Hornets Assistant Coaches' Roundtable: Part 2
By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer
November 7, 2011

Its time to check in once again with the New Orleans Hornets five-man assistant coaching staff, which consists of Randy Ayers, James Borrego, Bryan Gates, Dave Hanners and Fred Vinson. Ayers, Borrego, Gates and Vinson were part of Monty Williams staff in 2010-11, while Hanners was added this summer.

In this edition, we dig deeper into some of the background of each coach, as well as provide an update on what theyve been up to this summer in NOLA.

In the previous edition of the roundtable, we asked you to discuss your favorite memory from the 2010-11 season. What is your favorite non-Hornets moment or memory from your basketball coaching career?
Ayers: Ive been very fortunate to work with some outstanding coaches. At Ohio State, it was Eldon Miller and Gary Williams, who went on to be the head coach at Maryland. In Philadelphia for six years, I sat with Larry Brown. All three of those guys gave me a different perspective on coaching.

Borrego: Being a part of two NBA championship teams with the Spurs. Those are some special memories I will never forget.

Gates: Winning the D-League title as head coach of the Idaho Stampede in 2008-09.

Hanners: Being on the University of North Carolina coaching staff when we won the NCAA title in 1993. The Final Four that year was here in New Orleans, at the Superdome.

Vinson: During my third season as an assistant coach with the Clippers, we beat the Boston Celtics on a game-winning shot at the buzzer (a 92-90 victory for Los Angeles on Dec. 27, 2009). It was a very big upset.

What is your favorite moment or memory as an athlete?
Ayers: When I played at Miami of Ohio, we had some big road wins. Winning in another teams arena is always a great challenge and a big achievement when youre in a team sport.

Borrego: Winning a state championship in New Mexico with a group of players that were so close. It meant so much to the group of players, coaches and our families.

Gates: My first-ever basketball game, when I was in second grade. They couldnt figure out how to get the rims down for us from 10 feet, so we had to play with them at regulation height. I was the leading scorer of the game. We won 2-1. [laughs]

Hanners: Playing a career-high in minutes during North Carolinas quadruple-overtime victory in a game at Tulane in 1976. That game was also played in the Superdome.

Vinson: When I was in college at Georgia Tech, we beat North Carolina on their home floor in Chapel Hill (in 1994). North Carolina was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time, so it was a huge upset. I made eight three-pointers in that game and scored 26 points. Another great moment was making the Atlanta Hawks roster as a rookie free agent.

The last time we chatted, you discussed your overall experience in New Orleans away from basketball. What have you enjoyed doing most in the city during this offseason?
Ayers: Eating. [laughs] There are some excellent restaurants and Ive met some very good people in that industry. Ive been exposed to some great meals. Believe me, its been great.

Borrego: Spending time with my wife and our three kids. We moved into a new home and have enjoyed getting to know the area. The best part has been the time to drop off and pick up the kids at school and also attend some field trips.

Gates: Taking my triplets for a walk in Audubon Park.

Hanners: Eating. There are so many great restaurants. Its unbelievable.

Vinson: Going to church on Sundays and enjoying my fellowship there.

Speaking of the offseason, in August the coaching staff was invited to a New Orleans Saints practice. What were some of the things you took away from that experience of watching the Saints prepare for the NFL season?
Ayers: How business-like they were. They were all business. I was really impressed with that. On both sides of the ball, their leaders led and jumped right into every drill. At that point, they were still preparing for the season, so they had to get a lot of work in.

Borrego: How organized and detailed they were. They moved from drill to drill without missing a beat. I also loved watching how much communication went on between the leaders of both the offense and defense.

Gates: It was good to see (Saints fullback) Korey Hall, a Boise State alum who Id met in Idaho when I coached in the D-League there. I went to a lot of Boise State football practices. One of the interesting things to watch at Saints practice was how many people are involved in the organization of it. The breaks and the stretching were all very organized. There was no wasted time the entire time we were there.

Hanners: How together they were as a team. They are such a solid group. I took note of their confidence and how positive the atmosphere was. Also, Sean Payton was very gracious. He came over five or six times to us to explain exactly what we were seeing on the practice field.

Vinson: Just the attention to detail. I thought it was outstanding. The organization of the entire practice was excellent. Everything was timed to the second and their players respond very well to that.

Each of you also participated in the Hornets Family Fun Day in August. What did you enjoy most about participating in that event?
Ayers: It was a lot of fun, especially building trust and getting people to try some new things on the court. I was involved in the shooting aspect of it. We had some competitive games and people really got into it. I feel like any time you can interact with your fan base, its always a great thing. We were very appreciative that people came out to it.

Borrego: Connecting with some of our fans, especially the kids. It was very enjoyable to see how excited and happy the kids were to be on the court where the Hornets play. Most had never been so close to the court before.

Gates: Seeing how excited the kids were to be on the court. Everyone dreams about the opportunity of playing in the NBA, to set your feet on an NBA court, looking up at an NBA rim with an NBA ball. And for me, being a new parent, it was very enjoyable to watch parents having fun with their kids. I cant wait to do those kinds of things with my kids.

Hanners: Seeing the different personalities of the kids. Usually when you have an event like that, its a very homogenous group, where it will be kids who are all from the same church or same background. But this was such a different group, and I think thats kind of the culture of New Orleans. It was people from all different neighborhoods. I really enjoyed that.

Vinson: Seeing the kids laugh and seeing how much fun they had. With an event like that, you also dont necessarily expect to see older teenagers and adults participate, but they were right out there on the court and also seemed like they were having a great time. It was great to see the family atmosphere. It felt good being back in the arena with the fans.

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