Monday, November 29, 2010

Exclusive Q&A with coach Eric Musselman: from the NBA to the Dominican Republic NT, now in the D-League with the Reno Bighorns! "In 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach"

Eric Musselman (born November 19, 1964 in Ashland, Ohio) is the head coach of the Reno Bighorns in the NBA Development League. The son of legendary coach Bill Musselman, Eric is the former head coach of the NBA's Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. He was a head coach in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) before becoming an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies. At the 2010 Men's Centro Basketball Championship in July 2010, FIBA America's top regional tournament, Musselman guided the Dominican Republic team to the Gold Medal game, losing to Puerto Rico 89-80. By finishing second, the Dominican Republic qualifies for the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, a qualifying tournament for the FIBA World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Coach, when did you first know what you wanted to do for a career? You grew up in a basketball family, so how much was your Dad Bill influential and important in your decision?

In 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach. I always idolized my dad growing up I would travel with him on road trips and when most kids were watching cartoons and eating cereal I was watching game tape with my dad.

You are young but you have had great experiences in the NBA as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings and now you are coaching the Reno Bighorns in the NBA Development League. But you also know very well the international basketball being the head coach of the Dominican Republic National team. Can you tell our readers what are the musts for such a successful career?

I’ve been very lucky at a young age to be getting different coaching opportunities. As a coach you always try to get better and improve and learn from your past mistakes. With each year experience you should become a better coach.

You've been here with the Reno Bighorns for a few weeks, what are your impressions of the team and the level of the League?

We love our team and our coaching staff. The coaching staff here at Reno is as good as any NBA staff I’ve been with. As far as the players go, the attitude, energy, effort and enthusiasm they bring on a daily basis has been a real pleasure to coach. The level of talent in the D-League is the 2nd best in the world outside the NBA.

Speaking of this new group, what do you see as some of their strengths, some of their potential?

Our starting 5 has great length and size, we need to continue to develop as individual players and as a team. We feel like we have 4 to 5 players that have the potential to get called up this year and another 3 players with experience at some point should be in the NBA at some point in their career.

You know international basketball. How do you hope to translate your experiences to the squad?

Number one the new goaltending rule has helped us as we have used it in practice. Something we also did with the Dominican Republic national team.

Eric, in the NBA there are more and more non-American players and some of them are big-time players. Do you think American coaches can learn from the top European colleagues?

American coaches can learn a lot from some of their top European colleagues. For instance when I was in the Dominican Republic, a lot of Dominican Republic coaches helped implement things for our system. I have great respect for the professional coaches coaching outside the NBA.

Switching to off the court, what do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I like to spend time with my family with my two sons Michael and Matt, daughter Mariah, and my wife Danyelle. The last few years I have been able to coach and work with my sons individually and I loved being able to do that.

Coach, we just want to know what's your challenge for the future? NBA or a Euroleague organization?

I’m very happy coaching in the NBDL. I have always had interest in coaching in Europe and maybe if the right opportunity will present itself in the future. In the NBA, they are the hardest jobs to come by and the NBA is where everybody in the NBDL strives to get to whether it is players, coaches and referees.

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