Growth Mindset – Message being Sent by Coach Chris Dooley and Can’t Miss Book


Courtesy: Euroleague

The process of writing the book Can’t Miss-The Kevin Pangos Story was a thrilling, life changing challenge that allowed me to follow a world class athlete throughout his four year career at Gonzaga.

I lived all the steps in his great career which culminated in a senior year that saw him named West Coast Conference Player of the Year, third team All American and leading the Zags to the Elite Eight. Kevin is now playing in the Euro league in Lithuania for Zalgiris Kaunas and is off to a fantastic start to his third year as a pro.

A big part of writing the book was seeing the myriad of great coaches and trainers that Kevin was able to learn from. Coaches from Roy Rana and Leo Rautins to Kyle Julius and Jeff Giovanatti. Trainers Like Matt Nichol of BioSteel Nutrition and Sam Gibbs of the Senior Men’s National Team. I also looked at the opportunities afforded players like Kevin through Canada Basketball programs that players in previous generations, like Jay Triano and Steve Nash, didn’t have the opportunity to make use of.

Success is a result of genetics and hard work but it is also dependant on those people around us who push us to excel and the programs and opportunities that will make us better players, and hopefully better people.

Along with the release of my book I have developed a motivational presentation that uses Kevin’s path as a template for success of young athletes. It focuses on a growth mindset that all the greats have; constantly learning, growing, looking for daily and yearly improvement. Kevin’s path is not their path: each athlete makes a path of their own.

I had the opportunity recently to present this talk to the athletes of the defending NPA National Champions from Canada Topflight Academy in Ottawa. I came away very impressed with the maturity of these young athletes who understood the chance they were being given. I also felt gratification in that the teaching and prodding of Head Coach Tony House was in lockstep with what Can’t Miss is all about.

Coach House knows the job is to improve and compete as a team but more importantly to help these talented players develop and to help them understand that the process is more important that the outcome. That their adherence to the process will determine the outcome.

These athletes listened to the guest with focus and intent. I felt their eyes burning through mine as they thought they needed to get as much as possible from the hour we spent together. They talked about the fact that last year’s National Championship was great but their task was to determine what would happen this year and not rest on any laurels garnered in the 2016-17 season. I’m sure that Coach House and his staff will remind them of that if any stray from the task at hand.

We talked about being grounded in morals aimed at being the best players they could be and not being focused on comparison to others. Their awareness of the importance of this throughout the recruiting process was obvious as well. Looking at their schedule written out on the whiteboard, a visitor could sense the excitement of what COULD happen this season but also the players taking personal ownership in determining what WOULD happen this season.

The NPA is a great opportunity for these young players and the members of CTA showed they understood that and they will maximize the experience. They showed their passion for the game and that will hold them in good stead going forward this year and the lessons learned will help them throughout their careers.

I look forward to a return to Ottawa to watch CTA and the rest of the NPA compete in the Battle in the Capital November 22-26.

Good luck to all teams. Drop by the Can’t Miss table and let’s connect! Check out and email me at if you want to explore the possibilities of your team or club hearing this inspiring story of this amazing young man.


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