The Tao of Larry Brown

SMU Mustangs Men's Basketball head coach Larry Brown is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history. Photo Courtesy: Andrew Chipley
Larry Brown is often considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history. Photo Courtesy: Andrew Chipley

SMU coach Larry Brown shares wisdom of a legendary career

By Bronte Erwin

Blitz Weekly: The current SMU record is 4-3 after playing a very difficult schedule. What has SMU done well so far this season and what do they need to improve?
Larry Brown: Wow. We need to improve on a lot of things. Generally we play hard which is a great quality to have. But this is a work in progress because we expected Justin (Martin) to play. We expected to have Emmanuel (Mudiay). We expect to have Markus (Kennedy.) All of a sudden everyone was talking about a really deep team and we are not. We are a team evolving. We’ve got to get better on transition defense. Get better at rebounding the ball. Get better taking care of the ball. And we’ve got to get better sharing the ball. But I don’t think in my whole life I have ever stopped saying that. If you asked me that question with any team I ever coached I am pretty confident I’d tell you the same thing. Hopefully we’re getting Justin back (injury), and we’re keeping our fingers crossed with Markus (academic eligibility). But the people we have here need to get better in those areas quickly.

BW: How much does preparation affect the outcome of a game?
LB: If you have all great players it doesn’t really matter. But I think preparation is the key to anything you do, not just in basketball.

Generally how you practice is how you play. We don’t prepare a lot for the people we play against; we prepare for how we need to play. And I think those values carry through and give you a chance to win. We still have so much to teach. Justin and Ben Emelogu haven’t been around us. So there is a lot of teaching going on and getting guys who haven’t been here up to speed.  Preparation is everything. I have never been in a situation where if you don’t practice well and prepare you generally don’t play well.

BW: You have been given the nickname of The Godfather because of your vast coaching family tree, but you dress the part also. . .
LB: (Laughs) No. No. No. I don’t dress like that. I don’t wear pointed toe shoes and wide collar shirts with big knots, flowered pocket squares and crazy ties. I did it one game because I had just found out about ‘The Godfather’ and I appreciate so much the student body’s involvement. Of all the neat things that have happened to us being here; to have the students around us, and the students caring; that’s been the best. So I wore a black shirt and black tie against Louisville (SMU only home loss last season) and I am not breaking that out again.

BW: The early road trip was pretty tough. (SMU lost at Gonzaga and at Indiana.) What are three things you never travel without?
LB: I can’t mention a couple of them; that’s a personal issue. A toothbrush is probably my first. And something to wear for the game. And I always make sure I have numerous ties because sometimes my assistants sometimes need them.