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Bill Bayno: Drawing Star Power

By Heather Atiyeh
TrailBlazers.com
Rip City Magazine


It’s August in Atlanta at the Georgia Tech gymnasium, where Trail Blazers assistant coach Bill Bayno sweats it out three practices a day with forward Zach Randolph.

"Zach has an excellent work ethic," says Bayno. The pair works through continuous situational drills fine-tuning Randolph’s game, improving his offensive versatility and building his confidence shooting with his right hand.

A month later, a motivated Randolph returned to Portland in his best condition ever and jumpstarts the Trail Blazers season flashing All-Star capability by executing a immediate series of double-doubles.

"Coach Bayno is a good person," said Randolph. "He pushes me hard and is there for me every day. I thank him for helping me to get to where I needed to be."

Bayno clearly has a way of authentically connecting and resonating with the young Trail Blazers in a way that few can match.

Trail Blazers assistant general manager Kevin Pritchard who was once a student of Bayno himself as a freshman at the University of Kansas reflects on his proficiency, "He has a way of gaining the trust of athletes by working as hard if not harder than they do, with zero agenda in mind. He’s a basketball guy that’s all about development."

Bayno built a solid resume early in his career, mentored by P.J. Carlisimo at Seton Hall and as assistant coach under Larry Brown at Kansas, before spending seven seasons at his alma mater working with John Calipari at the University of Massachusetts.

By the age of 32, Bayno had accepted the head coaching position at UNLV and later coached the Runnin’ Rebels to four conference titles. Thereafter, he led the Yakima Sun Kings to the CBA title in 2002.

In 2005, he led Portland’s Summer League team in Las Vegas as head coach and later accompanied Martell Webster to Fort Worth, Texas last January to play for the NBA Development League. Webster returned to Portland with visible improvement and a newfound confidence fostered through Bayno’s mentorship.

With success under his belt and a knack for motivating some of the NBA’s most challenging youth, there is promise in Bayno’s ability to draw out the star quality in every player.

Pritchard concludes, "Bayno truly cares about people and he’s genuine. When you find a person like him in this business, you hold on to them tight."
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