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Coaching Andrew Wiggins In The 2014 Summer League Made Me A Believer


Coaching Andrew Wiggins In The 2014 Summer League Made Me A Believer

Players like Andrew Wiggins make being a coach worth it.

The NBA’s 2022 All-Star Weekend is in my hometown of Cleveland and even though I won’t be there in person, I’ll be paying close attention to the All-Star Game. I can’t wait to see Wiggins take that court.

Being a coach can be a thankless job — long days, short nights and countless hours. Most of the time, coaches spend more time with their teams than they do with their families, and when things don’t work out, we’re usually the first to get blamed — whether fair or not. That’s part of what makes it tough.

What also makes it tough is when you have players who don’t want to be held to standards or don’t want to work.

A good coach is supposed to push you and challenge you. A good coach is supposed to hold you accountable. And truth is, some players just aren’t receptive to that…

But others? They’re like Wiggins.

I got to know him pretty well during our brief time together during the NBA Summer League in 2014, and I became a believer in him almost immediately.

Eight years later, I’m going to be so proud to see him take the court as not only an All-Star from the Western Conference, but as a starter.

I first heard about Andrew when he was at Kansas, and I never imagined I’d be one of his first NBA coaches — but that’s how things worked out for us.

I was just coming off of my first season as an assistant with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate. In May of that year, Cleveland won the draft lottery for the second year in a row (and third time in four years).

They had Kyrie Irving, who they picked first in 2011, and Anthony Bennett (selected first in 2012). Now, they had won the draft lottery again and were expected to select Wiggins first overall.

Me? I was fortunate to get the call to be an assistant coach for the Cavs in the Summer League. I was looking forward to it, especially to have the opportunity to help develop that young talent. I was still getting my feet wet as a coach, and when they did ended up picking Wiggins with the first pick, we were joined.

Andrew, believe it or not, made it easy for…

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