One-on-One with Dee Brown

April 9, 2002

Former NBA guard Dee Brown is the Miracle's new head coach/director of player personnel. (Miracle Photo)

Here's your opportunity to chat with new Miracle Head Coach Dee Brown. Coach Brown brings with him 12 years of NBA experience, including stints with Boston, Toronto and Orlando.

Prior to joining the Miracle, Brown served as a Special Assistant to Orlando Magic Operations, where he worked closely with the broadcasting, corporate sales, marketing and basketball operations department.

The former Slam Dunk Champion is very excited about the upcoming 2002 WNBA season and is busy preparing for the WNBA Draft.

Coach Brown stopped in for a live chat on Tuesday, April 9. Here's what he had to say:

New Jersey: Hello Coach Dee. I was wondering what kind of experience you have coaching and if you have ever coached women before?

Dee Brown: This is my first time coaching on this level. The only coaching I have done with women is coaching my two daughters that play basketball at home. I'm looking forward to the challenge of coaching professional women. My experience is playing in the NBA for 12 years and playing for great coaches.

Kim, Sacramento: What should the Miracle players and fans know about Coach Brown?

Dee Brown: With my background from being around a lot of great coaches and players in my career, I work as hard as anybody else in the league and I expect my players to be the same. I want them to be prepared for anything on and off the court. I've learned you have to have a great relationship with your players and the ultimate goal is to win a championship and that's what we are all in it together for.

sooz (Daytona Beach): Congratulations, Coach! Are you consulting with anyone in preparation for the draft? Will you be getting any insights from the Miracle players or from any college coaches you know?

Dee Brown: Definitely getting some initial insight from Carolyn Peck and her staff, and the recent players I've known from being in the organization. You form your own opinions from knowing all kinds of people. The input I've been getting from around the league is positive.

Maureen W (Washington DC): Just a hearty congratulations to Coach Brown and the Miracle organization. I have find memories of following Dee's early years with the Celtics. At the time there were few visible women players to follow, so my Dad had to settle for the Celtics as a teaching tool. So proud that a former Celtic will be a force in an organization that ensures that my own children will have some women to look up to when they play!

pilight: Any ideas about who your assistant coaches will be?

Dee Brown: We're in the process of finishing up with our assistant coaches. My goal is get a couple with WNBA backgrounds, coaching women. If I can get a staff that has either played in the league and has mutual respect for the players and also someone who is just aware of the whole makeup of the WNBA, that would be a benefit to the staff. The final decisions are being made and hopefully by the end of today or tomorrow, it will be announced.

Dex (Cleveland,OH): You won the '91 Slam Dunk Contest. How does getting this coaching job compare and will this endeavour be the toughest challenge sports-wise?

Dee Brown: This is definitely the toughest challenge I've had in my basketball career. Coaching is something I've always aspired to do, and it came a little faster than expected, but I'm looking for the challenge. This is the biggest moment in my career so far, and hopefully I can have more in the future.

Aaron B. from Valdese,NC: In the '91 Dunk Contest in Charlotte, who gave you the idea to pump your shoes?

Dee Brown: I thought of it at that time. The dunk contest is a fun thing ... entertainment ... so you do anything to get the crowd and judges on your side. I already had a contract with Reebok so they didn't tell me to do it. I just thought it would be fun. And to win it just enhanced the experience and the shoes and the pump.

Clint, Atlanta: Your no-look dunk is my all-time favorite. Can you still pull it off?

Dee Brown: I don't think I can pull it off now. If you lower it to an 8-foot basket I could, but as my career went on, I reinvented my game and became a shooter. My dunk total the last 4-5 years is very, very low. As the body wears down, to keep your style in the game, you have to reinvent your game and became a shooter.

Traci T: Congrats. Are you going to have them start showing their stuff and have them dunk? Good luck this season.

Dee Brown: That's up to the discretion of the player. If she feels confident during the game, then do it. Just don't miss the dunk. It's a momentum swinger if there is a missed dunk. I have no reservations at all -- if they're comfortable, then do it.

Rebecca (Los Angeles): Hi Dee. Congratulations on becoming Orlando's new head coach. How do you feel about starting your first coaching job with the women of the WNBA?

Dee Brown: I'm excited about the challenge and being on the sidelines and fighting for our goal of winning a championsihp. Our team is very talented therefore there will be a lot of pressure this year. I have the nervous excitement going on, but once we're on the court, it will hopefully just come naturally and we'll win games and hopefully a championship.

Boilerfan (West Lafayette): What kind of role do you expect Katie Douglas to play this season?

Dee Brown: I think Katie has worked out all summer, she's playing down to a great playing weight and she's very focused for this season. I'll try to use her a lot off the bench for instant offense. She's a great shooter and 3-point shooter. I'll probably swing her from shooting guard to small forward based on the matchups of the game. I'm looking forward to good things with her. We're going to run a lot of plays to get her open since she's such a great shooter, which will open the inside game for our inside people who can score.

Tom (NYC): Congratulations on being named head coach! What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Miracle going into draft?

Dee Brown: Strength is our backcourt, we have five top tier players in Shannon Johnson, Nykesha Sales, Adrienne Johnson, Elaine Powell and Katie Douglas. We're going to use our backcourt to run our offense. We have a great inside player in Taj McWilliams-Franklin and a lot of offense will go through her to get her open and free up our guards.

We're going into the draft looking for more athletic power forwards or centers so we can move Taj to her natural small forward position. Somebody around 6-4, 6-5 who can play our up and down game.

Orlando : Congratulations on your new job! What will you be looking for in the draft? Will you go after someone who can help Taj? Also, will you be using the triangle offense this year or will you implement something else?

Dee Brown: We have the No. 7 pick so with all the athletic players in the draft, we are definitely looking to help Taj and move her to power forward. If we find an athletic center who can anchor our defense and help her rebound and block shots.

We won't be using the triangle offense this year. We will be implementing something to utilize our quickness and our ability to create our own shots with our great backcourt. We want to enhance their skills by putting a lot of pressure on the defense with our players that can score in transition or the halfcourt set.

Detroit: Have you gotten any feedback from other NBA players about coaching a women's team? Do any of the NBA players have any interest in the WNBA?

Dee Brown: Speaking from our ballclub, a lot of our guys have interest. Tracy McGrady has season tickets. Mike Miller and Grant Hill are going to purchase season tickets. They think we have a very good ballclub and we have a chance to win a championship so they want to be part of that from a fan standpoint.

I haven't talked to any ex-NBA people like Michael Cooper or Richie Adubato, but I'll probably see them at the pre-draft camp and I'll probably pick their brains. I'm a rookie coach so I don't have any problem doing whatever it takes to learn more.

Marcelo - S�o Paulo (Brasil): What yor plans for Brazilian player Cintia dos Santos?

Dee Brown: My plans for Cintia is to use her to anchor our defense. She's very athletic and it'd be great if she can step in and be more aggressive than last year. To have a player that size and with her athleticism -- it's only going to enhance the defense we are going to play. And her inside play will open up our backcourt to be more open. She's a true center and it'll be a plus for our team if she plays the way she knows she can play.

Wichita: Welcome to the league, coach! What will be your main focal points for the first portion of the season? Do you believe the women's game is as exciting and perhaps more "pure" than the men's game?

Dee Brown: Our main focal point is making sure that we are on the same page of winning a championship, and developing and growing together as a team to get the ultimate goal.

I do think the women's game is very exciting and as a coach, I'm trying to make the game exciting and appealing to the fans. I caught myself watching a lot of the women's Final Four before I even got the job. I enjoyed watching the women do all the fundamentals that often get left out of the NBA. It got me intrigued about coaching in the WNBA because they're so eager to learn. To see the purity of basketball, it intrigues the basketball fan who wants to see a well played game. And I think the WNBA is that kind of game.

Martina : Which teams do you think will be a major challenge this season?

Dee Brown: Obviously the Sparks because they are the returning champions with a great core of players. Lisa Leslie is probably the best person at her position in the league. Miami had a great year last year. Our goal is to win against the best team in the East number one -- with New York, Cleveland, Charlotte. They were all ahead of us so we have our work cut out for us. We need to compete with the teams in the West -- Sacramento, Utah and Houston have a great teams, too. We're looking forward to it and my team has something to prove by not making the playoffs last year.

Wesley (Gaithersburg): Hey Mr. Brown, how was it coming out of retirement and playing for the Magic for a few games this season?

Dee Brown: It was fun. The reason I did retire in the first place was I didn't think I could get through an 82-game season playing at the level that I wanted to during my 12-year career. When Mike Miller got hurt, they asked if I could still play, and I had a chance to rest my legs and I felt good and I wanted to help the organziation since I was part of it. I didn't get a lot of minutes, but it was great to be around the guys again, being an insurance policy until Mike got back.

Jesse (Mendo): Hi Dee. What would you recommend working on for a young student who wants to become a coach?

Dee Brown: The most important thing is studying the game and understanding the essence of basketball -- the fundamentals. Teaching is a very big part of coaching. Knowing your personnel and learning your team's strengths and weaknesses by not being surprised by anything. Preparation is very important in being a coach -- you want your team to be prepared for every situation on the court.

It's not a glamourous job, but it's rewarding seeing your team playing the best they can, playing as hard as they can. The ultimate goal is to win the game and nothing individually because it's a team sport and if the team wins the championship, then everyone benefits.

I want to thank everyone who submitted questions. If didn't get to your questions, I'm sorry but hopefully some of your questions were answered. I'm looking foward to the season. The team will be very competitive and I'm looking forward to a great season. Make sure to get your Miracle tickets if you're in Orlando, and if you're not, get your tickets when we're in town. Thanks and go Miracle!