Sky Hoops with House 4

What's Happening Sky Fans!

Y’all getting ready for that snowstorm? WHOA!... hold on, it sounds like it’s going to be a big one! I’m checking in from parts unknown, I’m back on the road again…

First… we are getting really close to finalizing a new training center for your Sky team! It will be AMAZING! I can’t give you all the 411 yet, but when everything is finalized we will certainly update you.

Since I joined the Sky family, I’ve had many people ask me, “Who was your favorite coach growing up, or Who is your favorite coach now?” I thought that for this week’s blog I’d share a little more of my background with you and answer these two questions.

I don’t necessarily look at it as my “favorite” coach, but more as the coaches that have influenced me throughout different stages of my career. Every coach you work with has a direct impact on your philosophy. You either solidify your beliefs or you learn, alter and adjust them each step of the way. There is a constant learning and re-evaluation process that takes place.

The coaching staff that have been my most favorite have been the one’s in which the staff challenged each other the most. That is not to say we argued and got after each other daily, but we debated, disagreed, discussed and pushed each other to be our best everyday. We did this on all fronts: personally, professional and in our vision of what provides the greatest potential for success in every area. Mutual respect, trust and a common goal allow coaches and colleagues to disagree, challenge, debate and improve – without taking it personally, being offended or losing focus on the path of success. In many ways, every staff I have been a part of has been this way.

Early years

I was extremely fortunate that my very first coaching job was with Jeff Van Gundy and after a brief stint with Coach Kevin Moore; I spent the next four years with Stan Van Gundy. All three coaches were exceptional teachers, preparers and people. The first six years of my coaching career, which are the most formative in my opinion, were with people who taught me most the high value of Loyalty, Trust, Work ethic, Honesty and a Respect for the game. Taking nothing away from their ability to teach the “X’s & O’s” of basketball, but the LTWHR they instilled in me stays with me every moment till this day.

Basketball and Player Relations

Understanding the game, preparing for the game and relating it to the players are critical to success. Preparation in basketball is invaluable. I lump preparation into these six categories: practice, video work, scouting reports, self-evaluation (our own team) and individual player development. People who have worked with both Jeff and Stan will tell you, they prepare for games as diligently as anyone in the coaching profession. They're both 24/7 guys who are completely immersed in their professions. (*You have witnessed it here in Chicago with Tom Thibodeau who worked with Jeff in New York and Houston.) To have the opportunity to be great… there is no other way. But, perhaps the best preparation, player relation and in-game coach I have been around is Richie Adubato. Richie has never been given enough credit for his coaching ability. This is mainly due to the fact that he is such a fun person and absolutely hilarious to be around. Don’t mistake Richie’s joy for creating a laugh with a lack of ability, seriousness or intensity. Far from it, Richie’s ability to manipulate a game, prepare his team and combined with his in-game maneuvers is spectacular. He honed his skills from the creator of preparation – Coach Hubie Brown. Coach Brown was truly the inventor of preparation and handed it down to many of his great assistants: Richie, Rick Pitino, Mike Fratello, Ron Rothstein and many others.

Recent Years

What I’ve found now is I am constantly searching for reading, video and any avenues for examples of the coaches that have “been there, done that.”

Success or failure… it really doesn’t matter, if I can find examples to read, watch or study it brings me back to my early developmental years, to challenge the philosophy and beliefs I’ve developed over a quarter century of coaching. Nick Saban’s How Good Do You Want to Be? is a tremendous resource. Coach Saban’s approach never really says anything about winning, though every thing stressed is about dedicating or rededicating yourself to the little things: a clear sense of commitment and shared purpose amongst team and staff, not letting up and overall performance on and off the court.

One of the best quotes from Coach Saban is… “Be relentless in the pursuit of your goal and resilient in the face of bad luck and adversity.”


Being around Coach Chatman is like all of this rolled into one! I have not been more excited for a coaching staff to get together than I am now. Coach Chatman, Coach Sides and I Skype, email, discuss and/or talk daily. This is the planning and preparation I have mentioned above. This is a staff that is going to challenge each other to be our best, daily. To do it in a way that is fun, professional and productive. It’s a staff that is going to embody Coach Chatman’s Fight...Focus...Finish (for 40) philosophy for this team.

The countdown is on Sky Fans…. May 15th can’t get here fast enough!

For previous editions of Sky Hoops with House, click here.