From Dan, To San: Return Of The Cats
Watch the throne – Point Guard U. is back.
by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova
featuring Danny Peters
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 upon his graduation, 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 going on my man? School year is just starting here in Tucson at the U of A, and I am as excited as ever to get our players back in the gym for that grind before we officially start practice in eight weeks. This summer has been a great learning experience for me with my involvement with our player development and the new pieces of basketball information that our coaches have brought back for discussion through their experiences recruiting and different journeys this past summer. Coach Miller has been particularly busy between hiring a new assistant coach and working with USA Basketball in Colorado Springs. Coach Miller participated on the 1991 World University Games team and helped bring home the gold medal for the USA. This time he was able to bring back new terminology and contributions to our ball screen philosophy from some of the best minds in the business such as Tony Bennett at Virginia and Shaka Smart at VCU.
Coach Miller also added Joe Pasternack to our staff after Coach Archie Miller took the head coach position at the University of Dayton. It was tough to see Archie go but Dayton has a tremendous basketball following and was an amazing opportunity for him to lead his own program at a place where he can be successful. Coach Pasternack has been a head coach the past four seasons at the University of New Orleans and for the eight seasons prior as an assistant at Cal in the Pac-10. His connection to the west coast, new perspective on recruiting, and Xs and Os are great additions to our staff.
Our program has also been able to make strides with the additions of our new hallway honoring all of our NBA draft picks, NBA champions, All-Americans, Coach Olson, Pac-10 Champions and Elite Eight teams. The NBA wall includes Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick in this past summer’s NBA Draft. Hopefully for Derrick, there will be an upcoming season. Tucson is such a special place and Derrick knows that. For him to work out for an entire year collecting a check does not outweigh the opportunity he had to come back to school with his teammates and friends playing basketball for the Wildcats, all in 20/20 hindsight.
My father came out to Tucson for my birthday for a week or so and to talk his five out motion with Coach Pasternack. This is his niche and he is able to really break down the reads, cuts, teaching points, development drills and adjustments that he learned from Coach Ed McCluskey years ago. Coach McCluskey was a very successful high school coach in the 1960s in Pennsylvania that won seven high school state championships at Farrell High School. Years ago, my father and Coach Huggins went to see coach McCluskey and learn his offense, the same offense that Huggs has used the past few years at West Virginia. Besides getting his golfing in, it was a great time for us to share ideas on building and maintaining a program as well as developing an offense and players.
Coach Miller also invited Derrick Brown from the New York Knicks out to campus for the summer. Derrick played for Coach Miller at Xavier before leaving after his junior year for the NBA. Derrick was able to get over 10,000 shots up in his short five weeks in Tucson as well as condition with our strength and conditioning coach Chris Rounds and play open gym with our players and four new freshmen. Along with Derrick Brown, Jordan Hill and Nick Wise have also been back to campus this summer to workout and play with our current players. As our staff continues to reconnect to the players of the past, our current and future players experiences on campus will only improve with the wealth of knowledge these guys can share from playing the game at the highest level to being a professional. Besides Derrick Brown’s five weeks on campus, our players were able to improve individually through Pre-Session, Summer I and Summer II sessions of summer school.
Right now Sandman, our guys are getting back into the swing of classes and conditioning portion of their training. Fall skill instruction starts back up next week, and I cannot wait! Not much between now and the start of the practice. I will be sure to check back in October 15 when college basketball officially starts! Stay in touch, Sandman.
You can pick up more bits of Danny’s ride through the recruiting circuit and his thoughts on the game via Twitter (@PetersDanny).
Sandy Dover is a published author, fitness & media professional, and SLAM web columnist & print contributor whose work has been featured and published by US News, Yahoo!, Robert Atwan’s “America Now” and ESPN. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline and via his website at About.Me/SandyDover.