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Joerger remembers spending several days in Collegeville, Minn., watching Saunders teach newcomers Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell the intricacies of his offense when each star arrived in Minnesota in October 2003.
“Those are the guys I always looked up to,” Joerger said last summer after he was hired, referring to Karl, Saunders and Phil Jackson, all former CBA coaches who found NBA success.
“I always wanted to be like those guys. I watched them, how they put their stuff together. I love the way Flip Saunders coaches offense. I can’t get enough. I’ve stolen a lot of his stuff. I just loved watching him. He’s a terrific teacher.”
Fan of Flip
The son of a high school coach, Joerger acknowledged that day in Las Vegas last summer that plenty of Saunders is in him as a coach.
Saunders also perhaps sees a good bit of himself in a young coach who paid his dues in the minors for a decade and earned his first NBA head coaching job as he approached his 40th birthday, just like Saunders did.
The first time Joerger made the two-plus-hour drive from Staples to Target Center, current TNT analyst Kenny Smith was playing for the Houston Rockets.
“I remember coming to games here,” he said last season when he brought the Grizzlies to Target Center, “just the biggest deal in the world.”
He called that first time he led an NBA team at Target Center last January “very exciting, very humbling.”
“It’s certainly a dream come true to be able coach here,” he said, referring to being able to do so as a NBA head coach.
Next season, he very well might do so regularly.
|Sam Houston St||76|
|Stephen F Austin||83|
|Miss Valley St||66|
|Miss Valley St||61|
|Central Conn St||53||FINAL|
|Mount St Marys||87||FINAL|