College - North Carolina State
Phil Weber never sees the glass as half-empty. Now, with a revamped cast of Knickerbockers under his tutelage, his natural enthusiasm and optimism has a new outlet.
“If you look at our roster, we have five players at the age of 22 or 23, and I don’t know the ceiling on any of them. They’ll determine what that is,” says the effervescent Long Island native, now in his third season on the Knicks’ coaching staff. “The level of athleticism we now have has changed considerably. We have young players who can, potentially, be really good pieces on a good team.”
Weber joined the Knicks on Jun. 20, 2008, and is currently in his 12th season as an NBA coach. Prior to arriving in New York, he spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns (1999-2000 through 2007-08). Phil has also coached the Knicks squad at the 2008 and 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
“You can meet someone who’s as positive as I am, but you can’t meet someone who’s more positive than I am,” says the animated Weber. “I say that because I don’t think we use enough positive tension in our life.”
“Phil knows the offense which we’ve carried over from Phoenix and he’s been with me the whole time,” says Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. “He’s watched and been responsible for that development. He’s another guy who loves to work with young guys, especially with their shooting and their balance on the court. He’s been with me a long time, he knows what I like. He’s very energetic, very positive for the team.”
Weber was a member of D’Antoni’s coaching staff that led the Suns to three consecutive Pacific Division titles (2005, 2006, 2007). He served as head coach of the Suns’ 2006 and 2007 Vegas Summer League teams, and also worked with the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team as they prepared for the 2006 FIBA Men’s World Championships in Japan. Phil also joined D’Antoni as an assistant coach for the West squad at NBA All-Star 2007 in Las Vegas. With the Suns, he served under Head Coaches Danny Ainge, Scott Skiles, Frank Johnson and D’Antoni.
“I’d put our staff against any in the League on many levels, one of which is player development,” says Weber. “Whenever you have young players, there’s a lot of work to be done, not only for guys to know the whole team concept, but on working with individual players on their fundamentals.
“One of my favorite words in the English language is synergy. You add all those individual pieces, all those skill sets. As the skill sets improve, then you mesh that, all those moving parts into the way we want to play. It’s exciting to see where we’re going to be.”
Prior to joining the Suns, Weber teamed with former Knick Kiki Vandeweghe to form an academy for NBA player development in Los Angeles. The program helped develop the likes of Shawn Marion, Baron Davis, Jalen Rose and Pat Garrity.
Weber’s coaching career began in 1984 at the University of Florida under head coach Norm Sloan. He was on the Gators staff for five seasons, helping lead the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1987 and the Southeastern Conference title in 1989.
“I got inspiration from Jimmy V, I got a hard-nosed attitude from Norm, I got Skiles’ defensive prowess, I got Danny’s creativity, and Mike is one of the best offensive minds ever,” says Weber. “So my pedigree is pretty good from that standpoint.”
Following his Florida tenure, Weber spent a year traveling around the country to observe 16 different major college programs before spending one season as an assistant coach at Chaminade University in Hawaii. He was on the coaching staff at Iona College from 1991-95.
A native of Northport, N.Y., Weber helped Long Island Lutheran HS to a state title before playing collegiately at North Carolina State for Sloan and Jim Valvano. A four-year letterman, Weber redshirted during the Wolfpack’s 1982-83 NCAA title season. He earned his degree in Business from North Carolina State in 1984. Phil’s parents still live on Long Island, where his father coached basketball for over a decade at Cold Spring Harbor HS.
Phil is single in lives in Manhattan’s popular Meatpacking/Chelsea section.