

In December, Bell was reunited with Coach Brown in CHA, where he says he's seen how his 68-year-old coach has changed over the years.

“More mellow,” Bell said recently. “From the first couple of days (after Bell’s trade from Phoenix to Charlotte), I could see a different guy. When he needs to yell, he will. But in day-to-day demeanor, he’s a different guy.”

According to Bell, "Brown is no less an authority figure. But he’s more collaborative, less strident, less prone to overreact and wear out players with constant criticism."

Coach Brown "insists he hasn’t gone soft (and there’s plenty of evidence at practice that he hasn’t). However, he agrees he’s more flexible these days in his approach with players."

"The biggest thing now is (how you coach) depends on the person you’re dealing with," Brown said. "Kids are all different. I used to treat 1-15 (on a roster) exactly alike. That’s how I was taught" by his mentor, former North Carolina coach Dean Smith. "That way, nobody knew who my favorite was. The important thing is to get each of them better."

[Thanks, Coach Cooley!]