Coach Shaw takes on new role

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Indiana Pacers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw sat down for an interview with Brooke Olzendam to discuss his role with the Pacers and how his coaching has been influenced by Phil Jackson. Shaw also takes a look back at the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals when his Orlando Magic faced the Indiana Pacers.

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Brooke Olzendam: I’ve got to start with the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals. What were your memories of that game four?

Brian Shaw: This is the funny thing about that story. Tree Rollins was a player coach on that team with us, and I think I hit a three. Then I think Reggie, somebody else came down and hit a basket and put them up. Penny hit a basket. Then a timeout was called, and I think we were up one. During the huddle, our head coach, Brian Hill and assistant player coach Tree Rollins instructed the team: “Solid defense, stay true to our principles.” I remember the ball coming into Rik Smits and him giving a pump fake. Our player coach Tree Rollins, because Shaq had fouled out of the game, went for the pump fake. Rik Smits stepped through and hit the jump shot to win by one. I remember as a player, thinking about: “Now that was our coach, that just told us to stay down and be solid, and he went for the pump fake.”

Brooke: Talk about your time with the Lakers. What did you learn from Phil Jackson?

Brian: I think the biggest thing I learned from Phil Jackson was just patience. It’s not just all about the X’s and O’s. When you’ve been in basketball for long enough, you know basketball. It’s more about managing egos and different personalities and making them harmonize to get the end result that you want to get. Just the patience that goes along with that, and the calmness, not getting too high, not getting too low, but just kind of having a steady keel because your players feed off of you. If you’re out that nervous, then that nervousness is going to trickle down to them.

Brooke: So you have a little Zen in you?

Brian: I think I have a little Zen. I’m naturally laid back by nature. I don’t have a loud voice. Some coaches yell and scream and they are very demonstrative in their actions. I’m kind of the opposite way. Even though I’m a little bit more soft spoken, I think you have to pay more attention in order to be able to really hear what I’m saying. It kind of works in the opposite effect, but that’s just me, and who I am.

Brooke: When did you first think you wanted to get into coaching?

Brian: One of my assistant coaches, with the Lakers, Frank Hamblen, I think it was my second to last year as a player. That entire year (he) told me that “You’re going to be a coach, and you need to start coming in to watch how we break down film and how we make these scouting reports on different teams.” I took him up on that. I started doing it. At that point, I started kind of realizing that I only had a year or two left. It was time to start thinking about what I was going to transition into next. Fortunately for me, I was given that opportunity and I’m glad that I took advantage of it.

Brooke: So you’ve been with a few organizations, what makes Indianapolis and the Indiana Pacers special?

Brian: Well, I think that everybody who knows anything about basketball knows how crazy the state of Indiana is about basketball and how knowledgeable the fans are here. The facility here, that the organization has built, and the pieces that have been put been together are unmatched by, and I have been with several organizations, been in different buildings, and haven’t seen anything that rivals what the Pacers have put together here. Being back affiliated, I have a short working relationship with Frank Vogel, a few years ago, when he actually worked as an advanced scout for the Lakers. Being put back together with Larry Bird, who I played with my first three years in the league with Boston. It was kind of a slam dunk situation for me, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping build something to get back to what Pacers fans in the early 2000’s were accustomed to seeing.