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Old 09-30-2007, 11:44 AM   #1
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Default Vincent's a rookie yet again but ready to hit court running


Vincent's a rookie yet again but ready to hit court running

New coach has global experience, belief his style will play in NBA


We know this much: Sam Vincent is no copycat.

His style, as new coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, won't be a pinch of Dallas' Avery Johnson and a dash of Michigan State's Jud Heathcote. He respects the men he played for and coached for, but he asserts that his take on this task is no amalgamation of his mentors' beliefs.

"I'm a firm believer that I have a style and I have a system that I believe in. I wouldn't compromise that by trying to put other people's things into that," Vincent said entering training camp Tuesday at UNC Wilmington.

"I respect everybody's coaching and their systems and their philosophies. That's how their minds understand it. But I think you have to coach the way your mind understands it to be most effective."

Vincent illustrates a classic paradox: How do you convince someone you're right for a job you've never done before? It was a leap of faith by managing partner Michael Jordan to hire Vincent; his only NBA coaching experience was one season in Dallas, and he wasn't the Mavericks' lead assistant.

The optimist says Vincent built an eclectic resume, coaching all over the world. The pessimist says that's no preparation for the speed and office politics of the NBA. The cynic wonders if Vincent is just another disposable Bobcats employee.

Know this, too: Vincent seems remarkably confident that a team that's never reached the playoffs is headed for success.

"I've never, ever believed anything is unachievable" he said. "I need (the players) to know we're shooting for the moon -- we're going for it all. That's how we're going to practice, that's how we're going to prepare and that's how we'll compete."

Old vs. New

The contrast between Vincent and his predecessor is interesting: Bernie Bickerstaff had 30-plus years of coaching and front-office work, most of it in the NBA. Vincent has coached in Africa, Europe and the NBA's developmental league. He coached the Nigerian women's team during the 2004 Summer Olympics.He says that global experience makes him adaptive. As to what he doesn't know about managing an NBA game or NBA egos, he'll learn.

"It's given me a balanced platform to be able to deal with international guys, guys who may be a little bit more city, guys who may be whatever. I deal well with a variety of personalities," Vincent said.

"It's also given me an appreciation for the NBA. ... Only when you get away from it -- when you're working in a different country on a different continent, on a smaller level, can you really appreciate how wonderful it is."

Ask him about the difference between what he's done and what he's about to do, and he replies that basketball is basketball.

"I don't see this tremendous difference," Vincent said. "More games? Yes. Different cities? Yes. Bigger salaries? Yes. But same game, same objectives and same way to do it, for the most part. ... I'm doing the same thing; it's just been super-charged."

"Instant" decision-making

That "super-charged" atmosphere might be more a difference than Vincent suspects. Paul Silas knows first-hand. He coached the then-San Diego Clippers straight off of retiring as a player. He says he might have benefited from being an assistant coach first.

"It's the little things, all the instant (in-game) decisions," said Silas, who since coached the Hornets (here and in New Orleans) and the Cleveland Cavaliers. "Players know when you know what you're talking about and when you don't. If you hesitate, they will judge you."

Silas said it's an odd profession, managing players who generally make more money and have more job security.

"It's so important they see you as competent, because they (have the power to) turn on you."

Silas says the key to Vincent's success will be getting enough time to learn what he doesn't already know.

"I didn't have time to make my mistakes and live through them," Silas said of his Clippers experience. "By the time I became a competent coach, I was on my way out."
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Old 09-30-2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Default Re: Vincent's a rookie yet again but ready to hit court running

I'm hoping Bonnell's coverage starts to improve once training camp it is I'll hold off on ripping him again for just repeating the stuff we already know. I will admit to finding it rich that Bonnell gets Silas to comment with the "warnings"...the guy who didn't get the job.

Eh. Least it's something I guess.

Article idea: Interview Mokeske. Ask him what his plans are in improving Mek's skills on the court. Try your best to leave the cocaine thing alone (yeah, right.) and focus on BASKETBALL.
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