Lakers Q&A: Quin Snyder's extensive coaching tree
You’ve developed a reputation for quickly developing players. How do you do that?
Development is generally thought of in the context of skills and physical maturity. But there are probably more players that face the challenge of developing as competitors and teammates. Players know when coaches are vested in their success, and helping their overall development is definitely something that I enjoy. As a college coach, it is obvious college players need to get better. And what I found in both the D-League and in the NBA is that players always want to get better.
Are there any examples?
When I coached the Austin Toros (the San Antonio Spurs' D-League team) we led the D-League in call-ups. One of our players got called up at 8 a.m. on the day of a game. He gave me a call and said, ‘Coach, I’m getting called up to the NBA.’ Those are great moments.
I think that point when players know that you really care about them and that you’re able to say difficult things to them as well, and be truthful, that to me is probably the cornerstone of developing players.
What did you learn working under Larry Brown as a Clippers assistant (1992-93)?
Larry Brown gave me my first job and it was a very unique experience because I was young. At that point of my career I didn’t know that I was necessarily going to coach or that I wanted to coach long term. But just watching him and seeing how much he loved to coach became a benchmark in my mind.
The really unique thing about my relationship with Coach K is that I also played for him. So there was a connection there that began at a very young age. He gave me an opportunity to really try to impact the program and he allowed me the autonomy to work in recruiting, developing guys and everything else that a college program’s foundation relies on. His confidence in me and his willingness to delegate responsibilities is an unbelievable strength of his.
As a coach in Austin you spent some time working with Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich. What did you learn from him?
I think Coach Pop and (Spurs G.M.) R.C. Buford believed in me at a time that maybe some people didn’t. During that three and a half year period, I was grafted into that (Spurs) coaching tree. The leadership that Coach Pop demonstrates and the respect that he has for his staff, and his staff has for him, is unique. I’m also grateful to the guys on his staff that allowed me to grow as much as I did during that time.
I took pride in the opportunity to try and build a culture and a team in Austin that they would respect. I had great support from the entire (Spurs) staff. They would call me after our D-League team would get a win and we would laugh together when they would call up one of our best players.
What did you learn this past season as a Sixers assistant under Doug Collins?
The passion that he demonstrates daily for the game and the emotion that he gives is natural. While some might view that as vulnerability, if it’s real, it can actually be an incredible strength. Players feel the sincerity.
It’s a great rivalry and it’s a lot of fun. John and I have already arranged to barbeque at my place when Duke is at home and then at his house when UNC is the host. We will invite Mitch, but I haven’t gotten an indication about whether he will come.
-- Mark Medina
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Top photo: Quin Snyder. Credit: Chris Covatta / NBAE / Getty Images. Bottom photo: Mike Krzyzewski. Credit: Laura Rauch / Associated Press