In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, former NBA player Beno Udrih joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss transitioning from playing to coaching.
Udrih started his coaching career in the NBA G League as an assistant coach with the Westchester Knicks during the 2019-20 season. He received a call-up to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he served as an assistant coach for two seasons before joining the Atlanta Hawks as a professional NBA scout during the 2022-23 season.
The Slovenia native spent over 21 years playing professional basketball in the NBA and overseas. Udrih played eight seasons in Europe before joining the San Antonio Spurs after being drafted with the 28th overall pick in 2004. He helped the Spurs win two NBA Championships before joining the Sacramento Kings from 2007-2011. Udrih spent his remaining six seasons in the NBA with stops at the Bucks (2011-13), Orlando Magic (2013), New York Knicks (2013-14), Memphis Grizzlies (2014-15), Miami Heat (2015-16) and Detroit Pistons (2016-17). Following the NBA, he played one season in Europe before announcing his retirement from playing.
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Beno Udrih Quotes:
“When you are a player you don’t really focus on the front office stuff much. . to be a coach I think you have to understand the front office and what they do as well.”
“I was not the most athletic guy so I had to focus and do a lot of work on my fundamentals . . getting to my spots in the game . . getting my teammates open and getting them better shots than they would get maybe with somebody else on the court.”
“Teams that I played for and we were successful, we were better when we were just focusing on our own team . . if you stick to your system and you work at your system constantly every day, you become great at something . . instead of focusing too much . . on too many things.”
“When you’re coming off the bench . . I think you should be focusing on, ‘Okay, I’m going into the game and we’re tied, I’m coming out of the game and we’re plus four’. . I think it’s very important to look at that plus/minus when you’re a backup player.”
“As players, we have very short attention spans . . so it’s better to do it [a particular skill] more often but in shorter periods of time . . focus on one thing at a time . . and stay on it, keep teaching.”
“I think the mid or angled pick and roll especially if the big guy came full speed from under the basket . . that is the hardest thing to guard because you don’t know where the pick is coming from.”
“I think if you have an inside/out game and an outside/in game, it helps if you have two styles of play instead of constantly just playing outside.”
“If you give too many options, players are confused; they’re not on the same page and you can see that.”
“Work on weaknesses as well, but focus on strengths more so that you can become great at something instead of mediocre at everything.”
“Even when I work out now, one on zero, that’s what I work at – getting to my spots.”
“I think it’s a very important [thing] that players pay attention to: relationships. Stay in touch with people, that’s very, very important.”
“Pay attention to little details on and off the court.”
Beno Udrih Breakdown:
1:00 – Introduction
2:00 – Developing as a Future Coach
3:00 – Favorite Traits of Coaches
5:00 – Comparing his Practice in Europe and US
7:00 – Scouting Reports
8:00 – Workload Management
11:00 – Being a Role Player
13:00 – Coaching and Helping a Role Player
14:00 – Noticing Progress and Success
15:00 – What do Coaches Over Teach?
17:00 – Some Tricks for Smart Playing
18:30 – Perceptual Abilities – How can we Teach this?
20:00 – Watching Film
23:00 – Confidence
24:00 – Communication
26:00 – In-Game Coaching
27:30 – One of the Toughest Actions
29:30 – Value Ball Movement
30:30 – Pace Change
32:00 – Personal Beliefs
33:00 – How to Develop Ball Movement
34:30 – Focus on One Thing
36:00 – Teaching Close Out Skills
38:30 – Footwork on Catch and Shoot
40:00 – Teaching Ball Pick-Up
44:30 – Transitioning from Playing
46:40 – Building Relationships
49:30 – Rationale on the One-Foot Shooting
51:00 – Conclusion
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