From Danny, To Sandy: Raising Arizona
The Arizona Wildcats have plenty of vision.
One of the biggest transitions in life occurs when a person leaves college and looks to build on what he or she has spent years accumulating in academia. In many cases, it’s a substantial shock to the system because of how different it is to negotiate with the world on our (and the world’s) own terms. For former Ohio State guard Danny Peters, his world seems to be in a different place altogether. He’s since left the Buckeye basketball team as the winningest player in the program’s history, while trekking into a career of teaching as an assistant coach for the University of Arizona’s men’s basketball team. Danny has been gracious enough to let me and the rest of the SLAMonline family in on what it means to embark on the daily challenge of becoming a successful college coach, by way of a special “as told to Sandy”, open-letter San Dova Speak-Easy series, dubbed “From Danny, To Sandy”.
What’s up Sandman? I know we haven’t talked in a while; I have been in Tucson getting adjusted to this 100-degree weather! Classes just started and our guys have been in the gym religiously working on their game. Morning lifts and conditioning, individual workouts with our staff, and open gyms have kept our guys busy. Even better, a lot of them are coming back at night to get extra shots in and it is paying off. Our “basketball culture” is exciting to be a part of.
Some of our upperclassmen have had a different college basketball experience prior to Coach Sean Miller from the frequent turn over in the Arizona coaching staffs. Nic Wise, who just graduated this past Summer and is now playing in Germany, was part of three NCAA Tournament teams and went to a Sweet 16 at Arizona. He played for four great coaches in Kevin O’Neill, Russ Pennell, the legendary Lute Olson, and now Coach Miller during his career as a Wildcat. Now that there is more of stability in the coaching staff, the guys are thriving more than ever and you can see it in their play. I am really excited about our team and the talent we have this year. Let the countdown to our first practice on October 15 begin!
Tucson and the University have bought in to Coach Miller’s vision of Wildcat Basketball as well. Our athletic department and community are willing to provide virtually any resource we need to be successful, including the recent donations for our renovations to the locker room, office, and a new weight room in the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.
When I first got to Tucson in July, our Video Coordinator, Jeff Feld, and I were fortunate enough to meet with Coach Boylen and the Utah staff in Salt Lake about their scouting system. Then the following week, we flew out to Las Vegas for the Rising Coaches Elite Conference and the Nike Villa 6. In my first two weeks on campus, I was able to meet and listen to numerous collegiate head coaches and hear about their techniques on recruiting, scouting, and coaching styles while creating new relationships with other aspiring young coaches. My opportunity here in Tucson provides a learning experience everyday, whether I am in Vegas, Salt Lake or the office breaking down films and scouting. I just need to make sure I head to class…
Congrats to former Wildcat, AI9 (Andre Iguodala) and the entire US team on the FIBA Gold Medal. It is always exciting to see that level of competitive basketball in the summertime. Stay in touch Sandman, I expect to see you at a game this year in the largest student section in the PAC 10, the ‘Zona Zoo! Bear Down…
You can pick up more bits of Danny’s ride through the recruiting circuit and his thoughts on basketball via Twitter (@PetersDanny).
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, whose work has been featured in Robert Atwan’s “America Now,” USA Today’s UWire, and Yahoo!’s Associated Content. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.