Local coaches gathered at The Venue at UCF to swap their coaching knowledge, as part of the June 30 Coaching University basketball clinic. Among the speakers was former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, who gave those in attendance a taste of his basketball psyche and what he’s learned from the game. Current Detroit Pistons head coach, Van Gundy coached the Magic from 2007 too 2012 and led them to the playoffs five years in a row.

SVG on types of players he wants:

I want people who love the game. I want people who care about their teammates and can be happy for their teammates and can be happy for their success. I don’t want the guy sitting there hoping the guy ahead of me plays like crap so that he can play. Our three words all the time are hard, smart and together.

SVG on in-game adjustments:

The one thing I try to do early in games is I’m going to run a high pick-and-roll with my five-man screening, I’m going to run a high pick-and-roll with my four-man screening, I’m going to run some side screen-and-roll, I’m going to run somebody off screens. Those first six, seven, eight plays — and Brenden [Suhr] knows this well — at the pro-level it’s like you can script them, which I wouldn’t do the rest of the game. I want to try and get everyone involved in the game a little bit. More than anything for me, I want to get an idea of how they’re going to guard certain situations, because that’s going to tell me what I think we can run for the rest of the game and really exploit. I want to know early if they’re going to switch our pick-and-roll; I want to know that early.

SVG on developing assistant coaches:

I think a couple of things, No. 1, try to be really clear in what we want them doing. So when we give a practice plan together, no matter what we’re doing, I have each individual responsibility outlined. So we’re going to go four-on-four shell drill here. I’m concentrated on the defense — I always have my more experienced coaches on the other side. So I’ll say, ‘Hey Bob, make sure you’re passing the ball.’ So I think, No. 1, you have to have a really clear responsibility, No. 2, give them things to be responsible for on their own.

SVG on the favorite player he’s coached:

When we’re just talking NBA … in the NBA, in Miami, Dwyane Wade was obviously a great player, but Udonis Haslem was probably my favorite guy, because Udonis was the guy who had to be No. 1, really work to get in the league, didn’t get drafted. Great player, but he was heavy. He totally hanged his diet and everything else, he came back an undrafted guy, fought his way into the league. Only thing he cares about is winning the game. Like the starts — all of that — it doesn’t matter to him. I hate playing against him, because he’s going to out-compete your guy.

SVG on former Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick:

J.J. Redick is probably the most focused player I have ever been around. He didn’t play at all his first year … but he just kept getting better. In his third year, he was starting for us in the NBA finals. One of, if not the smallest two-guard in the NBA, below-average athlete, he doesn’t have any kind of length. I’ve always said it, his defense is always something people criticize, [but] you have a really good defense team around him because he doesn’t make any mistakes — his mind is so good, and then he conditions himself so well physically. He’s made himself into a way above-average NBA player, one of the best two-guards in the league this past year.

SVG on former Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis:

All he cared about was winning: He battled four men, fronted the post, never an excuse. The thing I remember most about him is he made the all-star team in 2009, and he made the all-star team he was mildly happy. But when he saw Jameer Nelson’s name on the screen, I get a phone call right away … he was screaming at the phone, ‘Jameer made the all-star team.’ He was literally that excited for someone else on his team. Probably the best teammate I’ve seen in the NBA. He was here in Orlando … he took a team that was below .500 when he got here. He came in, Grant Hill went out, and we win 52, 59, 59 and to the NBA finals. Just a great guy with a great impact.


Christopher Davis is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @ChristopherDTV or email him at