In the upcoming issue of Finest Magazine things will be done a little differently. Yes the focus will remain on local talent excelling in the game of basketball of course, however, instead of focusing on players the next issue will shine light on the individuals who walk the sidelines....the coaches. Coaches are the heart and soul of any program. They put their philosophy, personality and pretty much everything else into building a quality program. Players no matter how talented, can only go so far without the lessons of the teacher on the court, the coaches. Michael Jordan once said this regarding his college coach at the University of North Carolina, the late great Dean Smith "A lot of people say Dean Smith held me to under 20 points a game. Dean Smith gave me the knowledge to score 37 points a game and that's something people don't understand." In issue nine, I asked numerous coaches throughout the DMV area from all levels to be a part of this special issue, to share their various philosophies on evaluation of players, X's and O's and ultimate goals as coaches, short and long term.
"Everyone has their pet peeves. I would say mine is selfish basketball. Even if you’re the best player on the court, I feel like their are more ways to help your team get better besides clearing out one side of the court to play one on one. Those things don’t translate at the next level for the most part." - Louis Hinnant
Next up is UMass-Lowell Director of Basketball Operations Louis Hinnant. A former All Met player at Gwynn Park High School (1998-2002),starting point guard at Boston College and professional player overseas, Hinnant has been around the block and then some. I had a chance to speak with Hinnant about his motivation behind becoming a college coach, his great relationship with the UMass-Lowell players and what goes into his evaluation of players. Below is an excerpt from the full interview with Louis Hinnant.
FM- What sparked your interest into becoming a coach?
LH - It’s always been something that I was interested in. When I was in high school I coached a youth flag football team, and once I got to college I always coached my high school team in the summers. I really enjoy the work that goes into putting a team together and sustaining a certain level of play over a period of time.
FM- As an player with an impressive resume how have you translated the lessons from your playing days in to your current role as coach?
LH - I think I am able to relate to the guys. Not too long ago I was in their shoes, so I’m not completely out of touch with what today’s student-athletes go through. I think that because of my success as a player, the guys on the team receive the information that I’m trying to give them more freely, and also due to the fact that I can still beat them one on one lol.
FM- When evaluating a player, what is it that you look at to see if they are a fit for the UMass Lowell program?
LH -I know it’s cliché, but we can start at with the academics. Is he even eligible academically to play here? That’s the first thing. Next, I am looking for things that will translate no matter what kind of game it is. Is the kid intelligent, high IQ, plays hard, tough, vocal, aware, unselfish? Now obviously the player has to have some athletic ability to go along with those things. I feel like I can teach a player how to shoot, dribble, pass, etc. but I can’t teach those things that I previously mentioned at this level.
FM- Turn offs when evaluating a player?
LH- Everyone has their pet peeves. I would say mine is selfish basketball. Even if you’re the best player on the court, I feel like their are more ways to help your team get better besides clearing out one side of the court to play one on one. Those things don’t translate at the next level for the most part.
The entire interview will be in the upcoming issue of Finest Mag 9, coming in late June