Canisius College coach on what it’s like to be name-dropped by Steve Kerr

The Golden State Warriors have been off to such an unsightly begin that head coach Steve Kerr has discovered himself reaching far outdoors the NBA for factors of comparability. After 50 factors from Steph Curry weren’t sufficient to beat the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night time, Kerr primarily accused his gamers of enjoying pickup ball.

“We lack collective grit,” he stated Wednesday night time. “And when you do not have grit, the sport is simple for the opposite staff. … It’s a Drew League recreation. We’re enjoying a Drew League recreation.”

The Drew League, a preferred Los Angeles summer time pro-am, was not pleased with Kerr. “We are a 50 yr outdated interior metropolis league that exudes the exact opposite,” the league stated through Twitter on Thursday. “It is completely unfair to evaluate what we worth and characterize in our group to how your staff performs.”

Fair sufficient: Don’t drag the Drew League into this. But it’s not the primary time this season Kerr has reached means past the Chase Center to clarify how dangerous issues are. Earlier this month, when it grew to become clear simply how unprepared the Warriors’ kids have been for heavy NBA minutes, Kerr went off on the challenges of recent participant growth.

Unlike James Wiseman, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga, four-year school gamers like David Robinson and Tim Duncan within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties “spent 4 years studying how to play, rising up, maturing, studying their our bodies, gaining confidence,” Kerr stated. . Then he reached deep into his reference bag. “Because as an alternative of attempting to go up towards the Knicks and Patrick Ewing, you are going up towards Canisius. Nothing towards Canisius.”

Earlier this week, I known as Reggie Witherspoon, the longtime head males’s basketball coach at Canisius. It’s a tiny Division I Catholic school in Buffalo, New York, that performs within the MAAC with faculties like Iona, Rider and March Madness darling Saint Peter’s. Unlike the Drew League, Witherspoon was not offended to be name-dropped by Kerr, though he was understandably flummoxed by how Canisius bought to the tip of Kerr’s tongue. In truth, Witherspoon says, he is an enormous admirer of Kerr and fully agrees together with his level.

“The preliminary response was that to begin with, he pronounced the identify of the varsity accurately,” Witherspoon stated. “I’m wondering, what made him so acquainted with Canisius?” Canisius’ sports activities info employees seemed up if Kerr, who was at Arizona for 5 years within the Eighties, ever performed towards the Golden Griffins; he did not Witherspoon’s speculation is that it might have one thing to do with John Beilein, who coached at Canisius for six years within the Nineteen Nineties earlier than teaching Jordan Poole at Michigan and attempting an ill-fated stint within the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“When you delve into his assertion, nearly participant growth, that NBA coaches are doing what school coaches did 20 years in the past — I imply, that is fully true,” Witherspoon stated. “I used to be a school coach 20 years in the past. … Having all of these experiences, he’s spot on, for my part.”

Like Kerr, Witherspoon would not fault gamers for taking the cash after a presumably perfunctory yr of school ball. For the primary time, school gamers could make some cash above the desk due to newly authorized identify, picture and likeness (NIL) offers.

“I do not know the way you inform somebody they may make some huge cash, however they cannot,” Witherspoon stated.

The NBA can be paying wholesome salaries for the G League Ignite, presumably step one in the direction of a full-fledged various developmental league.

“The G League, I believe Jordan Poole was in there, and it seems to be like it’s understanding for his growth,” Witherspoon stated. (Shortly after our dialog, the Warriors despatched Wiseman to Santa Cruz.)

Witherspoon wished me to know that he’s decidedly not utilizing the road as bulletin board materials.

“One factor I need to get throughout is that it’s undoubtedly not me sitting over there like ‘Wait a minute, they known as us out — that is not good, man!'” he stated. “My spouse was like, are you upset with him for that? No, as a result of I’ve coached at different faculties. I’ve coached towards Canisius too. I perceive it. But possibly we might speak sooner or later, or possibly I might be taught one thing. He might give me one thing that he thinks works or no matter.”

Mostly, although, Witherspoon wished to make it clear that he was an enormous admirer of Kerr, each on and off the courtroom. “I like watching his groups play,” Witherspoon stated. “I’d watch them on a regular basis if our seasons weren’t on the similar time.”

He’s a fan of Kerr’s occasional forays outdoors of basketball, too. Kerr spent the Trump years expressing his disgust with the president and pleading for stronger gun management because the massacres piled up. “I’m impressed with the problems that he’ll take on, that he’ll communicate passionately about. It would not damage that these are issues that principally I agree with,” Witherspoon stated. “These are issues that — not that I’ve seen all of them — however these are issues that he might simply select not to communicate on, however he speaks on ’em.”

Witherspoon hopes {that a} reference to Kerr might come from this. “I simply need to use this as a chance to speak extra basketball with somebody who clearly has bought a wealth of information,” he stated. “We’re gonna strive to get him gear. … Listen, we’re a program that has one of many smallest budgets within the nation. …

“I simply had a dialog with our AD about attempting to provide you with some more cash so our guys can eat three meals a day, as a result of the eating corridor solely serves two meals on weekends. We’re lifting, attempting to get guys stronger — yeah, something that we might get that may assist us, if that is just a few basketball conversations or ‘do this drill.’”

Obviously Kerr himself might use some assist proper now, however he’d have loads to supply to one of many smallest faculties in Division I.

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