Los Angeles Lakers: Former players using new concepts to teach

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Former Los Angeles Lakers Brian Cook, Samaki Walker, and Jelani McCoy have started something unique. They are coaching while caring and developing pro players.

Former Los Angeles Lakers players may be onto something as they embark on their coaching careers. It’s a new concept in professional basketball player development. Former NBA players scouting under the radar players who have slipped through the cracks, then coaching while caring to bring out the best in them while developing them.

It’s time that the NBA gets back to truly developing everyone on their roster. Former Lakers Brian Cook, Samaki Walker, and Jelani McCoy worked closely with Coach Vic Purnell and Independent Professional Basketball’s (IDP) Founder Shereen Rayan and President Drew Freeman to create something unique. IDP is a program that combines development and games along with extended stats to promote more defense and team play.

IDP tells and shows the players, and they mean it, that they care about them. They created this opportunity for the players because they don’t see many training companies or media that actually want to help them.

IDP helps the players without looking for something for themselves outside of the altruistic aspect of helping people reach their dreams. IDP management also makes sure the coaches know this is for them as well, its a great opportunity to hone coaching skills with pro players and highly skilled college seniors. To help former NBA players proved they have what it takes to develop and coach players on the highest level.

More from Lakers News

How many times have we been told that the NBA is a business, and the players are the commodity?

Players are expected to answer any question they are asked no matter how irrelevant or stupid or obvious the answer is. They are told they don’t have a voice. They are at the mercy of their coaches and organizations who believe they should play a position that may not be natural for them or a position they need them to play. In these cases, the player doesn’t get to showcase their skills to make it to the next level.

Quite often the player is buried on the bench behind starters for a position they don’t excel in. Coaches in the G League are also looking for a job. So, they may not really have the time or energy to develop the players they have on their roster.

A program for players and coaches by players and coaches, IDP, who operates through sponsorships and partnerships, actually listens to the players and coaches and makes adjustments so that the program is the best it can be to give everyone an opportunity to push their careers forward.

The NBA Players Association has a program to certify and train former NBA Players as coaches. Getting the job or opportunity is the difficult part what with the recent and constant shuffling and firing of coaches who don’t get a chance to establish themselves like former Lakers coach, Luke Walton.

IDP wants to help these particular folks get the NBA coaching jobs. One of their missions is to help prove that they belong in the NBA coaching ranks which usually a decade or more of experience in the NBA, that needs to count for something. In a way, the organization is supporting players and former players.

Most organizations create revenue by charging the players who mostly don’t have the money to spend because they are so busy training and haven’t given up their dreams. At IDP, they don’t charge the players, they team up with like-minded companies who want to support the athlete by sponsoring and partnering with us.

One of those companies is Pivot Sports. IDP needed a company that was willing to grow and collaborate with the players and coaches to define extended stats that explain a players entire game, in stats that aren’t just points, rebounds and assists.

15 APR 2002: Samaki Walker #52 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound and dunks against the Los Seattle SuperSonics during the first half of action at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. DIGITAL IMAGE. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Licence Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE. Mandatory Credit: Noah Graham/ NBAE/ Getty Images
15 APR 2002: Samaki Walker #52 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound and dunks against the Los Seattle SuperSonics during the first half of action at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. DIGITAL IMAGE. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Licence Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE. Mandatory Credit: Noah Graham/ NBAE/ Getty Images /

Pivot Sports has partnered with IDP to help the players better explain their game to prospective organizations.

How do you explain you are a glue guy? Or a player that or that you are a team player? Or a player that can close out a game and nails his free throws? Too often analytics are ignored because they are too complicated for most folks to digest.

The coaches at IDP and Pivot Sports want to change that and make analytics digestible, meaningful and usable. The coaches were high on gaining more knowledge about their players during the Showcase.

“The Extreme Pro Invitational was fantastic and we loved bringing our expertise in basketball analytics and pairing it with the professionals at Independent Pro Basketball.  Putting on this event for the players was a wonderful experience and we hope it opens doors for them in the near future,” Jeff Bullock, Co-Founder, Pivot Sports told us.

“We were proud to partner with the Extreme Pro Invitational. It was very evident that the staff and coaches care about helping each player get to the next level. We loved working with these coaches using our analytics to highlight all aspects of each player’s game. Each day the players improved and we are excited to see them progress through their careers using the things they learned at this showcase,” added Scott Bullock, Co-Founder, Pivot Sports.

Showcase Director Coach Purnell and the coaches were instrumental in connecting with players (one from China and Canada, college seniors, and pro players), coaches and NBA Scouts to put this intense three-day event together. Drills and plays used to develop the players came from the NBA scouts we talked too, we found out what they expect to see.

Each day the players participated in specific NBA drills with the coaches training them. Then they played games where they were evaluated based on four extra stats including deflections and missed guarded shots. Coaches also took notice if they weren’t listening or coachable. They found that there wasn’t one complaining player or obstinant player, everyone player had their eyes and ears open and played team ball.

Cook jumped on the train the minute he was approached with the idea and decided to partner with Drew and Shereen to bring in Former Lakers to help the Los Angeles talent base learn what it really takes to get noticed in an NBA Tryout. Cook, the IDP’s CEO, is working with global influencers to bring this unique formula of a development showcase to all sports and all countries.

Samaki and Jelani jumped on board quickly after. It wasn’t until the inaugural Extreme Pro Showcase got underway that anyone understood what they had created and they started hearing the reaction from the players.

The coaches invited under the radar players who were mostly 25 years or younger and 6-foot-4 and taller (an NBA Scout request). They searched for high motor, high IQ, team players who had a ton of potential yet hadn’t been able to prove their worth while playing in college or the NBA G-League.

Purnell has a knack for eyeing players to make rosters for teams to compete; he is a scout as well. Surprisingly the teams were even, the games were close, and each team had its own personality.

Players came together not knowing each other, but they all bought in and listened to the former Laker coaches. The extended stats played a big part in the games because players got credit for playing defense more than blocks and steals, they got credit every time he touched the ball or guarded a shot that didn’t fall through the net.

At the end of the event, there were three exciting close games in the books, the first one went into overtime. Everyone in the building was engaged, everyone.

The players listened closely to their former Lakers coaches and Showcase director Purnell. At the end of the Showcase, the coaches and everyone involved, including players, shared their thought and advice. At some point the referee, Mike Dent, who also volunteered to help, was emotional. The joy for the game and for the players shook him a bit and he engaged the players with his advice.

Akeem Springs, shooting guard for the Salt Lake City Stars, stood up and spoke for the players. He gave a moving speech.

Springs was able to play in front of multiple NBA Scouts and one NBA Director of Personnel. He played a lot of minutes and got to show why he belongs in the NBA.

LG Gill, Iowa Wolves forward, enjoyed being able to spread the floor and pass the ball more in the position he plays the best in. Gill also showed out in the Showcase.

The Lakers coaches through IDP gave him that opportunity, and hopefully, they can help him get seen and placed on the right team for NBA Summer League. Add University of South Carolina’s Hassani Gravett and Elhadji Dieng (FIU) as well as Bryce Peters (U of Colorado, Boulder) and Damiyne Durham (CSUB).

Take a peek into how well this Extreme Pro Showcase went and how well engaged the players were with these former Lakers who made a huge difference in their lives in just three days:

The former Lakers will be working with IDP and Pivot Sports to develop a combo score for coaches as well as players. This is just the beginning. IDP wants to go global and feed teams all over the world. These coaches are on the right track, forging ahead caring about players.

The players respond so well when they feel their coaches care about them and want them to be put in the right position and situation. There were players who were told by their agents not to come to this showcase, a free event for players.

Next. 10 Greatest Lakers Draft Picks Of All-Time. dark

Can you imagine that? We applaud Brian, Samaki and Jelani for making such a huge difference in young men’s lives, and think it’s about time NBA teams hire these guys! If you know you know!