He has 40 years experience in basketball, while she got to work with some of the biggest names in the biggest basketball league in the world. If we say the NBA and Kobe Bryant, you understand that we are dealing with a coach who has not "played" with his job. Laurian Watkins, now the president of a major basketball agency, agreed to give an interview for CSU Fans Store. The way coach Watkins sees basketball how to live by says a lot about the key to success in this great sport.
Rep.: Those over 40 years of experience in basketball betrays your love and dedication to this sport. Tell me more about how you discovered her passion for basketball and how you decided to become a player and, later, coach.
LW: First contact with basketball occurred at the age of 5 years through my father, Eldridge Watkins Sr., who took me to a basketball club selection where the minimum age for participation was 8 years old. Because I was only 5 years, but real demonstrable aptitude for the sport, my father said my real age when he went to enroll myself. Only 5 years old, my skills were locomotion of a child 8-9 years old, so age was not a hindrance in being selected.
I remember when I was little, too young to go to the basketball hoop, spent hours in the backyard of the house, where strategically placed under the panel doghouse. I climbed the cage, because I was too short at that age, and take the basket there until I managed to score that basket, which I enjoy for the rest of the day. My parents looked at me funny and waiting to get tired and bored me to go to the next actives, but to their surprise, do not give in until we put the ball in the basket. My attitude convinced my parents to enroll me at a local recreation center, known as Sportsman Park, where we started basketball at an early age. I love this sport so much, that at 15, I started to convince my friends to grab the basketball and to share the knowledge gained from me. He began to draw me the idea to train. I would have loved to coach in college, but in my time, there is this dual role as player-coach in the NCAA, so I continued as a player. After I graduated, I played a few seasons outside the United States, but soon I decided to dedicate career coach. After many years of coaching, I have concluded that I basketball in the blood and there is nothing else that I would like to do more.
Rep.: You trained in Syria, Norway, Guatemala, China, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, but I wish I could tell you more about your work in the NBA, because I know you worked for Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.
LW: He trained abroad meant for me a great experience, which I enjoyed tremendously. Each country has meant a new challenge, because it was very different from the United States, the country where I started my coaching career. What I liked most when I was trained abroad teaching the fundamentals of basketball in the country in which it is taught in a more old, if I may say so. When I returned to the States, I was a bit hard to readjust to the demands of American basketball, but not impossible. I then began to spend summers involving aspiring athletes in the NBA and trying to find other international jobs. It was my first step towards this dream league known as the NBA. If a long period, praised NBA coaches who kept their positions for many years, came at a time when they were replaced by young coaches, who came from classmates, whom I knew and who knew me from the when I was a player. I was at that time and very good friend Reggie Thues, head coach at New Mexico State University, which later became coach of the Sacramento Kings. I immediately thought that I have a place in Sacramento's your stuff, because Reggie knew very well what may, but I never received that phone call from him. It happened, however, when Eric Mussleman took over leadership of Sacramento. Trained at the time a young man named Eugene "Pooh" Jeter, which simply amazed by the ethics NBA Summer League game and his talent. In a magazine interview Draft Express, Pooh talked about who had prepared so well, coach Laurian Watkins at Pro Skills Sports Academy. I began to receive calls from NBA teams and players from different services requested me and asked me to prepare for a season without injury as the most advanced training techniques.
I agreed, finally, the proposal of the Sacramento Kings, a team of young players who are fighting for a good position in the championship. I stayed with them for the entire season. Then I got to work with the Los Angeles Lakers players. Jerry West, a very good friend and former teammate, I called one of the leading preparatory teachers and aspirants in the NBA. That summer, the NBA Summer League, the team coached by Dallas Mavericks defeated me, then coached by Jim Clemons. Due to this performance, I was contacted by LA Lakers, which I proposed to train two of the new players I thought had transferred and which still need additional summer work. I was so excited about this opportunity that I never cared about who was. I can not tell you how shocked I was when, one morning in 1997 I woke up at practice with Kobe Bryant and Derrick Fisher. Frankly, I think I work with Jimmy King at Michigan University and at California State Juaquin Hawkins, two players trying to enter the roster the Lakers next season. I worked very hard to prove that I deserved a chance received and reward not immediate. When Mr. West left the stuff of the Sacramento and signed with Memphis Grizzlies, and I could talk openly about my collaboration with the team from Memphis. I became special assignment coach for the Memphis Grizzlies and had the opportunity to work with the best team players: Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and many others. I had the contract for one season and from my point of view, I carried out the tasks, but to be completely honest, I must say that I enjoyed the experience that gave me a NBA site, but I liked it a lot more to coach my own team. Regardless of the professional level at which I trained, I always liked the challenge and I think I'm known as that coach who agreed to coach positions located away from the top position and managed to qualify for the playoffs and give emotions teams much better ranked and rated. I think that most coaches dream to coach in the NBA and no I was not an exception, but as the years started to attract me more than the idea of training outside the United States and create my own legacy . God blessed me by giving me the opportunity to get involved in this great sport, to travel around the world and influence the destinies through basketball. If I had the opportunity to change something in my life or start my life over again, I would do exactly the same thing. In the 52 years my family, I still feel restless and eager to continue this journey around the world and do what they know best: teach young people to play basketball and teach them life lessons through the sport .
Rep.: You talked me that in 1997 you were the coach's personal Kobe Bryant and Derrick Fisher. Tell me more about this experience. What were Kobe and Derrick in training?
LW: In 1997 I worked with the Los Angeles Lakers and so I got to work with Kobe and Derrick who were in their first season in the NBA. To understand how hardworking, serious and perfectionist is Kobe as a player have to tell you about my first encounter with him. There was one morning at practice and made me wait forever until it fitted. He tied and untied shoelaces had so many times before he managed to make them look exactly the same. Should be identical, that was the idea. After finishing with shoes began to arrange the same patience and thoroughness protections for elbows and knees. Then I realized that we are dealing with a very ambitious player, perfectionist and would certainly go far.
Another aspect that I liked about him was that he was an extremely friendly. The breaks in training when other players were going to drink water or Gatorade, Kobe not only sign autographs for children in the stands, but he did talk with each of them, and then they take the field to play one on one with it. He was friendly and close to his fans, but also very funny and I remember that, before a workout, I spilled Red Bull in sneakers and Bryan Russell blamed the Utah Jazz. I was a very pleasant experience! Other things that I remember about Kobe would be that as long as I trained, I saw him eating spaghetti and often only spoke Italian when very angry, probably because it would not be understood by others.
With Derrick Fisher, things were, however, different. Derrick was slightly mannered and diplomat. I remember he came to training a little shy and excited about being a part of the roster of the Los Angeles Lakers. I would describe as a very hardworking player who spoke little, but because it came from a rural area of Arkansas and using a specific slang that area and coechipieriii his jokes. Another occasion for jokes was that his mother came into the locker room before training and brought us peach pie and I must admit it was the most delicious cake I've ever had. Returning, however, to basketball, I think the most difficult thing was to me as a coach to tell him and make him understand what the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers wanted from him. Unlike Dale Harris and Larry Drew, coaches that Derrick had in summer leagues and Derrick tried to make an exceptional passer, Jerry West, manager of the Lakers, he wanted to throw more Jerry because he saw that something was going to make one of the bullets Derrick chief of North American basketball league. In the summer of 1997, spent with these guys in the NBA, was one of the greatest of my life.
Rep.: Because the NBA is considered to be the best league in the world, I would like to ask you, as a coach, who had direct contact with the championship, which are "ingriedientele" that make NBA site to be a league so strong?
LW: I think what makes the NBA to be a strong league here is that changing some of the most talented and dedicated athletes which make the sport worldwide. I do not mean that other athletes from other parts of the world are passionate and dedicated to this sport, just that here in the United States, basketball is a lifestyle for children and young people who aspire to become players in the NBA. As European children want to become a professional football player, American kids dream to play in the NBA. I think there are more kids who want to play in the NBA but who want to become president of the United States. A basketball player gets to win in America more than a neurosurgeon and maybe this will give the impression that we have misplaced priorities, but this is our reality here in the U.S.. Returning, however, to the question, I think the NBA is a league so strong because of financial opportunities, but also because of the players, who told you that he cultivates young talent. Moreover, in recent years, training techniques have diversified and improved, and diet has become an important aspect in the lives of basketball players. We all understood that not only develop personal skills and competencies is important, but also the development of the mind.
Rep.: Going back to your career, I'd like you to tell me that was the biggest challenge and greatest achievement so far?
L.W.: A question scrumptious! I always thought that to play and train in the United States is the greatest achievement that anyone can have, but I was wrong. I am so happy to have the chance to work with some of the best athletes in the world, but I realized in the meantime that touch the lives of athletes from all over the world through basketball is so much more enjoyable. We won enough awards and championships here in the United States and I think what I want most now is to help basketball grow in countries where it is not as developed as in my home country. I think John Wooden (The Wizard of Westwood - won 88 consecutive matches) was a great coach and great innovator of the game of basketball, but in time, the game began to currency and automatically have to change and improve how we prepare and motivate players. I've always wanted me to be one of the coaches who manage to change something in basketball globally and the biggest challenge of my career was trying to change my old methods of antrenamet with newer methods. I tried also to change the way to look at basketball as a sport in some countries it was not very developed, I tried to give the same exposure that has in the United States.
Rep.: After 40 years in basketball, we can talk about a favorite player, a player that you personally admire?
LW: The player who caught my attention and respect is Kobe Bryant, who, in my opinion, is a player with a high basketball IQ, with a great work ethic and an undying desire to win, to find ways to win matches and to motivate teammates become better players. Maybe there will be many who will argue me, but Lakers fans surely know what I mean. Kobe is the kind of basketball that can tackle aggressive game, both offensively and defensively, is a "game changer" when it is in the field.
Rep.: What is your philosophy as a coach?
LW: Practice does not make you a great player, but a great workout, yes. This is my theory and I try to teach my players to strive for perfection and become students of the game of basketball. I wish the players he coaches understand that as long as the first place team, their experience will be long and memorable basketball.
Rep.: Three qualities that should be a basketball player, in your opinion.
LW: Any player who wants a serious career in basketball to be the first worker and have traits of a winner. Secondly, we must understand that the team is always the first place - not personal statistics. Another feature that, in my opinion, is necessary for a leader is to basketball. The player must be a leader by example, both on the field and off, and must cherish opinions supporters and people respect him, support him and encourages him every game.
Rep.: What advice would you give to Romanian children who want a career in basketball?
LW: I would tell them to enjoy the sport, share the ball and play experience with others, to laugh and have fun playing basketball. If you want a serious career, however, I recommend to start as early professional training, training to be based on the fundamentals of basketball: dribbling, shooting, care and footwork to get used to at an early age with the idea of playing effectively. Of course, it would be great if it could track and study some of the training videos made by me Pro Skills Sports Academy, which were rated as quite effective by the coaches and players who have adopted and applied my training techniques.
Thank you for this interview and ... See you on the floor!