Bits from Quin Snyder Interview, 8/6
Is there one thing about the NBA that makes it preferable to coaching in college basketball?
I think honestly, in, n–with no disrespect to college basketball at all, that there’s a few things that agree with me a little bit more. I think the obvious stuff that people talk about is the, you know, it’s “just basketball.” There’s part of the “it’s just basketball” that makes me miss college, really. The, some of the mentorship component that you get with the students and the players.
And I think, to be honest, I think that’s becoming, you know, less impactful as kids are even more focused on the basketball side. I don’t know that kids are going to school right now saying, “Gosh, I’m, you know, I’m gonna go get a great education. Thank goodness I get basketball to help me get there.” I think people are really focused on the NBA.
So when you’re in the NBA, you get players that really, really wanna be there. And to have their attention, to have them kinda in the present like that, for a coach, you have a willing pupil, so to speak. And that part of it’s really fun. It’s a challenge.
And then, really, the players are just so good. I mean, it’s crazy. You think about these guys, they’re the elite of the elite. And if you can do something as a coach to help ‘em, you really can see the impact of what you work on in your profession.
How do you get players to buy into your system?
I’ve been a part of a new staff every year for, like, three, four years now, and this is the first time I’ve been part, really since the D-League, this is the first time I’ve been the head coach of that team, of that new staff…
I think the biggest thing is not to try to force it. That’s not really a great plan. You essentially do nothing. It, but it’s not, you know, it’s not nothing, obviously. It’s being, you know, being real, and understanding that, this, I’m gonna show you who I am, and then in time, you know, you can ask for them having some faith. You know, give me an opportunity here and see where it goes.
And I think more often that not, players are inclined to do that in the beginning anyway. But then it’s up to you, really, to do the things you’re gonna say and coach them with integrity. And if you make a mistake, ’cause you will, “Hey, I was wrong.” And by the same token, and when they make a mistake, you, you know, “Hey, you were wrong.” And I think it gradually just builds.
The other thing, I think, is credibility. You know, players, I think players, and especially players in the NBA, they know if you’re working, and they know if you’re prepared. So the sooner you get an opportunity to show them that and for them to see that, I think that some respect seeps in there and it’s easier to begin to try and have that belief and trust when there’s respect too.
So, that would be a little formula that, in my mind, co–you know, comes to the surface.
What did you take most from Larry Brown and Mike Krzyzewski?
I’ll throw coach [Gregg] Pop[ovich] in there too. When I got the job, those are three guys that I talked to, and really talked to coach Brown a lot more recently about putting a staff together. I think that, and talked to coach K and coach Pop about the same thing.
When you really boil down, right, you hear about coach K’s coming and being with Paul George in the, you know, the sympathy there that is very real. And you see the things that coach Pop is with his players. Just visibly, you know, the connections that they have.
And you see someone like me who, you know, [Indiana Pacers GM] Kevin Pritchard and I were laughing in the stands the other night about when we were working summer camp for coach Brown at Kansas, like, 20-some years ago.
I think those people all value those relationships in the business maybe more than they should, more than the wins and the losses. That they’d be content to just have that and you know, forgo maybe some of the success.
The irony, of course, is that with those, the success comes. And they’re all not doing it just ’cause they’re the nicest, sweetest men either. You know, they’re saying the hard things and doing tough things and driving people. And to be able to have that and have those relationships endure even when you’re, you know, you’re not just being somebody’s pal, it’s a pretty special thing. And clearly, those guys being great coaches, they have it.
First impressions of Dante Exum?
Well, he’s very, very good. You know, I think, it’s, the first time I saw Dante Exum play, I was in the airport getting a burger, waiting for a flight, and I looked up and Serbia was playing Australia in the Under-19s, and I was like, “Okay, this guy’s fast.”
And then the next time I saw him was on tape and he was still fast, and getting faster. And you know, that speed, that gear and kind of the ease with which he accelerates and plays the game is really, really unique.
And then you meet him, he’s just a quality young man. He’s, you know, the accent kind of adds a little mystique to his persona. And he’s, I think he’s a special kid. And he’s 18. You know, it’s, and you keep saying that almost to remind yourself, you know, as much as anything, not to have unrealistic expectations.
The interview ends with…
You’re gonna have me back? … I’ll be the regular if you need me. If you want me. I’m serious…If you put me on, we gotta monitor my time [so] I don’t talk too long. Dennis Lindsey, my GM, got pissed at me the other night. I was talking too long at a banquet or something, so you gotta help me with that. (CBS Sports)