When did your interest in managing begin?
Coming from L.A., I knew in high school I wanted to be a basketball coach. Watching the Lakers win championships, that really triggered something.
Going into the job, the ultimate goal is to be an assistant on an NBA bench, say, 20 years down the line. Iâ€™ve coached eighth graders in a local league at home, but if you arenâ€™t a former player, you need something as a stepping-stone to get your foot in the door. Iâ€™m a good player, but I didnâ€™t play high school basketball because my program wasnâ€™t worth playing for. I hadnâ€™t seen any organized practices before this. I grew up watching Phil Jackson and I taught myself all I knew. You never know what is going to happen at practice while watching coaching staff handle players and situations. Thatâ€™s definitely been my favorite thing. During games when Iâ€™m giving out water and putting out stools, you get a lot out of that too. Youâ€™re basically in the huddle.
IU is a top-three sports management program. After the whole Sampson debacle, I considered trying to get in really good shape and walk onto the team. But when it came down to it, I didnâ€™t really have to think about itâ€”I was much more qualified to be a manager.
What is the interview process like?
They put out an â€˜interestedâ€™ list in the office that anyone can sign and they give everyone interested an interview. There was a call out meeting with maybe 50 or 60 applicants my year. The amount they take changes each year because they hire what they lose, but everyone gets an interview.
In the first interview, you sit down with some of managers and coaching staff. Second interview is more of a practical on the court to see if you can do things.
The first time I went out was first semester sophomore year after the whole team had fallen apart. They had lost coaches and personnel, so I figured they were looking for new people. The first time I went out I didnâ€™t get it. It was definitely disappointing. I was probably pretty resentful at the time. I ran into one of the guys who did get it at the HPER gym and he told me to reapply.
I interviewed again at the beginning of junior year. They took five guys. I was very persistent, always telling them I was willing to do anything,
Once youâ€™re chosen, what is a normal day like for a manager?
They tell us to schedule classes around practice, which runs from 12:30-4. I go to class, but when Iâ€™m not at class, I have to be at Assembly Hall. They tell us, â€˜When youâ€™re not in class or doing homework, you should be here.â€™ Everything that comes along with the job they warn you about. You need to be willing to do anything.
We get the court set up an hour before hand. We put up pads, balls, tape up the floor, put out drinks and gum for coaches and make Gatorade and water. During practice, Iâ€™m usually observing what theyâ€™re saying. I learn about coaching, thatâ€™s what I signed up to do. Some guys (managers) get in and play offense or defense.
Some put together videos. Crean relies on video more than anyone in the country, Iâ€™d say. A lot of NBA teams look for that and a lot of video coordinators go on to do that in the NBA. Ill probably try to do that after I graduateâ€” video intern. Itâ€™s either that or a basketball operations intern, which is rare.
Thatâ€™s a normal day. Youâ€™re really there all the time. Iâ€™m there from 11 until about 5 Monday/Wednesday/Friday, being around for whatever.
How many hours do you work each week?
I average a minimum of 30 hours a week, which might be on the conservative side. It depends on the schedule. If they practice all week, Iâ€™d say itâ€™s closer to 40.
Iâ€™ve done food runs for coaches, rebounded for players, driven guys to the airport. During the Wisconsin game, I was under the basket with a towel wiping up sweat.
So why do you do it?
Itâ€™s definitely not common. You have to be very mentally tough. Youâ€™re at the bottom of the totem pole, so if anyone gets frustrated, itâ€™ll probably make it down to you.Â But going to IU, for what I want to do, there is nothing out of this major (sport management) that I will probably take with me. My classroom is practice. There are managers who can make it. I just look at Lawrence Frank. He used to be a manager here and is now an assistant with Celtics under Doc Rivers.
Being a manager at IU is not the same as being one at Iowa. Itâ€™s too good to pass up. Crean is one of most respected coaches in the country. Itâ€™s been the most valuable thing Iâ€™ve done at IU.
You have to be a basketball junkie and know what you want to do after you graduate. I donâ€™t want to say it takes over your life, but in some ways it does. If you want to become a basketball coach and arenâ€™t going to be a D-I player, thereâ€™s no better way. This kept me in it.
Most guys have connections, I never had any help.
Would you do it again?
You definitely miss out on a lot with your friends and everything. Like, I havenâ€™t been home since August. When I do make it in the NBA, going on road is an invaluable experience. Iâ€™d do it 100 times over if I went back. If I could do it my way, Iâ€™d do it 4 years, but if Tom Crean never hired, I wouldnâ€™t be a manager, so Iâ€™m thankful for my time.
What do people not know about your job?
It takes a certain type of person to do this. When Iâ€™m not at work, in my leisure time, Iâ€™m watching basketball or playing at HPER. Most people donâ€™t know the commitment it takes or how hard it is. If and when it happens, theyâ€™ll be watching the NBA Finals and see me on the bench. I donâ€™t think people realize how important we are as a whole. Any college program couldnâ€™t be the same without us. Being an Indiana manager, we have history. Itâ€™s a good family to be a part of.
Overall do you feel your efforts are appreciated?
Over Thanksgiving, I was invited to team dinner. Iâ€™ve gotten too much gear from the team. Iâ€™ve gotten class credit from it, awesome apparel, experience you need. At the end of the year banquet last year, the coaches said how much they appreciated what we do. The managers have an intramural team, and last week whole team was there watching us play.
Senior night, my dad was overwhelmed with the whole ceremony. Are we appreciated? If youâ€™re going to succeed, to answer that question really canâ€™t matter. You have to do it for yourself. You just have to get experience any way you can. If thatâ€™s your reasoning, you canâ€™t do it.
But overall, yes absolutely. If all managers were not to show up for one day, I donâ€™t know what they would do.