2019 Washington Wizards Draft Press Conference
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards introduces 2019 NBA draft pick Rui Hachimura during a introductory press conference at Capital One Arena on June 21, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooks talks team chemistry, coaching from a distance on first episode of Full Court Press

In the first-ever episode of Full Court Press, a brand-new podcast under the newly announced Wizards Podcast Network, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks joined Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor to talk about the season so far, staying fit during the hiatus, how he’s preparing the team for a return and more.

“We miss being on the court, we miss our fans, we miss playing the game,” Brooks said. “But this is way more important. We have to do our job and fight the coronavirus and flatten the curve and get rid of it all together…our basketball will be back and hopefully soon. Right now it’s good to just reflect and connect with my family.”

“You miss being around the guys and the grind every day. That’s the fun part of the league. You miss the fans, you miss the energy in the building, you miss the travel, you miss the tough losses, you miss the great wins. It will all come back soon. We have to make sure we take care of each other’s health and our families. That’s more important than basketball at the moment.”

Brooks noted that with coaches and players all in different locations, communication has become more important than ever. He texts players three times per week and is working with the coaching staff to provide players with film from this season and upcoming matchups for when basketball returns. Brooks says the team is even providing players with additional film of players they deem comparable in hopes they can learn and add on to their own skillsets in their time away from the court.

Keeping players and staff mentally sharp during the hiatus is just half of the challenge NBA teams face these days. Coaches and training staffs around the league are working to ensure that players are ready to quickly return to top physical condition as soon as basketball is back. Brooks says the Wizards are taking a number of measures to make sure players are staying fit in their time away from the game, including yoga and strength sessions conducted through Zoom.

“It’s important for our guys to stay in shape,” Brooks said. “We do Zoom workouts, we do yoga workouts and they do workouts on their own. One thing about our guys, they’re pretty committed to getting better. We’ve instilled a philosophy and I think they’ve pretty much bought in. They’re pros. They understand it at a pretty young age. They’re young in NBA experienced, but they have a really good maturity about their growth. And their mindset has to be about getting better every day.”

Brooks praised the chemistry of the group and the environment that had been created around the organization over the course of the season.

“We care for one another,” Brooks said. “That’s what I love about these guys…Our coaching staff has done a great job with them. Just texting back and forth with them, you can just see the maturity is growing as this season goes along. And now during this time, this is uncharted…I got a picture from Brad the other day. He texted me a picture of his son playing basketball. That was good. It’s always fun to see our players be with their kids. I didn’t have a father growing up, so when you see that, it gives you a little extra charge throughout the day. It’s fun to see our players mature into not just mature players but husbands and fathers. You don’t really have time to see all that (during the season).”

While the league’s hiatus has allowed everyone to take a step back and gain some perspective, basketball will be back. The time away has given coaches and players alike the chance to focus on their non-basketball lives, but has served as a reminder that the everyday minutia that come with life in the NBA are not to be taken for granted.

“When it happens, you have to be ready to go,” Brooks said. “All I know is one thing: I’m all in. Whatever the NBA tells me, I’m backing in 1,000 percent…Whatever it is, you’re not going to hear any gripes. Because I miss it. Sometimes when you’re around it, not that I was taking it for granted, but you knew there was a game tomorrow night you knew we had a game next week, you knew you were going to see our fans, you know you’re going to see the ushers, you know you’re going to see all the players and coaches and staff and all the people that make it all happen. But we don’t have that now. So you miss it.”

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