USA Basketball Brings Big Names to Lakewood
USA Basketball, the governing body of basketball in this country, spent last weekend in Lakewood conducting its Coach Academy at St. Edward High School. Many big names were part of the event, including CBS analyst Clark Kellogg and new Ohio State men’s coach Chris Holtmann. The event attracted about 200 youth and high school coaches from numerous nations and over a dozen states. Attendees came from as far away as Houston, Israel, and London, England.
Best known for running the US Olympic basketball teams, USA Basketball launched a Youth Development Division in 2013. The program is designed to promote, grow, and elevate the sport throughout the country. This includes providing standards and licensing for youth coaches, in the hope of making the game safer and more fun for the 30 million kids that currently play in the US.
The academy, presented with Nike, provides insight and education to coaches and administrators on a wide range of both on-court and off-court issues. Kellogg, who played in the St. Edward gym during his high school career at St. Joseph, spoke about the importance of the coach-player relationship. Kellogg has never been a coach at any level, but played major college and NBA hoops before becoming a broadcaster. He’s also a parent to kids that have played major college basketball and volleyball. He thanked all the coaches in attendance for all their hard work, and then offered advice from a player and parent perspective. Although he’s never been one, he appreciates how difficult coaching can be. “It takes time, attention, and intention” he said.
There were numerous demonstrations of game strategy and effective practice routines. Holtmann spoke about defensive strategy. Numerous Division I college coaches – Dennis Felton (Cleveland State), Keith Dambrodt (Duquesne), and Jerrod Calhoun (Youngstown State) also spoke and demonstrated drills. Flannery and St. Joseph Academy Coach Maggie Ferrando demonstrated shooting and passing drills. Many of the sessions focused on topics like developing leadership, character, and ensuring player safety.
Eagle Head Coach Eric Flannery, who has worked with USA Basketball for over 15 years, was key to bringing the event to Lakewood. He started lobbying to bring it here when the Coach Academy program was launched a few years ago. He was very pleased with the results, especially the large turnout. “It’s gone really well” he said. Jay Demings, Youth Development Director at USA basketball, was excited to bring the event to town. “It was a natural fit to host the event at St. Edward High School as their head coach, Eric Flannery, has not only served as a valued member of our national team program but truly believes in the mission of USA Basketball Youth Development.”
Attendees were impressed with the quality of the demonstrations, and were excited to implement what they’ve learned with their own teams. The turnout was among the largest ever for a Coach Academy, so hopefully they’ll return to Lakewood again again in the near future.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1