Kings Q&A: Darrick Martin

Famed member of the Sacramento bench mob returns to the hardwood to coach the Kings D-League affiliate.
by Dan Lovi

Bighorns general manager Peja Stojakovic announced Wednesday that Reno would name Darrick Martin as the team’s new head coach.

Martin played two seasons for the Kings and was part of the original “bench mob” in the early 2000’s. He was known as a scoring guard who was capable of lighting it up in just a few minutes of action. He brought energy and excitement off the bench and now he plans on bringing that same energy to the Bighorns. spoke to Martin on Wednesday after he was officially named head coach.

On when he first realized he wanted to get into coaching:

“Probably it was after my last couple years playing in Toronto, I quickly went from being either the youngest or the middle-of-the-pack guy in the locker room to the old guy in that locker room. I walked into the locker room and everybody was 23, 24 and I’m 34, 35 and I started to mentor the guys. Really develop some relationships with Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, Kris Humphries, Anthony Parker, [Andrea] Bargnani. I was the leader on the team so to speak. I would just talk to them and coach them every day on and off the floor. I really got the bug at that particular time.”

On his previous job as a radio analyst:

“I prepared for the radio show as though I was preparing as a scout. I was using more of my coaching stuff and bringing that to my radio job. The analysis that I would do and scout preparation. I would watch video of teams we were getting ready to play and I would sit there and break it down as if I was a coach. It helped my skills continue to be sharp and be ready so when an opportunity like this came about I was prepared.”

On connecting with his players through his own experience:

“I definitely know what they’re feeling, what they’re going through, what they’re hoping for, what they’re dreaming for. I think that’s really going to help me connect with them because being cut all those times, I think it was a total of eight or nine, and still being able to carve out a 13-year career was pretty good. It’s something I’m pretty proud of.”

On working with Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac:

“It’s so much fun. We conducted an interview and it was almost like we were sitting in that locker room talking with each other like we were playing. It was a real good process, it was a smooth process and to be working for Vlade and Peja, it’s great. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s truly a blessing to be working for those two guys. I really want to thank them for this opportunity."

On developing players:

"I think sometimes in the minor leagues coaches just want to win because I know they’re trying to build their resume and move on, but I think the bigger picture is you want to develop the players. I think if you teach them how to win they will be more effective and have some longevity and have more success playing at the next level because that’s what every kid wants to do. Whether its playing at the NBA level or getting better jobs overseas, they still need a lot of development as far as skill set, as far as understanding what it means to be a professional. There’s an old adage, as you become better the game starts to slow for you and you start to see things better. That’s what I want to project.”

On having fun while continuing to improve:

“The game of basketball is fun to me. So that’s something I want to continue and instill in the young guys, still have fun. I understand this is a job and you want to make money, you’re trying to start your life and get things going, but you have to enjoy what you’re doing in order to be successful in my opinion. I want to make sure to bring a certain level of fun and enjoyment to the kids developing. Is it going to be hard work? Yes. It’s going to require a lot of time and a lot of effort and me and my staff are going to push you? Yes, we’re going to do that. Within that you can still enjoy, have fun and enjoy improving and getting better. I think one of the things that I’ve learned in coaching, what brings me joy, is finally the kid gets it.”

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