Big Baby Excited About Hiring

By John Denton
July 30, 2012


ORLANDO Standing in the back of the room as Jacque Vaughn passionately talked about how he will approach coaching the Orlando Magic in the future, power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis became emotional and grew even more ready to begin training camp.

Davis made it a point to attend Vaughn’s introductory news conference on Monday and he came away quite impressed with what the 37-year-old rookie head coach had to say about his future plans for the Magic.

``Jacque’s like a Doc Rivers, who played the game at a high level and was successful,’’ Davis said moments after embracing Vaughn on the Magic’s practice court. ``While (Vaughn) was up there on that podium motivating, you want to hear that as a player. You want to hear your coach motivating you to give your max. You want to hear your coach asking you to be bigger than yourself. That’s what it’s all about.’’

Some of the reasons that the Magic hired Vaughn is because they believe his past playing experience and relative young age will help him better relate to impressionable NBA players like Davis. Vaughn played in the NBA for 12 seasons, learning the game under head coaching greats such as Jerry Sloan, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. He is just three years removed from playing in the NBA and at 37 he is the NBA’s second-youngest head coach.

Davis, who finished last season strong for a Magic team that was without Dwight Howard, feels Orlando selected a dynamic coach in Vaughn who will get the most out of players. He credited the DeVos ownership, CEO Alex Martins and GM Rob Hennigan for being deliberate in the coaching search and hiring the perfect personality for the team.

``It is most definitely a blessing to be in a situation like this with a guy who has a huge upside as a coach,’’ Davis said. ``The organizations that Jacque’s been in and the things that he’s encountered in terms of knowing what to do is unbelievable. It’s really like a dream come true. … Alex and Rob Hennigan and the DeVos family have done a great job of sitting down and analyzing the ins and outs of a situation and picking the right coach. I am so excited.’’

Davis, likely the Magic’s starting power forward now with Ryabn Anderson having been involved in a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans, predicted early in the offseason that Howard would ultimately return to Orlando. After all, it was Howard who helped to recruit Davis to Orlando from the Boston Celtics before last season. But Davis said he was likely wrong about Howard’s future, and knows that the all-star center could be playing elsewhere by the start of training camp.

``We all know what was going on last season (with the Howard distractions). At the end of the day, it is what it is,’’ Davis said. ``I am wrong (about Howard), but I haven’t given up. Hopefully he can come back. Hopefully he can still remain here and finish what he’s started. I wish that for him because he’s a great guy. We’ll see how things work out and hopefully he’ll make his decision and we can get on with the process.’’

Davis can’t wait to get started working with Vaughn, whom he thinks will be a big hit as a head coach because of his basketball smarts, strong communication skills and ability to relate to players. Davis said that players will go the extra mile for a coach like Vaughn, whom he knows will understand what he’s going through and will have his best interests at heart.

Hennigan and Davis have already talked extensively about the power forward needing to become more of a leader for the Magic next season, one that might be of the rebuilding variety. Davis said he is so excited about the direction that the Magic are headed under Vaughn that he’s game to serve whatever role he is needed to fill.

``They’re trying to build something here and that takes time. We can’t worry about what we don’t have. If guys don’t want to be here then they don’t have to be here. Guys who want to be here and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the team, that’s the kind of stuff that we want to be a part of,’’ Davis said. ``Me being a leader on this team, I’m going to stress that people know what we’re here for – and that’s to put the first banner up. … All Rob tells me is believe in the greater good. He doesn’t have to tell me anything else. I understand that because I’ve been in an organization where you had to dial in and do those things. I’m so excited and I wish we could start (training camp) tomorrow.’’

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