|Advice I give my son as he starts his professional basketball career- Coach Scott Fields|
I preface this post with I have been blessed and fortunate to have traveled the globe as a Professional Basketball Coach. I have been a Head Coach for multiple successful teams. I have 15 seasons of experience now under my belt in FIBA as a Head Coach, plus over 14 seasons at the college level. We won multiple Championships. I have coached current and former NBA players. I helped develop talent around the globe and put players on their respected National Teams that played for their countries in the Olympic Games and the World Championships. I have been on the journey that you are about to begin. I started off in Europe. I was a young 26 years old. I helped a club to its most ever wins in a single season. I had to learn the language, learn the local currency, I had to learn the culture and customs. I was excited to learn and grow and I was excited to put into practice my coaching philosophy.
I didn't know what I didn't know !
I just knew I wanted to be a Head Coach, I would go where the opportunity led me, I knew the risks, I knew the precautions, I knew the negatives but didn't focus on them. I was about the cross the pound in the metal tube with a passport in my hand and my luggage packed.
I didn't allow my health issues to stop me from pursuing a passion of mine.
Since that time, I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly, the miserable, I have seen the best of people and the worst of people.
I learned it was a business quickly and I would learn many people in the game, didn't know or understand the game. People in decision making positions didn't know the sport, didn't know the game, I climbed the ranks quickly as we built successful cultures. I have been in Europe, South America, I have been in Asia and Middle East. Yes, I have circled the globe. We have accumulated a near 770 win percentage.
I was using analytics before analytics was in a word.
I took a step back from Pro Coaching when you came into our lives. You were the son I always wanted, but never had before. Our bond was the love for the game of Basketball.
I was able to coach you as a freshman in High School. Yes we had success right away, We won a tournament up north for your freshman age group.
I was also able to coach you in your AAU days 15u, 16u, 17 u. I put you playing 17u players when you were only 15.
I knew Brandon, that you were special, I knew you had a gift, I knew you had the passion. Your skill set was solid, yes, you had a small physical frame, you were young for your graduating class. physically you had not developed yet. You had heart.
You were always coachable, but would struggle with criticism if it was delivered with a negative tone. You were coachable not only on the court but at home.
Brandon had a goal to want to earn a scholarship and use basketball as a tool to get his higher education.
We sat together, we had a game plan, My wife and I gave him responsibility. He knew he had to be a good student.
When he first came to be with us he was at a high school with a lot of cultural diversity. We were in the process of building a home. Our new home was being built in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley.
He would be removed from his comfort zone. Brandon would be living with a white family. He would be going to school in a predominately white community. He was a fly in milk. He embraced it with class and used it to teach others about himself and where he came from.
Brandon is originally from South Central LA, his biological mother had moved him and his older sister to Utah after Brandon's young uncles age 19 and 21 were shot and killed in gang violence.
Brandon had a father but he was not in the picture or in his life.
If you have seen the movie blindside? This was Brandon, but switch the story line and script from Football to Basketball. Switch a large lineman in football to a small point guard in basketball.
This story would be called "No Look Pass"
Brandon took care of the classroom, he excelled on the court, each year his body and his confidence would grow.
He finished out his high school career in the toughest and most competitive region of 5A basketball in the state of Utah playing against then Nationally Ranked Lone Peak HS.
Brandon was first team All State, All Region.
again, he was and everyone reminded him, how small he was and how he would struggle at the next level.
He lands at USU Eastern in Price Utah. Brandon was on a partial scholarship as he had no other offers out of high school because coaches were worried about his size. He always said to himself, " Heart over Height." it is now tatted on his wrist.
He would have a nice freshman campaign. then as he entered his sophomore year. the team had many issues.
My wife and I receive a phone call at 3 am. Brandon was in tears, the school admin had threatened to stop the basketball season and multiple team member were being arrested for a sexual assault case as a female was allegedly raped. As any parent would, I wanted answers, the team would loose five players in the case. Another player was cut from the team with a vandalism and alcohol issue. I had a relationship with the Head Coach, he asked me to come help him as he was loosing the Team, he had lost control of the locker room and had behavior issues.
I came aboard in early December as an Associate Head Coach. We had to kick another player off of the team for behavior issues. We were now down to 6 players and a walk on. They competed in arguably one of the toughest conferences in the country. National Champions, College of Southern Idaho. Salt Lake Community College and a very good North Idaho and Snow college respectively. The team was tied for last but, I wasn't worried, we only had seven players, but we had the right seven players. We had Brandon at the Point Guard. We had Phil as a shooter, we had Sol, We had Tyson coming off of the bench, We had Alex we had Austin and we had we had Grant and we had Dexter. Two return missionaries, one about to leave for a mission.
We had to change the offense to fit the skills of the players, We had to change the culture, we would change the way we would practice, we would change the way they would prepare. We would change the way we would talk to each other and we would build confidence and we would build respect for each other, I had to challenge them to be held accountable, many players were kicked out of practice for behavior modification. We were setting the tone and building a new culture. I basically ran the team and practices.
Before my arrival the team lost 7 games in a row. I came aboard and we simplified the game, we put the ball in Brandon's hands and we put players in a position to succeed. We allowed them to do what they did best. We identified their roles.
Guess what we won 7 games in a row. We beat CSI in overtime, we took the current National Champions SLCC to OT.
Brandon suffered a concussion but he would return in time for the conference playoffs.
That is another story and another chapter.
Brandon would make 2nd team all conference and he would continue his career at Adams St University in Alamosa Colorado. He was now a Grizzly !
Brandon was leaving the nest, he was spreading his wings. He was no longer able to come home for the weekends. I was no longer his coach, but I would send him a text every game sharing with him adjustments he needed to make and what he could do to better his game and better the teams chances for success. I was just there for encouragement, for support and a boost of confidence. I was a Coach to him, not just a dad. He was now on a full ride.
Brandon still had two seasons, he was 5'10" and now weighed about 140.
still small, always the littlest on the court. My wife would go to as many games as she could. She would be in Phoenix for his game vs D1 Grand Canyon University coached by former NBA standout Dan Majerle. Brandon would continue to be a contributor and have a nice Jr year. fast forward to his Senior year.
Brandon was now a Team captain. Brandon was now a leader and I wanted him to work on being a more vocal leader and not just leader by his actions.
Brandon is a true point guard, he knows the game, he has a very high basketball IQ, he controls the pace of the game, he see's the floor very well, he can get his shot off in the paint, he can finish, he now had a nice three point range on his jumper, but he was unselfish to a fault as he always tried to get his teammate involved in the game and he knew how to take over a game when he needed. Brandon played with a chip on his shoulder as he now had goals to wanting to play at the professional level.
He would put out a tweet early in his Senior season that said, "I will be playing professional next season, mark my word." He was putting it out to the universe. but, now he needed to put in the work and show he could do it.
Brandon became the MVP of the Thanksgiving tournament in Hawaii. He finished the tournament with a triple double, 27 pts, 10 reb and 11 assist.
Brandon would then go on to become only the second players in the schools history to score 1000 pts in only two seasons.
Brandon was named first team All Conference, He was runner up to the Player of the Year. Brandon had 16 double/doubles Brandon had over 20 games with 20 points or more.
Brandon has currently signed with an agent and he will receive his degree on May 11, 2018 He will have a B.S. in Business Management.
I tell you his back story so I can now give him my advice as he prepares for his professional career
You have to know where you came from before you can be ready to go where you are meant to be.
First of all, Kim and I are proud of you and We love you.
You now have a college degree in your hand, the first of any of your family members.
I too was the first member of my family to earn a college degree.
We know many things about you, we know you are small, we know you played at a small school that not many people have even heard of. but, you can put them on the map.
You are still very hard working, You have worked hard for everything you have accomplished as nothing has been handed to you. You have learned many life skills through the game. You have learned how to persevere tough and hard times and your life has prepared you for this journey.
It will not be easy, there will be great times, ahead, there will be challenges and instability ahead, there can be doubt that can creep in. You already know and have heard us preach stay prepared,
stay ready. Be ready for any opportunity.
This is a business, things can not be taken personally, there will be players you will see get opportunities because of politics and you will know in your heart you are better than.
Wait for your opportunity.
There can be many nights of insecurity, there will be times that seem like no one knows your story, no one knows who you are, it is true and your goals don't care how you feel, you can not have doubt, you can not loose hope, you can not loose faith don't listen to people who don't share your vision and your dream, surround yourself with people who believe in you, challenge you, hold you accountable surround yourself with people who will not tell you what you want to hear, surround yourself with people who keep it real !
You have already achieved a lot, no one, and I mean no one can take away your knowledge and experiences you have gained, no one can take away your high school diploma or college degree.
You are already an amazing person, inside and out.
Brandon you are a person of High Character, High Values, you are honest and loyal.
You will make mistakes, learn from them, you will have successes, stay humble.
You have a passion and you have a purpose, fulfill it. Don't let anyone set your limitations for you.
You choose, you decide.....
Continue to learn and grow, learn from people who have had success, learn from those who have struggled and find out why they struggle, don't repeat their mistakes.
Learn from your mistakes, Failure is not a setback unless you allow it. Learn to read, read about those who you aspire to become like.
I know you watch You Tube a lot, to watch players, to watch teams, to watch workouts.
Flex your brain and stimulate your mental growth as well as your physical strength.
You will be in relationships, do like I did, Marry well, Marry someone who brings out the best in you and you the best in them, Find someone who supports your dreams and goals
you be selfless enough to support them and their dreams.
Be open, be honest, be loyal
I pray you have a family blessed with wonderful kids like I have in you and Whittney.
You are about to be thrust in a world that is not easy, it is not glamorous.
Do your homework, research every person.
You have an agent, build that relationship. You and he will need to grow together, believe in each other, support each other.
Communication is vital and important in any relationship, don't build walls, build bridges.
There will be again, ups and downs, stay consistent, don't get to high on the highs, don't get to low on the lows.
Stay focused, don't be distracted.
Invest in you, invest in your time.
Take care of your health and your body, your body is now your asset, you must take care of it and your self, you must build and strengthen yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.
You have so much ahead of you...
Time, you have time, don't force things that are not meant to be, their are lessons all around you, read the signs.
You have a goal, you have a destination you want. but don't forget to enjoy the journey along the way.
I made that mistake. I was so driven, so competitive I forgot to enjoy what was in front of me.
maintain your confidence, maintain and know your value and your strengths, know your weaknesses and work hard to flip them into strengths.
don't be a prisoner to your ambition. Stay driven, and be gracious in defeat and stay appreciative with success
everything is a state of mind, everything is a mind set, stay at peace with yourself.
you have the tools, you have the abilities, you have life lessons, you have the skill sets to make it all come to fruition. Brandon you have the foundation.
Always know, you have us to fall back on, we are here for you
Family is not always blood Family are those who love you, and have been there for you
We have seen your first basket, your first kiss, your first dance
We have seen snot bubbles come out of your nose when you broke curfews
We have seen you sign scholarship papers, we have seen you win MVP's
As an adult , it is hard to believe you are 21 this means more responsibilities, you have already taken care of your bills, but more responsibility will come, you will want independence, you will want financial independence, you will want to start a savings account and build a nest for rainy days.
You will have to get a job, have a plan A,B,C and maybe a D.
and in that grind, you will need to always stay prepared to showcase your skills when asked
You will need to be ready, stay ready. You will need to find time for workouts, time for friends, time for a social life. You will learn time management, you will need to learn to say NO !
This means you have values and you value your time. People will try to take from you, exploit you and use you, people will try to prey on your desire to succeed.
Learn quickly not everyone is nice, not everyone cares about you people only want what they can get from you
Always see the good in people but know there is evil in the world.
Always be aware, stay in the here and now.
Just know you are blessed
Just know we are blessed to have been on this journey with you
We are lucky, We are fortunate, We are Thankful for you
Thanks for allowing me to be your role model, your real model, your mentor and father figure.
God had a hand in this plan
Be patient, Work harder than anyone else, Prepare harder than anyone else, Stay ready.......
Enjoy your journey...
Don't be afraid to take a risk,
But do your homework, invest your time wisely, Invest your money wisely while trying to gain the exposure you deserve.
Do your homework, do your research, ask the right questions,
Who will be at the camps? Who will be at the workouts?
What Coaches will be in attendance? What General managers will be in attendance?
What level of players will be playing with you?
When you are working out or playing in open gyms, be smart, people will try to gauge their game against yours, don't get hurt. You have nothing to prove against rec league legends.
be smart with social media, there are eyes everywhere, if you post it, they will see it.
be smart, you don't have to post all of your intimate thoughts, you don't have to show everyone how hard you are working,
In the business, if you have to tell people you work hard, it is an insecurity, if you worked hard and you are prepared, the results will show in your performance.
Actions speak louder than words !
Be selfless in your journey, do something for less fortunate individuals daily.
do something for someone who can never pay you back.
Take the focus off of yourself, make it about others. Be a servant leader !
We believe in you, You have value, you don't need people to validate you.
Be proud, Have honor, Stay Humble
Continue to grow and learn daily and weekly.
your Integrity will shine
Be the best You, that You can be !!
Be a star with your role, be a Star with your Character
your reputation will always proceed you.
Keep an open mind, just know that failure is not an end, unless you allow it to be.
Failure is a tool to grow.
People will forget what you say, but they will never forget what you did for them !
This is Life, you only get one, Enjoy, Laugh, Have Fun with it..
Soon either you will be in the NBA, or you will have a passport full of ink.
or you might throw in many minor leagues?
Just have fun, know you are now a role model to many others.
Save your money when you make money !
Don't be afraid to ask questions along the way, I have been there and done that !
Who knows, maybe we will work together again one day.
I see Doc Rivers coaching Austin Rivers
You and I look a lot alike, , we always have, we are both skinny and sexy !
true you have a deeper tan
Go get it !!!
Just remember to never stop smiling. Show those dimples, keep laughing, keep dancing, keep singing even when it get hard !
You have earned this opportunity, you have gone further than many of your peers already.
I am not surprised at all, I knew it when I was introduced to you many years ago.
I knew then, what I know now.
You are SPECIAL ! We BELIEVE in YOU !
continue to believe in yourself.
I set back now and watch from afar.
I try not to smother you, but I am always here for you.
We got your back, you have a support system in place.
Network like crazy, build authentic relationships
This story and your journey continues.....
Haters will hate, let that fuel you
Know your value and add tax
The only pressure on you is what you put on yourself
you have your health, so you have everything
I am proud to call you son. We cant wait to see where this journey takes you.
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