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Season preview: CHD interviews UCLA coach Steve Alford

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with UCLA coach Steve Alford about winning a gold medal and an NCAA title.

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In 2013 you became head coach at UCLA and proceeded to lead the Bruins to their first Pac-12 tourney title in six years and a spot in the Sweet 16: how were you able to come in and be so successful so quickly? The players bought in from day one. I was the second or third coach for some of them so they certainly did not have to trust me or my staff right away, but I give them a lot of credit for doing so. We had great chemistry all year long and worked hard every day from the start of summer workouts: strength training, nutrition, style of play, etc.

Two players on your roster are also named Alford: how do you like coaching your sons Kory and Bryce? It is very special. I was a coach’s kid myself who played for my dad in high school, so to be on the other side of it as the adult is a whole different deal. It makes the workplace that much more exciting: I am very blessed to have 3 great kids. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Siena PF Brett Bisping

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Siena PF Brett Bisping about winning the 2014 CBI title and being named CBI MVP.

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You grew up in Illinois: what made you choose Siena? I did not know how far from home I wanted to go, but I did not want to wait for any better options. I love the East Coast!

You play for Coach Jimmy Patsos: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? He really gets the best out of his players and he is fun to play for. He has taught me that you have to play passionately and that you can be a different person on and off the court.

In the 2014 CBI title game you had 20 points and nine rebounds in a win over Fresno State: what did it mean to you to win the title? It was great to win it all. The title game was on campus, so all my friends were in the student section and it was a great environment. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews High Point coach Scott Cherry

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with High Point coach Scott Cherry about 1 of the most infamous timeouts ever called.

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You played at UNC for Dean Smith: what made him such a great coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? The one thing that he always preached is that no individual was greater than the team, which is difficult to get kids to understand in today’s world of “me, me, me”. He taught that to every single guy who came through the program, and it sticks with me even today as a coach: take a group of guys and try to achieve a common goal. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Xavier coach Chris Mack

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Xavier coach Chris Mack about making the switch from the A-10 to the Big East last year.

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In the 1989 NCAA tourney as a freshman at Evansville, Reed Crafton made a 24-footer while trailing by one with eight seconds left in a four-point overtime win over Oregon State: where does that rank among the most clutch shots you have ever seen? It is up there, at least for a game that I witnessed in person as a coach or player. The tourney was not as publicized back then, but neither team missed a three-point shot in overtime. I think both teams were a combined 8-for-8! It was back and forth until Reed put the nail in the coffin. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Hampton assistant coach DeMarco Johnson

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Hampton assistant coach DeMarco Johnson about trying to replace his team’s leading scorer.

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In 1998 you led C-USA with 21.1 points per game and were named conference POY at UNC-Charlotte: what is your secret for being a great scorer, and what did it mean to you to receive such an outstanding honor? My secret to being a great scorer probably has to do with my touch and feel for the game. The coaches I played for while growing up would constantly speak highly of my form and the way I could create shots from the post position. Receiving the POY award was one of the greatest basketball honors I have ever had. It was a testament to the great group of coaches, players, and teams that I played with over the years. The award was for my family and the great city of Charlotte because they did a great job of raising me. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Duke assistant coach Nate James

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Duke assistant coach Nate James about winning titles as both a player and coach under Coach K.

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In the 1999 NCAA tourney title game you played six minutes in a three point loss to UConn: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career and how did it help motivate you going forward? As a player you believe that you are just supposed to win. I think we had the talent and we were loaded at every position that year: it was arguably one of the best teams ever. When we did not get it done it just made me think back to all the little things that I now know as a coach that prevented us from getting there: staying together, believing, and keeping the team-first aspect above all. I think we had so many guys (without even knowing it) who were starting to think about going pro, which distracted us from our goal of winning it all. We faced a UConn team that was extremely tough, played together, and obviously well-coached: they were the better team that day. I think if we played them 10 times in a row we would win 9 of 10, but that is not the way the tournament works. They came together on that day and we were not at our best, so that is what happened.

When you become a coach you realize all those things and you try to keep your team from making the same mistakes. I talk to them about my experiences and how important it is to keep your eyes on the prize, stay together, not allow distractions to come into your team, and make sure you are playing for the right reason. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Albany PF Sam Rowley

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Albany PF Sam Rowley about winning the 1st NCAA tourney game in school history.

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You grew up in Australia: how did you first get into the sport of basketball, and how did so many of you end up in Albany? Basketball is definitely a secondary sport in Australia to rugby, AFL, cricket, yet its popularity is always increasing and a huge number of people now play it. Also being pretty tall as a kid I was always encouraged to give it a try and ended up loving it. As for ending up in Albany, we all owe our thanks to Luke Devlin, who was a class above me. Coach Brown took a chance on him as a talented but relatively unknown foreign player, and his success paved the way for more Australians to follow in his footsteps. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Portland State coach Tyler Geving

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Portland State coach Tyler Geving about the importance of senior leadership.

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You spent four years as an assistant to Ken Bone at Portland State before taking over in 2009: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? He is probably one of the best Xs and Os coaches out there. I always felt like we were prepared and had a a good strategy going into every game, and he was able to make adjustments during the game. He also kept an even keel that we fed off of: he was never too high or too low. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Albany SG Peter Hooley

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Albany guard Peter Hooley about winning the first NCAA tourney game in school history.

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You grew up in Australia: how did you start playing the sport of basketball, and how did so many of you end up in Albany? I got into basketball at a really young age. I assume it was by accident somehow since my dad played professional soccer in England and my mum played softball at a high level in Australia. After the U20 National Championships in 2011 I got an email from Coach Brown stating his interest in me. Luke Devlin was already at the school, so I just spoke to him and took a blind pick, but it has worked out well so far. Continue Reading

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Season preview: CHD interviews Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel commences our season preview series by chatting with Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins about trying to win the MAC West Division seven out of the last eight years.

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After high school you worked as an assistant at UCLA basketball camps while serving as a chauffeur for Hall of Fame coach John Wooden: what was it like to spend time with the legend, and how much of an influence was he on your life both on and off the court? It was Coach Wooden’s camps. I do not know if I can put his influence into words. It was about a 30-minute drive in each direction for 25-30 days each summer, so I got ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers. It was like sitting in on a tutorial every day. I did not take away a lot of Xs and Os from him, but learned how to focus on the fundamentals of passing/shooting/dribbling. The majority of what I learned from him took place off the court, such as the Pyramid of Success and doing the best at everything you do. It is like your connection with a parent: you do not really appreciate everything they tell you until later in life. Continue Reading