The Basketball Podcast: EP140 Jack Owens on Program Building and Defensive Transition

RELEASE DATE : 02/12/2020

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Miami University head coach Jack Owens joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss coaching at the collegiate level and player development.

Jack Owens was hired in 2018 as head coach at Miami University and began to make a positive impact immediately. In his first season, Miami won 16 games and made their first post-season appearance in nearly a decade. He has continued to build the program by having a top recruiting class in the MAC conference. Throughout the past two seasons, he has helped develop that talent into All-conference players while having success in the MAC conference.

Before Miami Owens was an assistant and an associate head coach at Purdue. He was a part of the staff for nine years from 2008 to 2017. During this time, Purdue averaged 23 wins a year and was consistently a top 25 ranked team. Coach Owens was heavily involved with the development of several NBA draft picks. Some of the most notable names Owens helped develop are Carsen Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Aj Hammons, and Robbie Hummel.

Jack Owens also was an assistant coach at Southern Illinois for 5 years. In his time there he helped lead the team to a 25-5 record and multiple NCAA Tournament berths. Owens also coached SIU to an NCAA Sweet 16 which is the furthest in the program’s history.

Owens has an incredible track record in his young coaching career. This includes 14 postseason appearances, 11 NCAA Tournament berths, and 4 trips to the Sweet 16. Jack has proven to be successful no matter the challenge and is an emerging coach to look out for this college basketball season.

Jake Owens

Listen Here

Apple Podcasts





Jake Owens Quotes:

“First of all, establish a staff that you believe in and trust . . guys who are going to work hard and put the program first.”

“The personality test for us just gives us an idea of who the guys are in recruiting . . but until you get them on campus, you really don’t know . . the personality test identifies some things [about] how you can coach an individual.”

“Every coach on our staff has a voice . . we divide up guys from an academic standpoint. So each coach, assistant coach or staff member has three or four guys and they talk about the academic side of it along with the basketball development side.”

“‘How can we help you?’ at the end of the day . . is what it’s about. It’s not only giving us the opportunity to speak, but it’s giving the player the opportunity to speak . . if there’s a struggle we’re talking about it, we’re talking through it. And they [the players] appreciate that because it also gives them a voice as well.”

“Our mission here is graduating champions. And that’s what we’re working towards. When I first got here I talked about, hey, even if it doesn’t look like we’re ready to win a championship, we’re gonna conduct ourselves in that manner. And we’re going to work each and every day, and we’re going to work hard, and we’re gonna do things the right way.”

“We’re a man-to-man defensive team. We apply pressure full court . . when the shot goes up, we’re all about setting our defense and trying to keep the other team out of transition where we’re not giving up layups or open rhythm threes.”

“We want to get the ball stopped with our jammer, we want our safety to get back and the other guys are going to the offensive glass and trying to get offensive rebounds and put-backs. That’s how we start our defense.

“The first objective is to get the ball stopped . . but at the same time, if we were not able to do that, we want to have constant pressure on that ball handler who’s bringing the ball up the court.”

“We have our bigs . . they cup, they stay in line with the basketball at all times . . because we want the ball stopped and we want the opposing team to play in the half court as much as we can.”

“The safety is very important. That’s got to be the guy who communicates the best on your team, he’s got to be able to put the fire out, he’s got to be able to talk, he’s got to be able to get people in position to get the ball stopped.”

“On the defensive side, you have to be able to take care of transition D and . . we work on it every day. It’s a very important part of the game and then ball screen D and and then after that . . the next thing is dribble containment.”

“We try to spread out with good spacing and, and play off those rules. We don’t want to handcuff the guys, we have rules on our motion and we allow the guys to play out of it.”

“You have to be able to cut and read and handle pressure. And those things are important when you run a motion offense.”

“You know you have to be able to understand your skill set and play towards your strengths and those are the things that we work on a lot from an offensive standpoint as we continue to build and work to get better on the offensive side.”

1:00 – What is a Life Coach
3:00 – Habits
7:00 – Changing NBA Player’s Habits 
10:00 – On and Off the Court Routine
14:00 – Positive Thought Process
18:00 – Habit Changes
20:30 – Changing Struggles
25:30 – Serve
29:00 – Changing Negative Thoughts
31:30 – Dealing with Player’s Ego
34:30 – Changing Routines
38:00 – Sharing Experience
40:00 – Swag Real
42:30 – Roadblocks Along the Way
46:00 – Importance of Educating Players
49:00 – Player’s Physical Training
Selected Links from the Podcast:

Jeff Rutter

J.R. Reynolds

Kenneth Lowe

Damon Frierson

Cowan Olinger

Greg McDermott

Fred Hoiberg

Matt Painter

Chris Lowery

Rick Samuels

Steve Lutz

Rick Ray

Tommy Collins

Cuonzo Martin

Ron Harper

Wayne Embry

Wally Szczerbiak

Bam Bowman

A.J. Hammons

Isaac Haas

Greg Gary

Micah Shrewsberry

Brandon Brantley

Caleb Swanigan

Robbie Hummel

Dae Dae Grant


1:00 – First Steps
4:30 – Developing Relationships
8:00 – Forming Better Relationships
13:00 – Tweaking his Current Program
17:00 – Balancing Priorities as a Head Coach
23:00 – Recruitment
26:00 – General Outline of their Defense
30:00 – Offensive Rebound
34:00 – Recover to Help
37:00 – Take Away Rhythm Threes
39:30 – His Closeout Philosophy
42:30 – Philosophy in the Full and Half Court
45:00 – Automatics
47:30 – Tight Curls
51:00 – Offense and Player Development
53:00 – Playing Hard and Smart

Jack Owens:



Please Support the Podcast

As we build our podcast following please take the time to support the Basketball Podcast. Our goal is to openly share as much useful basketball coaching info to stimulate your coaching. 

  1. Tell your friends about us.
  2. Give us a shout out on social media.
  3. Give us a five star review wherever you listen to podcasts.

How to leave a podcast review at iTunes

Go to the iTunes page of the Basketball Podcast.

Click the View in iTunes button.
View in iTunes
At iTunes, click the Ratings and Reviews tab.
Select Ratings and Reviews
Rate the podcast using 1 to 5 stars.
Submit a brief honest review.