Hall of Fame Coaches Dropping Knowledge in Canada
NIAGARA FALLS, ON–When you have a couple Hall of Fame coaches in the building, you sit down, listen and take notes.
And that’s exactly what I did over the last two days, along with a group of over 100 coaches from various levels, all with the same goal of absorbing as much information as possible.
“The Coaching Clinic” was hosted by Mark Walton and Mihai Raducanu of No Limit Performance Basketball. Walton is the winningest coach in Canadian high school basketball, boasting a 723-84 overall record (Cathedral High) and 100% graduation rate.
Headlining the clinic were Hall of Famers Bob Hurley Sr. of St. Anthony’s High school in New Jersey, and Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame (NCAA), who coaches Canadian basketball star Natalie Achonwa.
After putting “The Coaching Clinic” on pause for nearly a decade, Walton is now back at it, continuing to make a great impact on the game through players and coaches alike.
“I ran it for 20 years, but with commitments to the national program and at the university of New Hampshire, I couldn’t at that time. So we’re back now after seven or eight years,” Walton told NPH.
Through his 30+ years of coaching experience, Walton has connected with an impressive network, that includes major figures in the basketball industry, North and South of the border.
“They are coaches that I’ve known for years and years. Bob Hurley and I spoke at the Syracuse camp 25 years ago where we were the only high school coaches there, but we were also the only ones back the following year.”
To kick off day one, it was Canisius Women’s Head Coach Terry Zeh who focused on defensive principles, followed by Muffet McGraw who demonstrated Notre Dame’s version of the Princeton offense, which is interestingly a system designed to score a lot–quite the opposite of the traditional Princeton.
That’s the beauty of basketball…basic ideas and concepts are constantly altered to cater to a specific team; or as Zeh put it, if you’re a coach, “Know your personality & know your personnel.”
The circulation of knowledge that took place in Niagara Falls will be instrumental in the development of the region’s next crop of talent, as coaches will begin implementing ideas that they have learned.
When it comes to coaching and teaching, Walton stressed discipline, accountability and respect–elements of basketball and life that many of his proteges have taken to pass along to the next generation.
“That’s what it should be all about for coaches, it’s about sharing information. If you and I were doctors and you had the best laparoscopic surgery technique in North America, wouldn’t I want to learn it from you?”
Bob Hurley SR may not be well versed in laparoscopic surgery, but he’s been around the block a few times and is certainly one of the best basketball minds in the game. Even he still maintains the thirst for knowledge.
“Education is ongoing, we all should afford ourselves the opportunity to keep learning as the game is changing. The skill stuff I watched Bobby (Jr.) do today are things that I didn’t see him do a couple years ago,” explained Hurley SR, referring to his son’s demonstration at the coaching clinic.
“We all are picking up things, and its very important that we don’t just teach the game one way, there’s more than one way to teach and play the game,” the elder Hurley continued.
Bobby Hurley Jr, Head Coach at the University of Buffalo, focused on skill development drills while showing glimpses of his basketball career in the process. Hurley starred at Duke University, where he won two national championships and remains as the NCAA all-time assists leader. He was drafted to the Sacaremento Kings #7 overall in the 1993 NBA draft.
As an assistant at Wagner College, Hurley Jr. worked with Toronto native Tyler Murray, and currently coaches Brampton’s Jarryn Skeete, sophomore at Buffalo.
The final speaker was 6’9 Mihai Raducanu, former NCAA division one player at Coastal Carolina, who played high school basketball for Walton at Cathedral.
He ended the clinic on a high note using six players, from the age of nine to seventeen, to demonstrate the development and evolution of a player from year to year. The fundamental skill set that each player possessed was extremely impressive, as Raducanu stressed discipline and attention to detail.
“In 2016 and 2017, the floodgates are opening for the Niagara area, mark my words,” said Raducanu, excited about the upcoming crop of talent that he works with.
Above all, the purity of the game was so evident at The Coaching Clinic. Everyone in the gym was focused on ensuring improvement on individual skills, in order to pass it along and teach their players.
The Coaching Clinic Line Up
Head Women’s Basketball Coach
Canisius College – NCAA DI
· entering his 10th season at Canisius
· 2009 MAAC Coach of the Year
· 2009 WNIT berth
· winningest Coach in program history
· 2005 MAAC conference champion and NCAA appearance
· produced an ESPN All American
· top 10 NCAA academic team GPA
· Assistant with Canisius Men’s program for 7 years prior
Head Women’s Basketball Coach
Notre Dame University – NCAA DI
· entering her 27th season at Notre Dame
· 2001 National Championship winner
· 3 NCAA Final appearances
· 5 NCAA Final Four appearances
· 11 Sweet 16 trips
· 20 NCAA tournament trips · NCAA coach of the year 2001, 2013
· 5 time Big East coach of the year
· 9 conference titles (16-0 in 2013)
Head Men’s Basketball Coach
University at Buffalo – NCAA DI
· entering his first year as a Head Coach in NCAA
· Associate Head Coach at Rhode Island 2012-2013
· Assistant at Wagner 2010-2012
· NBA scout for Philadelphia 76ers
· Drafted 7th in 2003 NBA Draft, played for 5 seasons
· 2 NCAA Championships as a player at Duke 1991, 1992
· NCAA career record holder for assists
Bob Hurley Head Men’s Basketball Coach
St. Anthony’s High School, New Jersey
· USA Basketball Hall of Fame
· 39 years as Head Coach at St. Anthony HS (NJ)
· Over 1,000 Career Victories
· 25 New Jersey Parochial State Championships
· 9-time NJ State Tournament of Champions Winner
· National Champions: 1989, 1996, and 2011
· over 150 players accepted NCAA scholarships
No Limit Performance Basketball · Head of Team Development and Player Development Consultant
· Assistant at Univ. of New Hampshire NCAA DI 2010-2011
· Head Coach Canadian National Elite Development Academy 2007- 2009
· Head Coach for 30 years at Cathedral High School
· 4 time undefeated OFSAA Champion (1968 – as a player, 1984, 1994, 1998 – as a coach)
· 723-84 winning record as a HS coach
· 100% graduation rate
Clinic Director/Host International/Elite Basketball Skill Trainer
No Limit Performance Basketball
· Founder of No Limit Performance Basketball
· Elite Ganon Baker Skills Trainer
· International and Professional Basketball Skills Trainer
· Sports Movement, Sports Balance, Sports Strength and Conditioning certified
· NCAA DI player at Coastal Carolina University 1999 – 2004, played for Pete Strickland
· OFSAA champion under Mark Walton 1998