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Bits from Dean Cooper Interview, 9/20

September 23, 2014
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H/T @dianaallen for the audio of her exclusive interview with Idaho Stampede head coach Dean Cooper.


Will you have freedom in deciding what kind of offense you run, or will you be running Quin Snyder’s offense?
The plan is basically to play the way that coach Snyder’s gonna play. You know, always because of types of players, the types of talent, skillset, there’s always a, gonna have to be adjustments kind of inside of the shell.

But for the most part, yeah. Both sides of the ball, not just the offense, but both sides of the ball, we’re gonna play the way so that it makes it an easy transition for when we have assignment players with us. You know, Jazz players or whatever the situation is, or if we just have one, guys that start on my roster and then they’re called up, in that way when they get there, it’s a, they’re not trying to learn a new language, a new way to play, etc., etc.

Do you know if the Jazz plan on sending players down on a more consistent basis than they have in the past?
I think it’s just gonna depend, honestly, on, like, kind of how it’s going. You know, we, it’s, we have a fairly young team up there, but at the same time, because we’re young kind of across the board, those guys might have to play up there a little bit more than, say, maybe a couple young guys on a more [veteran team]. …

It’s one of those things, like, I don’t think any team, like, truly plans it out unless you’re, like, really veteran and you just got, like, one young cat.

Have you had conversations with Quin Snyder about the offense you’ll be running?
We’ve been getting in different situations [at the open gym] and putting in the system.

And you know, we’re gonna play with pace. We’re gonna play with, we’re gonna get the ball up and down the floor. We’re gonna try to take the right shots…

It’s gonna be a different style of play, but the team’s set up for that now too, whereas it wasn’t in the past.

On the coaching staff’s decision-making process
Coach Snyder’s been great at, you know, making me part of his staff, which is why I’ve spent so much time in Salt Lake prior to coming here.

And we share ideas, and, in that, so you know, we have a really exhaustive collaborative effort which I f–you know, from the coaching staff as, in its entirety. I think our discussions are healthy. And we come to a decision, and once a decision’s made, then we just, boom. This is the way it’s gonna be.

So you know, I think, you know, hopefully I’ve been able to contribute, you know, some things that I’ve learned along the way, and obviously that’s gonna transfer to here because we’re gonna play in the same way, but it’s been a collaborative thing.

Does it help that Quin Snyder, Brad Jones and Alex Jensen coached in the D-League, and know what you’re going through?
They’re a great resource for me, because I’ve spent 15 years in the NBA. You know, so I’ve seen it from 10,000 feet, but I haven’t been on the ground…

They’ve been an unbelievable resource, and they’re gonna continue to be–probably moreso Brad and Alex. You know, it’s not gonna be time to bug coach Snyder to get over here, but Brad and Alex will be guys I can call and, you know, get advice about different situations. …

They’re just both good guys, so it’s very open communication.

How will your NBA experience benefit you with the Stampede?
I’ve been very fortunate to coach with some very successful coaches in my career. I mean, very, very lucky. But you know, I’ve, everybody’s dream is to play in the NBA.

I’ve spent 15 years there. I have a, I know what it takes to play in that league, to have a chance to play in that league and what can help you stay in that league.

And aside from just the Xs and Os and how we’re gonna play and all that, I think, I feel I can help them understand, like, I truly know what it’s like. So, it’s gotta be a partnership.

You have to trust me when I’m trying to help you get there. I hope that, like, I have, like, half my team that I start the year with, hopefully in the playoffs with me because the other half has been called up. That’s my goal. …

I mean, if we’re doing what we need to do to develop them, we’re gonna win along the way.

Do you have to do more teaching here than in the NBA?
I don’t know if you have to teach ’em more. I think you have to refine them more. ‘Cause the, usually what it is, it’s the refinement of their game is what allows ’em to play at the next level…

There’re areas of opportunity, what I call ’em, like, there’re, or you know, the things they need to work on. Instead of being a 6-inch hole, it’s a 9-inch hole. Now you just gotta shrink it.* So you just gotta refine it, you know, more so than even up there…

[NBDL players] might have, like, different, like, overall games might be more complete than the NBA, but a lot of the NBA’s about being special at something…

So you try to find something that these guys, maybe they’re, they have, they’re more utility guys, but you try to find that one thing that you can, that they can become elite at, and then, boom, and then now they’re in the NBA. (@dianaallen)


Head here for Diana’s observations from the Stampede’s open tryout.

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