It’s a long manner from Los Angeles to Orem, and now not simply the 650 miles between them. A few months ago, Mark Madsen became an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now he’s the pinnacle basketball coach at Utah Valley University. Instead of training LeBron James and, earlier than that, Kobe Bryant; as opposed to working for Magic Johnson and the Buss circle of relatives; as opposed to education inside the 21,000-seat Staples Center in the front of Denzel, Jack, Ice Cube, and national TV audiences; in place of all that, he’ll be education the Wolverines on the UCCU Center.
“Basketball is basketball,” says Madsen.
He begins a story about a meeting with the legendary Jerry West quickly before the Lakers selected him in the 2000 NBA draft. They have been sitting in his office, and West pointed down via a window to the courtroom wherein the Lakers were practicing. “You will locate,” he stated, “that the NBA sport is the equal sport as excessive faculty and college. Of course, it’s a little quicker, but it’s an identical recreation.”
Finished with this story, Madsen says, “I disagreed with him, but then I started gambling. It’s proper … it’s the identical game.”
In a way, that is a homecoming for Madsen. He grew up and attended university inside the Bay Area, but his father, Duane, was raised in Utah and hailed from Utah pioneer stock. Madsen’s parents left California 15 years ago and resettled in a swanky Provo community. A few years ago, his mom Erlyn set him up with his future wife, a Utahn.
“I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about being right here,” Madsen says, and he approaches it. So it turned into in Utah, where Madsen released his coaching profession in 2009, the same yr he retired from playing within the NBA. He contacted almost every faculty within the state overdue that summertime approximately possible coaching positions and interviewed to be an assistant on UVU’s staff. Still, there had been no openings that late within the yr, even for a man sporting international championship jewelry.
He wound up as an assistant coach for the D League Utah Flash for a few months alternatively. Then, he enrolled within the MBA program at Stanford, his alma mater, and because he changed into the community, the college invited him to be an assistant instruct. A yr later, he commenced coaching within the NBA’s D League, and a year after that, he became hired through the Lakers as an assistant, a gig that lasted six years.
He left the Lakers this spring just as the entirety become collapsing across the franchise — the losing, the morale-crushing midseason try and exchange half the roster to the Pelicans, after which Magic Johnson’s arguable and abrupt retirement, which got here a few days after head instruct Luke Walton left the crew. It’s the form of turmoil that follows any group on which LeBron lands. Anyway, the UVU role unfolded when Mark Pope turned hired with the aid of BYU, and Madsen received his first head coaching job.
Madsen had the foresight and interest to begin getting ready for the education profession as early as an excessive school while he introduced to his mother and father, “I’d like to begin analyzing coaches.” Players can play the sport for years without apprehending the whys and hows of what they do; Madsen wanted greater. So he asked for books by and about coaches, amongst them UCLA’s John Wooden and the Lakers’ Phil Jackson (for whom he could later play), and became an eager observer of coaches at some stage in his gambling career. “I took notes at distinct points as a participant,” he says. “I wish I had taken greater.”
“While he’s gambling, he’s becoming a scholar of coaching,” says Duane. “His the remaining 10 years turned into to become a D-I instruct.”
Madsen’s notes consist of an incident that observed a Lakers loss in Houston. The negative performance became pinned on several of the Laker stars, most drastically Shaquille O’Neal and Robert Horry, for partying and socializing the previous night. The locker room was hectic. Jackson became disillusioned. So changed into O’Neal, resenting the finger-pointing. The next day, in San Antonio, Jackson advised the team, “Everyone right here has a sturdy will. That’s why you’ve been a success. I’ve been requested to do a process by the Lakers. I must have a sturdy will too. If not, with your competitiveness, you’ll stroll over each person, and no one will name you on it.” Those are, Madsen says, hard conversations an instruct has to be inclined to have.
“I always thought I’d need to be a coach,” he says. “I study ‘They Call Me Coach’ (using Wooden) in high school and then read it once more in college. It inspired me. I wanted to have an effective impact on gamers.”