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Long Island Nets striving to emulate Brooklyn’s culture

Long Island Nets

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – The Long Island Nets had Media Day on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum, their home arena in Uniondale, all fresh and new after a $165 million renovation, courtesy of Mikhail Prokhorov.

Both GM Trajan Langdon and head coach Ronald Nored spoke about what they’re most excited about heading into the season. A big part of it is the venue, which team officials not-so-quietly note is the G-League’s finest arena.

“Having our own building and having some real fans,” said Langdon. “But I’m also excited to see Ronald [Nored], after having a year under his belt, take ownership of this team and understand what he wants out of this team. Obviously everything we do here on Long Island we try to mirror what’s going on in Brooklyn.”

Nored is on the same page as Langdon, especially about the new home.

“It’s good to come home. We wear ‘Long Island’ across our chest so to have the opportunity to be in our community, build this Long Island Nets community and re-establish basketball back on the island is really exciting for us,” Nored said.

The Long Island Nets will open the season on November 4 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale after playing one season in Brooklyn at Barclays Center. Most of those games were not open to public and played during the day.

“Playing in Brooklyn was great last year,” Langdon explained. “We gave our players a chance to play in an NBA arena every day, but I think it was frustrating that they didn’t really have a home fanbase. It didn’t really feel like a home court. It’s nice that we can create a home base here on Long Island with our own fans and our own brand.”

There were plenty of benefits of playing in Brooklyn, of course. The communication between the two clubs was seamless and the squads could intertwine during practice. Chris McCullough made round trips from the G-League to NBA (21 times to be exact). A team insider told NetsDaily the same yo-yoing is likely for Isaiah Whitehead., who the Nets reassigned to Long Island Thursday afternoon.

Luckily Long Island isn’t a far drive.

“Logistically it’s going to be more of a challenge because it was easy having practices at HSS right after Brooklyn practice,” said Langdon. “So, Ronald would talk to Kenny every day. Ronald could bump into Sean every day. We could bump into our performance team. It was definitely easier from that aspect.

“We would have a 1:30 (D-League) game and finished at 3:30 and then we have a (NBA) game at 7:30, so it was accidental collisions [with LI Nets and Brooklyn Nets] and communication was much easier.

“It’ll make it more of a challenge with either (assistant GM) Matt Ricciardi or myself coming out here every home game. Coming out here to get one of these guys assigned or back to a game in Brooklyn. But we’re ready to do that.”

Long Island will also train on the Island at the “Yes We Can” Center in New Cassel, leaving HSS Training Center behind.

No matter. Langdon, whose primary job is as assistant GM to Sean Marks, understands the importance of emulating Brooklyn’s culture and bringing it to Long Island.

It starts with high-character guys from the bottom up.

“I think the biggest thing is having a culture where we have high-character guys that value team-oriented basketball first. That’s what we have in Brooklyn and we’re trying to emulate that here,” said Langdon.

The 27-year-old Nored, who went to the NCAA Finals twice with Butler, is on the same page as Langdon, similar to the way Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson and GM Sean Marks talk.

“I think we started that with high-character guys. I learned that culture is about the people you have on board. We have a really good staff trying to emulate things from Brooklyn, we have players doing the same things, we have good guys that are really fun to be around. They’re playing loose and they take coaching well..”

It's a little more difficult than it sounds, though. Guys in the G-League are looking to make a name for themselves. They’re looking to get theirs, which makes it tougher to establish team-oriented basketball.

“We know that the development of our own takes precedence over winning games. It’s been communicated, and Ronald is all in on that, our players are all in on that,” Langdon explained.

And things can change quickly.

“The hardest part is implementing the players that get assigned because they’ll have their little groove, roles and then a player from Brooklyn comes and plays and those roles and minutes will change. Guys will understand that when a guy comes from Brooklyn, precedence takes place in terms of developing those guys over wins.”

Development over winning. Sounds awfully familiar.


The Long Island Nets tip off against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on November 4, 7:00 p.m. at NYCB Live. They will honor Julius “Dr. J” Erving 30 minutes prior to tip with a banner ceremony.