I wanted to share a story about the development of Kevin Pangos. Pangos played four years at Gonzaga University and is now pursuing his professional basketball career. This guest post provides insights about the process and people that helped Pangos become the person and player he is today. Two of those people, author Coach Dooley and Kevin’s father Bill Pangos were both early coaching mentors of mine. When I was a young coach I attended clinics and practices run by both. I am grateful to have had them as role models and sharers. And I am grateful to be able to share the story of Kevin Pangos who reflects their generosity and passion.
Guest Post by Chris Dooley, Author of Can’t Miss Kid: The Kevin Pangos Story
Kevin Pangos grew up in a family where activity, not just sport, was a way of life. As a young child the Pangos family would go outside after supper and play a ‘triathlon’, where they would choose basketball, volleyball, soccer, or football and would play for a few hours before heading inside for a little bit of TV or video games before bed. The belief was that to be a great athlete you had to first love activity of all sorts.
First you had to be good at all sports and then maybe you could be great at one sport. A passion for all activity was born. And indirectly a passion was internalized. A lot of parents feel they need to be the driving force behind their child’s passion and need to organize everything so their son / daughter can grow through the player delivery system. Quite the opposite is true in Kevin’s case. Mom and Dad were both basketball people but it was a passion inside Kevin that led to so much age-group success as a young player.
Multi Sport Approach
From those family triathlons Kevin first fell in love with soccer and that was mostly because of the creativity that playing with the ball allowed. Kevin loved to dribble through and around opponents and loved to score goals. He tried his hand at hockey and loved that too and was one of the better players in his area. He grew to be one of the bigger kids and loved again the creativity of seeing the ice, his teammates, and the next pass. He tired his hand at volleyball because a bunch of his friends were playing and he went on to be considered one of the best in Ontario. He decided in grade 8 to focus on basketball. Kevin always felt that all the other sports gave him skills and perspective that ultimately helped in his innate understanding of spatial awareness needed in basketball.
Kevin was taught from an early age that if you want something you have to earn it. When his dad got a driveway basketball net for his birthday Kevin felt that the base needed some cement blocks to add weight to the base. A neighbour was doing an addition and he went over and asked if he could have a few of the left over blocks. He was ten!
Kevin made that driveway and that first basket his first training area. Kevin eventually had to move the hoop to the road in order to get the shooting distance he needed. He then made it more realistic by taping the foul line, the three point line, the NCAA three point line, and the NBA three point line on the road (they live on a cul-de-sac) because he thought he needed to work on shooting from that distance eventually so why not now?
Kevin lived about 10km from the nearest gym so decided that he would make his basement into his own personal training area. He taped an agility ladder on the floor. He put an old mattress against a wall in the laundry room where he would work on his passing for hours, and he put a broom handle through a chair to work on his low crossovers. He had his uncle put in a pipe through the rafters so he could do chin ups. So many people felt they need a great gym or fitness facility to make their dreams grow. If you want something badly enough you will find a way.
Kevin always had the ability to deal with a result and move on. Never focusing on a single outcome allowed him to keep his goals in perspective. As competitive as anyone, Kevin would move on to the next game or next season quickly as he knew his goals were far beyond where he was at the moment and that one loss was forgotten quickly.
He also would use games as a chance to grow as an individual or as a team. As a high school player Kevin would control the play and score a lot in the big games against strong opponents (High School Footage: Kevin Pangos (48pts) Vs Andrew Wiggins (28pts) but when a game was in hand he would defer to his teammates and be a facilitator to their growth. Always the best of teammates, Kevin knew that the team was only as strong as the weakest link and that everyone had to be confident when the bigger games were coming later in the season.
Kevin also felt that if he put in the work there would be no need to ever be anxious in a tight game situation. Case in point Kevin would end every shooting workout by going to the line and shooting free throws to see how many he would make in a row. This is AFTER shooting around 500 shots of all types of competitive situations. Kevin’s record for consecutive free throws after a workout is 126!
Family First Values
Always understanding that being a good teammate and a respectful person is worth far more than talent, Kevin’s cornerstone of his success is his family. His mom and dad would help feed his passion in any way they could and would talk positively about every game. His sister Kayla, two years older, was his first competitor when he was little and now is his best friend.
This strength of family values then translate to the team’s he’s been on as any good team is like a family. Not the cliché that you hear so much about, but rather a true belief that the strength of the team has to be how strongly they feel about each other.
Just Do It
Kevin Pangos is known for his work ethic but to him its all just an extension of who he is as a person so it is no big deal. When he was in high school he hooked up with national team trainers and did summer workouts in Toronto or did Karate twice a week just to improve his quickness. I saw Kevin work out in Spokane three times a day- every day. He would work out on his own in the morning, go back to the gym for a team workout and lift session, and then go back to do his shooting program at night. If it truly is a passion, then this type of what is just part of the process.
He always felt that he needed to work harder and smarter than everyone else that may have more athletic talent. He would never be one to brag or talk about himself because again it wasn’t just this one game but rather a path that he was on. The Path is the Goal.
Kevin has two quotes that he feels are his mantras. One is “Shoot When You Are Hot, Shoot To Get Hot,” which brings the forefront the idea of confidence and is a basis of our beautiful game. A player must be confident to take the open shot, but also has to out the work in so that he can make the open shot. The other quote is “Always Thankful, Never Satisfied.” Anyone who has worked out with Kevin, and he has dealt with some of the best coaches and trainers in Canada, will tell you how appreciative and thankful Kevin is for their efforts.
That attitude just makes these great people want to work with and help you even more. Never satisfied is a quality that all the greats have. If you are never satisfied that earns you are on a growth mindset that will take your talents to the heights that you are capable of. Kevin never wanted to be compared to others. He had a bigger goal: To be the best Kevin Pangos he could be.
To purchase the book and learn more about Kevin Pangos click here – Can’t Miss Kid