Monday, December 6, 2010

Exclusive interview with Maine Red Claws (NBA D-League) Assistant Coach Hernando Planells: creativity, stats and movies in an intriguing coaching path career!

Hernando Planells is currently the assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.  The Red Claws are the official minor league team for the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats.  For the past 12 years Coach Hernando has coached at every level. His experiences have also allowed him to choreograph, coordinate and consult on sports action in movies, commercials and print-ads.
Some of his work includes the basketball scenes and the training of the actors on movies such as “Coach Carter” starring Samuel L. Jackson, “The Longest Yard” starring Adam Sandler, “Rebound” starring Martin Lawrence and "Spider-Man 3" starring Tobey Mcguire and others. His production work has also led him to train the athletes of “Extreme Dodgeball”, the highest rated show on the Game Show Network.
Coach “H” has also appeared on on SPIKE TV’s smash hit SLAMBALL as the head coach for the Bouncers . His three year run with the Bouncers saw them qualify for the playoffs while leading the league in scoring.
Besides his work in sports production Coach Hernando works with former NBA Head Coach Don Casey on basketball related projects including the extremely popular blog  The Temple of  Zones.
In 2008 Coach Hernando returned to the United States after serving as Head Coach of the Ryukyu Golden Kings an expansion team that is a part of the BJ League (Basketball Japan). Coach Hernando was responsible for a roster that was the youngest in the league and spent everyday building and instilling a championship attitude and work ethic.
For the 2006/2007 Coach Hernando served as the Head Basketball Coach for The Hollywood Fame, a team that participated in the American Basketball Association. (ABA) Coach Hernando started the season as the assistant coach and Director of Player personnel to former NBA head coach Don Casey. Coach Casey left the Fame in January and Hernando took over leading them to a second place finish in their division and making it to the second round of the playoffs.
During the last three years Coach Hernando has served as a scout for Marty Blake who is the Director of Scouting for the National Basketball Association (NBA). Since 1971, Marty Blake and Associates have provided professional basketball scouting and consulting to the NBA and to clients around the globe. In his role as a scout Coach Hernando puts together scouting reports evaluating NBA prospects which are circulated to every NBA GM and player personnel director. During his time in Japan, Coach Hernando will continue to serve as a scout for Marty Blake, specializing in scouting the Asian countries.
In 2005 Hernando Planells Jr. was named the first Vice President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach in Wyoming Golden Eagle history. At that time 28 year old Hernando Planells was the youngest professional basketball coach in the country.
Prior to scouting, Hernando founded ELITE athlete training which specialized in personal training and consulting services for athletes. Through his work with ELITE, Hernando trained and assisted over a hundred athletes reach their goal of gaining a college scholarship or playing professionally.
From 2003 to 2005 Hernando served as assistant coach in charge of offense for Citrus College, one of the top Community Colleges in the State of California. While at Citrus he assisted the Owls in winning consecutive Tournament titles, post back-to-back winning season in 20 years, guided Citrus to its highest State ranking in school history (6th), established highest single season scoring average at 86ppg and defeated the regular season No. 1 rankedLos Angeles City College and California State Champions, Compton College.
Other coaching stops include the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Head Varsity Coach at Los Angeles High School and Immaculate Heart High School in Tucson, Arizona and as an assistant at Monrovia High School.

Hernando, when did you first know what you wanted to do for a career?

I played all the sports growing up and as I got older coaching become something I was very interested in.  I always wanted to stay involved with basketball and coaching gave me an outlet to stay involved.  No one in my family was a coach but I take the qualities of my parents and from coaches I have met around the world and have been able to learn how to coach, motivate and develop players.  As time goes on I wanted to give myself some coaching goals such as coaching professionally, coaching overseas, coaching a countries National Team – goals have really allowed me to keep my focus…Ive accomplished a few already but have many more to go!
You are young but you have had great experiences so far: high school and college basketball, you have been in Japan... Can you tell our readers a little bit of you and your resume?

I appreciate you telling me im still young!  Coaching can make you feel real old very quickly!  Im 34 now and have been coaching since I was 21.  I ‘ve coached at every level, High School, College and professionally.  I had the distinct pleasure in working with former NBA head coach Don Casey; I was his assistant with the Hollywood Fame in the ABA before he resigned and currently work with him on coaching materials for coaches all over the world.  We run a fairly popular blog The Temple of Zones.
One of my coaching goals was to coach overseas and had a great opportunity to coach in Japan and it was an unbelievable experience.  Coaching in another country is such a unique experience, building a team with Americans and Japanese players was challenging yet enjoyable.  I learned so much while dealing with players and management.  Being half Filipino I had a great honor in helping with the National Team from the Philippines a few years back and that was a great experience personally.
Basketball has opened the doors to other opportunities, I have also coached on the TV sport SLAMBALL

and I also have done the basketball choreography on movies such as Coach Carter, The Longest Yard, Spider-Man 3 and others.  Ive also been able to do numerous commercials and work with some great actors.
I’m now the assistant with the Maine Red Claws in the NBA Development League – we are the official minor league team for the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats.  Austin Ainge who is the son of Celtics GM Danny Ainge is our head coach and former Celtics assistant Jon Jennings is the GM – both are quality people and have really made the organization one of the top 2-3 in the league.

Now you are the assistant coach of the Maine Red Claws in the D-League. You've been here for a few weeks, what are your impressions of the team and the guys who are here and are coming?

In my shot time here in Maine I have seen how great our ownership, GM, Head Coach and staff members are.  This is an amazing organization with people who know and understand what it takes to be a great franchise.  We have a very talented and hungry group of players this year – we are young with 7 rookies on the team but the talent is there to win right away.  We have two very good big men in Magnum Rolle and Keith “Tiny” Gallon – both were drafted in the 2010 NBA draft.  Both bring a unique skills set to our team; Magnum is a very good mid-range shooter and knows how to play the game, his basketball IQ is very good for someone who started playing basketball at 16.  Tiny Gallon is young at 19 but is strong and has very good footwork in the post.  On the perimeter, Jamar Smith and Champ Oguchi are two of the better shooters in the league and Mario West (who has played with the Atlanta Hawks) and Paul Harris are two very strong and athletic wings.  Our point guards are Kenny Hayes from Miami of Ohio and Lawrence Westbrook from Minnesota – both are also rookies but are learning quickly.

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

The great thing about having a young team is that they are hungry, everyday they come to practice wanting to get better and learn how to be a professional.  Potentially we have the pieces to do very well this year but as with any young team it all depends on how quickly they pick up the information and apply it to the games.

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

I’ve been very fortunate to have coached internationally and there are some good coaches in this league who also has international experience, Chris Finch who is the head coach at Rio Grande Valley coached in Europe for years and is now the Great Britain National Team coach.  Nick Nurse also coached in Europe for several years as did Will Voight in Bakersfield .  Those experiences have helped these coaches find success in this league. Although I have had head coaching experience overseas you can never stop learning; and im very fortunate to be working for Austin Ainge, he is an outstanding coach – he grew up around the NBA game and has an understanding of it that very few people have.  My experiences in Japan and in the US and working with athletes have helped me become a more complete coach – overseas or in the other minor leagues in the US you don’t have the resources and you have to find ways to get your players better without video, weight rooms, athletic trainers etc…  I think I have had a very different coaching career path but every opportunity has given me learning experiences that I try to apply everyday!

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

I don’t get a lot of time off the court but when I do I enjoy spending time with my family… My wife and 2 kids keep me very busy… I enjoy reading and try to read books on leadership and how to bring the best out of people.

Thank you coach for the interview. We just want to know what's your challenge for the future?

You never know what the future can bring, 10 years ago I never imagined having a journey like the one I have had so far - Right now im focused on helping Maine win a D-League Championship and helping our players get better everyday!
Ive been very blessed to have coached and worked with people all over the world – Like any coach you want to continue to move up and make yourself better – I enjoy challenges and im open to any and all of them… 

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