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Larry Brown: Portrait of a basketball artist
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 10, 2012 @ 9:59 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY
DALLAS — When basketball is played well, Larry Brown peers at it with 72-year-old eyes and sees a Renoir. When it is played poorly, he says it is “ugly as hell.”
So that’s why he was crouching and running and cajoling college kids in the fall on how to use a pivot foot and sweep a basketball low. The same man who coached Reggie Miller and David Thompson, who devised ways to co-exist with Allen Iverson and contain Michael Jordan, jumped onto the court at the first sign of ugly.
The surprising part? Brown was not instructing his new Southern Methodist team. He was teaching a band of kids whose skills barely exceeded intramural level. He turned one-hour walk-on tryouts into a two-hour clinic with a Hall of Famer.
“That is what he does,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, who considers Brown a close mentor. “He would coach a high school team. He wants to coach.”
Said Danny Manning, an All-American at Kansas under Brown and current Tulsa coach: “He is a teacher.”
And so the Larry Brown experiment at SMU begins when practice officially starts Friday. And no one is quite sure how it will go — the Mustangs have not reached the NCAA tournament since 1993 — or how soon it will end — the nomadic Brown has averaged 3.1 years per stop. But for now, it’s a logical match.
SMU sought to make a big-splash hire before it moves from Conference USA to the Big East next season and finishes the $47 million renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum by December 2013. And Brown brings instant recognition, even though he understands that most young players know him only as the guy who made Iverson practice.
He said he doesn’t crave a large stage or bright spotlight. He said this is more about ending the heartache of not having a whistle to blow or a jab-step to correct the past two years. During that time out of the game, he said he must have watched 100 Villanova practices. He seemed as much a part of the Kansas staff during the 2012 Final Four as assistant … [For more on Larry Brown: Portrait of a basketball artist, click here.]
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