Tao of Larry Brown: February Edition

Larry Brown is often considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history. Photo Courtesy: Bruce Chandler
Larry Brown is often considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.
Photo Courtesy: Bruce Chandler

By Bronte Erwin

This year’s non-conference schedule has included Gonzaga, Indiana Arkansas and Michigan, how much does playing teams like that help you on the court and how much does it help in things like rating percentage index?
The RPI I don’t get it. I don’t know what their criteria is. Last year we beat Wyoming with Larry Nance, then he got hurt. Rhode Island was supposed to be good, they lost some kids. How are they going to say, we lost some games without Markus (Kennedy.) Now we have Marcus. We won some games without Keith (Frazier.) Now we don’t have Keith. We beat Michigan with (Caris) LeVert, (since injured and out for the season) what’s going to happen to Michigan’s RPI? We are trying to play the best teams possible. Obviously not everybody wants to come (to Moody Coliseum.) We couldn’t get Indiana to return it, which I can’t blame them. But when you play good teams it tells you what you are doing well, and tells you what you need to get better. That to me is really important.

Do you manage a college players minutes differently that you would a professional as far as how much energy they have in their tank?
Well every time I took Allan (Iverson) out, he got mad at me. So he obviously he had a lot in his tank. In the pros, I generally played eight, maybe nine, to establish a consistent rotation. Practice time varied. When we had a lot of young guys, I managed their practices different than the guys who were playing major minutes. These young kids don’t get to play, you have to teach them how to play in practice. So when they have the opportunity to play, you want to make sure they are ready, conditioning wise. Generally it varies on personnel. My first year (at SMU) we didn’t manage minutes. All five guys played all the time. We didn’t have a bench. But we played a different style, to control the game, and not wear them down. Now, we’re virtually eight deep. So, I am going to be will be sensitive at times, because it’s important not to wear them out.

The team seems to be playing with a lot of chemistry. How important is chemistry in the success of a team? 
I think it would be heard to play if you didn’t get along. And everybody was pulling for each other. I think having a good locker room. Having kids care about one another. That’s vital. I don’t know how you’d be successful if you didn’t do those things.

You can’t watch an SMU broadcast without an announcer mentioning how much energy you have in practice and during the game. Are there some keys to good health Larry Brown adheres to?
I love what I do. I am around people who care about me. And I care about them. I think it is something I look forward to. I don’t look forward to (interviews.) I don’t have a lot of energy now. But I will when I get out on the court. When I’m around my kids and my staff. That is the key, if you love what you are doing, it’s not work. Never has been.