The Long Island Nets are headed north to Toronto —actually Mississauga, Ontario— this week for the annual D-League Showcase, a gathering of D-League teams from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine. Long Island plays the host team, the Raptors 905, at 8:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.
The young Nets will be led by their young head coach, Ronald Nored, who at 26 is one of the youngest head coaches in professional basketball. Avid college fans might recognize the name. Nored was the point guard on Brad Stevens’s Butler teams that reached the NCAA Final two years in a row. He’s getting a reputation of one of the top coaches in the D-League as well.
Nored spoke last week with Evansville 44 News, an Indiana station about his relationship with Stevens, now the Celtics head guy; how he’s adjusting to coaching, and his and the Nets priorities for Long Island.
He admits he calls his college coach and the man who gave him his start in pro coaching by hiring him as an assistant in Maine.
“Every now and then. Not a ton. I learned a lot from him, playing for him and working for him. There are some things that are new to me that I didn’t see. As an assistant, you see the head coach do some stuff. There are some things I never saw him do, so I was wondering kind of what his process was to reach the point he reached. I don’t hit him up a lot, because I know he has his own team to worry about.”
How does he feel he’s doing? After a tough start, Long Island has won seven of its last 12 and has an outside chance of making the D-League playoffs.
“It’s been a very good process. It’s been different. When you’re an assistant, you don’t get hit with as much stuff as the head coach does. So, it’s been interesting to learn and navigate that. Our organization is awesome, starting from the GM to the culture and values of the organization.”
What’s the biggest challenge in a league where players top priority is moving on?
“As a D-League coach, it’s why we are here. We tell our guys, if you’re in the D-League playing for the Long Island Nets next year, we did you a disservice. We want you to be in the NBA. We want you to play at a high level in Europe. We’re doing our best to make you better. We want that for our players. Our number one goal is to develop our players. How can we get those guys better? How can we get those guys to a new level?
“At the same time, it sucks because you work so hard to build great relationships. You’re in the trenches with these guys . You’re helping them get better, they’re helping you get better. And then, they leave for greater pastures. You hope that relationship continues, but you don’t get that same work with them anymore. But, it is nice to see when they do move on, to see what they’re doing from there.”
Nored was also asked about Yogi Ferrell’s prospects?
“I think Yogi is an NBA player. I think Yogi is a really good player. He was fortunate to be with the Nets during Summer League and training camp. And I think they were comfortable with him and his play. At that time, it made sense for them to call him up. The Nets are really excited for him.”
Long Island plays two games in the Showcase. On Saturday night, they play the Grand Rapids Drive, also at 8:30 p.m. That game will be shown live on the D-League’s Facebook page.