News » Top 100 Camp gives NBA players opportunities to coach

Top 100 Camp gives NBA players opportunities to coach

Top 100 Camp gives NBA players opportunities to coach
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Philadelphia 76ers forward Donyell Marshall has all the attributes of a future NBA or college coach.

He has been in the NBA for 15 years, he relates easily with players and he knows how to work the referees.

"As soon as I got drafted, I started a camp in Reading, Pa., (his hometown)," Marshall said. "Doing that really got me interested in coaching. But I got voted off as a coach by my counselors because they said the referees were giving me good calls because I was writing their checks."

At 36 and set to be an unrestricted free agent, Marshall is hoping to get another season or two out of his knees, but he has had designs on coaching for 18 years. Last weekend he worked for free at the NBA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia.

Most of the 13 players in the NBA Players Association Coaching Program, such as Marshall, Lindsey Hunter and Calvin Booth, are role players on the precipice of retirement with a desire to stay in the game.

"Would I like to play another year? Yes. But will I? I'm not sure," said Marshall, who has averaged 11.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in his NBA career.

"I didn't want to be in a situation where I was done playing and say, 'OK, what do I do?' I wanted to be prepared."

The program began last year with three players. Booth (Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings) and Antonio Daniels (Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets) returned to play in the NBA . Adrian Griffin began with the Milwaukee Bucks camp as a player. After being released, he finished on the Bucks bench as an assistant coach.

"There are two trends that I have noticed that make the best coaches. Enthusiasm and love for the game," said Tim McCormick, the director of NBA Top 100 who played eight years in the league.

"I do find it ironic that the 13 players here who are currently in the NBA are all role players. They have not been given anything in the NBA . They understand that this is a fragile business and they have to prepare for life after Basketball. More importantly, during the games ... they learn and they study."

Marshall understands the transition to coaching is difficult: "You have to try to build a circle and build your friends. You have to get that one break to get in."

That's easier said than done.

"There are a limited number of positions," said Jeff Lamp, who helps run the NBA Players Association transition programs. "The players who are here have developed a reputation and have put in the grunt work and court work to not only be knowledgeable but also to teach or to coach what they have expertise in."

Booth, who was with seven teams in 10 NBA seasons, says his interest in the sport goes beyond that of a player.

"I've always been a fan of the sport who happened to play," he said. "It's just a natural progression for me."

Not all of the players in this year's programs are staring at retirement. New Jersey Nets forward Jarvis Hayes and Atlanta Hawks swingman Maurice Evans have been in the NBA for six years. Houston Rockets forward Carl Landry has played for two seasons.

"They're forward thinkers," McCormick said. "I admire them. For NBA players to give up a week of their summer is precious time, and I commend them for that. They're really going to learn a lot about coaching.

"At the very least, they'll have a deeper appreciation when their coach tells them to do something."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 23, 2009


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