Ari Stern

Website –

Twitter – @AriSternHoops

Email –

Ari Stern is a former four-year player at The College of Wooster.  He is currently a graduate assistant at Duquesne University after serving as a player development intern for the Dallas Mavericks in 2018-19.

While with the Mavs, Stern collaborated with coaches in helping facilitate practices, individual workouts and game day activities. He also contributed to Dallas’ analytic efforts by assisting with film breakdown.

The Phoenix, Ariz. native has also worked extensively at a number of national and international basketball academies, clinics and camps.

A team captain at Wooster, Stern was part of teams that compiled a 90-30 record and made four NCAA Division III Championship appearances under head coach Steve Moore, who currently ranks second on the Division III career wins list.

A graduate of Sunnyslope High School, Stern was one of ten players named to the statewide All-Academic Boys Basketball Team (Divisions I and II) as a senior. Stern helped the Vikings to the state semifinals twice as they went a combined 57-8 during his junior and senior years.

Stern graduated magna cum laude with a degree in psychology from Wooster in 2018. As part of his degree requirement, he studied the effects of mindset on athletic performance and persistence for his senior independent study thesis. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the NABC Honors Court.

Don’t miss our Hoop Heads Pod Webinar Series with some of the top minds in the game across all levels, from grassroots to the NBA.  If you’re focused on improving your coaching and your team, we’ve got you covered! Visit to get registered.  Make sure you check out our new Hoop Heads Pod Network of shows including Thrive with Trevor Huffman , Beyond the Ball, The Podcast and debuting this week, Cavaliers Central with Justin Matcham, our first podcast dedicated to covering the ins and outs of an NBA team. We are unbelievably excited for the content we’re going to be bringing you in the weeks ahead as more of our new shows come to life.  If you’ve ever thought of hosting your own basketball themed podcast or a pod that covers an NBA or NCAA team we want to hear from you about joining our great lineup of show hosts.

Listen in as we take a deep dive into the story of breaking into the coaching profession with Ari Stern from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What We Discuss with Ari Stern

  • Being born into a basketball family
  • Being influenced by Pete Maravich & Steve Nash
  • How he ended up in Wooster, Ohio after growing up in Arizona
  • Playing for Coach Steve Moore at Wooster
  • The importance of being a great student and how it widens your options as a college basketball player
  • The coaching connections he made at Wooster
  • Getting started in coaching by working out other players
  • How seeing the impact coaches can have inspires him as a coach
  • Networking while working for the Hoop Group
  • If you’re too big for the small jobs, you’re probably too small for the big jobs
  • Getting an internship with the Dallas Mavericks through Larry Shyatt
  • Working with and learning from Mike Procopio, then from the Mavericks
  • Learning to be a professional with the Mavs
  • Dominate simple is something he learned from Mike Procopio
  • What he learned from Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks coaching staff
  • Playing point guard on the scout team at Mavs’ practices.
  • Keeping a notebook to write down what he was learning
  • The athleticism and basketball IQ of NBA players
  • How he got his GA position at Duquesne with Keith Dambrot
  • Doing whatever needs to be done to help the program in his role as a GA
  • Being a value add with his knowledge running the film room
  • Relationships & Passion

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!

Become a Patron!
  • We’re excited to partner with Dr. Dish, the world’s best shooting machine! Mention the Hoop Heads Podcast when you place your order and get $300 off a brand new state of the art Dr. Dish Shooting Machine!
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DrDish-Rec.jpg
  • Coaches, we’ve teamed up with E3 Hoops Analytics so you can now purchase their exclusive new playbooks right from the Hoop Heads Pod website.  If you’re looking for ways to improve your team next season these playbooks blend affordability with the quality content that serious coaches are looking for.

Just visit in and you’ll find playbooks from

  • Coach Don Showalter – USA Basketball – Continuity Ball Screen Offense with Drills – $10.00
  • Coach Tyler Whitcomb – West Aviation Academy (MI) High School – Oribe Scissors Continuity Offense – $15.00
  • Coach Matt Flinn – Illawarra Hawks (Australia) – $15.00

Check out these great resources at

Here are three FREE Playbooks for you to download courtesy of E3 Analytics & the Hoop Heads Podcast.

E# Analytics
  • Last year at the Jr. NBA Summit I came across an amazing company called iSport360 and its Founder Ian Goldberg.  Their youth sports app gets coaches, players and parents on the same page. Your team can set goals, share player feedback, training videos, sticker rewards, player evals and practice assignments.  All to foster healthy team communication and culture.  iSport360 is giving away its app all season long to every team that needs a virtual way to stay connected, stay active and strong: share training videos, practice assignments, sticker rewards and teammate chat in the virtual locker room.  Get your team set up here or you can request a demo for your club here.
iSport 360

Being without basketball right now is tough for all of us, so we’ve partnered with Pro Skills Basketball  to offer you a 50% discount on their Ultimate Shooting Guide & Video Program that will put players on a guided path to becoming the best shooter they can be. With ONE YEAR’s worth of workouts that include drills, games and competitions, players will gain access to a blueprint showing them what it takes to become an elite-level shooter.  If you’re looking to improve your shooting at home, this program can help.  Visit to check it out.


  • A comprehensive 30-page e-book with tips on shooting form, body control and developing a shooter’s mentality
  • A year’s worth of daily assignments
  • Access to videos that explain daily assignment drills
  • Email reminders helping players stay on track
PSB Shooting


If you enjoyed this episode with Ari Stern, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Ari Stern on Twitter!

Click here to let Mike & Jason know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly NBA episodes, drop us a line at


 [00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host, Jason Sunkle and tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast from Duquesne University, Ari Stern, Ari, welcome to the podcast.

Ari Stern: [00:00:11] Thank you for having me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:13] We are excited to have you on and be able to talk about some of the interesting things that you’ve been able to do in your relatively young basketball career.

So let’s start by going back in time to when you were a young kid. And tell us a little bit about how you fell in love with the game of basketball, your first introduction to it.

Ari Stern: [00:00:32] So I kind of just inherited the game. My dad played, he’s from Israel, so he played his whole life there and they have, you know, their club system.

So he worked his way up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, which is one of the best European clubs. So it was kind of just ingrained in my childhood. My mom worked for the Clippers for a couple of years. we were just kind of a basketball family. So I really just picked it up from my [00:01:00] first memories are with a basketball in my hands.

And it’s just taken off from the, really..

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:04] What was it about the game other than obviously your dad’s direct connection to it? Once you started picking it up and playing yourself, what was it about the game that you really liked?

Ari Stern: [00:01:14] I think for me, I started just really dribbling the ball. I was kind of one of those kids, like third grade I’m in my driveway.

Doing two ball dribbling. I’m looking up every video I’ve, you know, I was obsessed with Pistol Pete Maravich, read his book, watched the old videos. so you know, that really just having the ball in my hands and kind of just the trickery that you could do. And I would, you know, I was spitting the ball on my finger to my, to my fingernails bled.

that was just kind of the kid I was for me also really one of the biggest things was growing up in Phoenix. I, it was, I just was lucky enough. Nash came back to Phoenix. And I mean, he was, you know, the total dream for me. I look at him he’s he was in a, you know, a six one, [00:02:00] you know, white point guard on, you know, not extremely athletic, but.

Obviously just an incredible career. And I got to watch him on TV, but I got to go and watch him live sometimes. And he was, I mean, he was a dream I had, I had long hair, I did his free throw routine. I tried to mimic his shot. I watched every, I mean, I was completely obsessed. I look out I’m home now. Yeah.

And I’m looking around my room and I have every old picture. I have, you know, I’m wearing a Nash Jersey. I have. Just everything. Steve Nash.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:34] There’s a lot worse guys you could probably try to emulate I would say that.

Ari Stern: [00:02:40] And he, and I see it more now, I guess I didn’t pay attention to it as much back then, but he is like the ultimate humanitarian, great human. I don’t know him personally, obviously, but everything I see, he’s just a great person and that’s kind of just tops it all off because unbelievable player, unbelievably [00:03:00] efficient score.

One of the better visions in the league.

He’s incredible to be physically limited. Now people don’t think he’s like he was strong. He had a strong core. He was, he had changed his pace. He could change his speeds. So it wasn’t like he was of an athlete, but he wasn’t,

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:23] He wasn’t the traditional athlete of what we think of as a runner jumper, dunker, that type of athlete. Rather, he was a guy who relied on. Great balance. And as you said, change of pace and strength and things. I hand coordination, vision, things that are all this sounds like you.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get quite to the level that Steve Nash was able to get to or anything. I did not rely on dunking that’s for sure that I was not. If I had relied on dunking, my career would have ended before it got started. Let’s put it that way. So [00:04:00] we definitely don’t want to talk about, we’re not going to spend much of the podcast talking about my athleticism because it’ll be a very, very short podcast.

We won’t bore Ari with all those, with all those details. Yeah, that’s nice to be able to grow up in Phoenix and be able to watch Steve Nash day in and day out. See most of his games that are on local regional television and be able to get a chance to go and watch him play. And obviously that team, you think back to the seven seconds or less Phoenix suns, and I know that I’ve listened to interviews with Nash and Mike, Dan, Tony, and some of the guys that played in that era.

And you hear them say all the time that they wish they had played. Even faster and they wish they had taken more threes. And at the time what they were doing seemed revolutionary. And yet, if you look at today’s game, they were actually, they would have been near the bottom of the league in terms of pace and number of threes.

That they shot. And yet for their time they were considered to be revolutionary. It’s kind of amazing when you look at how the games evolve over the last few years.

Ari Stern: [00:04:58] Yeah. And they just, I mean, they completely set [00:05:00] the standard for that. D’antoni and the Rockets. You compare the sons back then. I mean, they’re out there at the bottom of the league and it’s hard to believe because that was, I mean, it was so just, I mean, everything was so between, you know, in the paint and mid range was just totally accepted and promoted and now it’s like, We’re taking X amount of threes, a game we’re shooting within the first, you know, seven seconds or whatever it is, the shot clock.

And that’s just the norm. I mean, mostly in, in the NBA, not necessarily in college, but even then the trend. I mean, it trickles down the trend. I’ve noticed more and more that. You know, analytics becomes involved even at the high school levels.

Mike Klinzing: [00:05:48] Did you ever feel that transition or see that transition as a player, either in high school or in college where you started to see those effects of where the NBA game has [00:06:00] gone? Did you start to see those things trickle in or not really? Very much.

Ari Stern: [00:06:04] My situation was kind of unique where I played for a high school that was almost designed around Virginia. So like long possessions and strictly, I mean, we’re just gap defense and just completely defensive oriented. so we. We didn’t see that at all in high school, just more of like an old school philosophy.

He’s not at all analytic oriented and I don’t think he watches the NBA much. We never, you know, surprisingly we never have any goals for the amount of threes we were taking or the pace that we were playing. A major priority, but not to say 800 plus I can’t say it didn’t work.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:57] Yeah. When you finish second, all time and [00:07:00] division three wins, I’d say that you probably could look back on your career and say that.

You probably did some things right over the course of that time, I would say for sure.

Ari Stern: [00:07:08] Yeah. Yeah. He had something going around. I don’t know, 800 games. That’s a lot to even imagine.

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:14] That’s a lot. Well, I’ll tell you what he was his first year that he got the job, was I believe my senior year of high school.

And so he was, and I talked to him about this when we did our podcast together, but he was probably the division three coach that for me, and I really can’t put my finger on why, but he was the most memorable of the division three coaches that recruited me. I just have a stronger memory of him being. At a bunch of my games.

I have a strong memory of coming out after the, you know, out of the locker room, after games and having conversations with him and, and really liking him as a coach. And obviously I had those experiences with him at the very [00:08:00] beginning of his career at the college of Wooster. And then you got to experience him and his coaching and the type of person that he was.

At the, towards the tail end of his career. And it’s amazing that I’m 50. How old are you right now? Ari?

Ari Stern: [00:08:14] I just turned 24.

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:16] Alright, so we’ve got a 26 year age difference, and yet we both had interactions with the same head coach. That’s still working for the same college. It’s kind of an amazing, that’s an amazing journey and obviously a credit to coach more on all the success that he’s been able to have.

I want to think about your. Athletic career as a kid. Did you play any other sports when you were younger or did you just focus on basketball? Right. From the beginning,

Ari Stern: [00:08:42] I played baseball probably up until fourth grade and then it just became full time. Basketball became club basketball became summer camps.

It became before school practice. I mean, it was just, it was all basketball, you know, on TV. It was basketball. When I was reading, it was vast. I mean, there was [00:09:00] nothing else for me. I was completely obsessed. this is a junkie still. I am still am today.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:05] At what point did you start to think about wanting to play basketball beyond high school and maybe get the opportunity to play in college?

When did that start to come on your radar? Was it on there early? And you didn’t know whether or not it was realistic? Was it something that you weren’t really thinking about? Cause you were just loving the game. Talk to me a little bit about when you started thinking about playing beyond high school?

Ari Stern: [00:09:26] I don’t think really until my it’s probably my sophomore year.

I didn’t really understand at that time the concept of scholarships and even, you know, just the different levels, division three, obviously, didn’t really, I, you know, I saw whatever I saw on TV and in Arizona, I think it’s unique because at that time we only had four division ones. GCU Grand Canyon had just transitioned in division one.

We had ASU. Arizona and then Northern Arizona. And then there’s, you know, there’s some junior colleges, no division threes, you know, a few [00:10:00] of the, now there’s a couple more, but at that time I didn’t really have exposure to it. So I didn’t really consider it. I was just kind of caught up in just playing the game and trying to get better.

I think what kind of changed that for me is going into my junior year. One of my teammates, it was my best friend, Michael Humphrey. He kind of, his stock exploded. He’s a big guy, six, 10, played at Stanford. And I just kind of, I saw his recruiting blowing up and I just, you know, I started to understand the process and he had coaches coming out and that’s one of those things I started getting interested in.

Obviously I was not that caliber player. But I had a lot of belief in myself and thought as I researched it more and realized that my academics could also huh. Yeah, me too. An opportunity to play in college. I kind of just dove straight into it and I really became obsessed with the division three route.

I didn’t, you know, at that time I just, wasn’t a division one player I wasn’t delusional [00:11:00] about. I understood my limitations. I understood where I was in the landscape of basketball. That’s after playing AAU and playing in high school, I knew where I stood. So I just kind of dove into the division threes and did a bunch of research and did my own recruiting.

I mean, I wasn’t, you know, a stand out player at all. So, just kind of had to. I tried to figure it out on my own. Really. All right.

Mike Klinzing: [00:11:24] So two questions there. I want to go first from a playing standpoint. What did you do to once you started to think, Hey, I want to play. College basketball at the division three level. What did you do as a player to try to improve? Did you have a plan? Did you go the video route? Did you have a trainer that you worked with? What was your process for getting better? So that’s the first question. I’ll let you answer that in a second. And then the second part I’ll come back to is you talked about doing some research on division three, so we can talk a little bit about that, but first, just go back and talk about as a player, what you did to try to [00:12:00] get yourself ready to, for the opportunity to play college basketball?

Ari Stern: [00:12:03] I’m going to backtrack a little bit. So I kind of, I feel like I need to include a little bit. So I actually, in my freshman year of high school, I was five to one 10 and. But I was the most, I was the most skilled kid, you know, in my area, at my age and older, and I made the varsity team for a team that was just in two straight state championships.

So really good program. historically just a powerhouse in a sense. And I made varsity in it for me. I mean, it was a big accomplishment. But then I just never grew. I went, you know, I was five to one 10, my sophomore year. I was five, four, probably one 25. And I’m at that point, everyone is becoming a man and I’ll never forget.

I would look at, and this is, I mean, it was, I was weird, but I would look around practice and I would see. All right. Like, which of the guys in the team don’t have armpit hair, just like me. Like, whereas anyone else [00:13:00] like me or am I alone in this late bloomer? So I didn’t grow until my senior year. I shot up.

I was five 11, probably when I grew up, when I graduated high school, five 11, one 55. And I’m in college. I’m six, two, one 95 now. So it was kind of, I mean, I’m sure that had to do with it and it kind of. Change the trajectory of my career, because I was really, I mean, I was extremely skilled and a time that my height didn’t matter in my, you know, my athleticism didn’t really matter.

And then everything, you know, everything caught up to me and I became, you know, I was behind physically and actually it really affected my mentality. I was, you know, I was, yeah know, it’s a long time ago, but when I was coming into high school, I was a score. I was very dynamic, took risks and it actually, it was just tough.

I kind of had to change my game became just more of a role player and I was, you know, for better or worse in a way satisfied. with that mentality of this being more of a glue guy, [00:14:00] I think at times throughout my high school and college career, I could have been more than that, but, No, I guess that’s kind of the approach I took.

So how might going into my senior year? No, sorry. Going into my junior year was when division got on my radar, my head coach, in my high school, Ray Portella, she played at Pomona pitcher. I’m one of the best academic institutions in the country. And he kinda just told me about his experiences and.

Introduced me to his coach who is still coaching there, Coach Kat. He might’ve actually just retired, but I just kind of became really interested. I was just so academic focused, my whole life. And I saw this opportunity where I could play the game and have the balance with academics and social life.

And, you know, I had division one friends and I, and I saw a house for some people. It really wasn’t. the greatest fit division one division two, just because it was [00:15:00] scholarship. It wasn’t always the greatest fan. I wasn’t like one of those kids that was division one or bus, which is kind of, you know, a common, a common theme nowadays.

and I would just, you know, I saw these different schools and how really, I didn’t, I had no idea because there aren’t any in my area, but these revision three schools, most of them are gorgeous campus campuses. A lot of the times there. you know, beautiful facilities, incredible academics and, you know, different opportunities in that way almost.

They’re like, they’re like all hidden gems. And so at that point, you know, I kind of, I realized what my limitations were. I had, I looked, you can do some division twos. I never had a division two scholarship or anything like that, but I was. Actually thrilled with the fact that I could go to a division two school and kind of receive that well-balanced experience.

Mike Klinzing: [00:15:49] All right. So as you start to do some research, you’re in Arizona and you’re looking around and as you said, if there’s not very many division three schools [00:16:00] in Arizona, you know, you’re going to have to go far from home. And I look at that we’re here in Ohio and we have a lot of division threes, obviously, as you know, are out here and we have a lot of division ones, but we have very few.

Division twos or NAI. So when I was growing up, I looked around the basketball landscape and I was completely unfamiliar with division two basketball and NAI basketball because it just wasn’t around. And for you, you obviously have to look outside your home areas. So when you start doing your research and you start looking around for places to go, do you remember when you first came across Wooster and what your initial reaction to it was?

And then just talk about. The process of how you recruited yourself to be able to end up attending the college of Wooster with coach Moore.

Ari Stern: [00:16:45] Right? So before I got there, the line, if you looked at the roster pretty much going to be all Ohio guys, maybe a Michigan guy in there, or one of, you know, Indiana, maybe, but never.

[00:17:00] Never an Arizona guy. And I actually had no idea. I had no idea. I said, what is this place? I ended up finding out that it’s called Worcester college of Wooster. and the reason I found out about it, it was a practice in the winter of my senior year. I get out of practice. my dad calls me and says, Hey, come to Arizona Christian university.

Right now I’m watching this, this division three game. So basically Worcester had come to Phoenix, they do a winter, they do a trip in the winter. Every year. They came to Phoenix and played Arizona. Christian, who was an AIA at the time was, was really good. And they still are. And then I think it was a Vanguard, another one West coast.

What’s theirs playing in this game. They’re up 14 at half. I’m pretty sure against Arizona Christian friends at being like the number two in the country. And I mean, it was just, I was watching this basket. I’m like, there’s no way I, my perception and division three was just skewed because I had never seen it.

So I’m watching this, like, [00:18:00] this is high level basketball. I mean, athletes and big guys, and they’re strong and they’re completely intense. And they’re, you know, they’re beating up on this high level and I was just really impressed and they actually ended up blowing the lead. And they lost the game. I’m pretty sure they lost by two and coach Moore and coach Klein.

they were lizard. I remember, I just remember how upset they were and, and you know, how passionate they were, but I waited for them after the game. And despite the loss, they were really bummed out, but they, they spoke to me after the game and, I just introduced myself. Kind of the relationship grew from there.

They actually fortunately had a day off the next day and they all came and watched my practice. and that’s, that was the first time I had a college coach in, you know, in, in, in the gym for me. I wasn’t had a bunch of college coaches in there for my teammates all the time and yeah. That was the first time for me.

So that was pretty cool.  

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:58] What was that like? What was your, [00:19:00] what was your thought process as you were playing out there during practice and somebody they’re actually watching you, do you feel a little bit nervous? Do you remember what your, what you were going through mentally? When that happened?

Ari Stern: [00:19:10] I actually was.

I don’t think I was too nervous just because I was like really comfortable with my, with my high school. Just kind of, you know, I’ve always been, I always been a good practice player because I would always give maximum effort and go hard. And that was never really a concern. I saw him coming to the gym and I had to turn it on that day just because.

I just that’s my whole life just kind of been a consistent practice player for better or worse, because I’d rather have been a good game player than a practice player. But, so I wasn’t really concerned with that. I remember they came in, leading up to, we were playing a game. I think we were in a one in a kind of Christmas time tournament and we were.

I’m doing, we were going against the zone. And at that point it was hit like in that practice. And I’m sure for them, that was [00:20:00] good. They, you know, they told me they were interested. They liked me. And then kind of from there, I just started researching this school and I had no idea, you know, what it was. And I started reading it.

They advertise it at the top. I’m one of the top undergraduate research institutions. And I thought that was really interesting. I just see an amazing basketball team and I learned that, you know, they have community, you know, a community that’s completely invested in the program and I just kept learning more and more and more about it.

You know, I eventually go out and visit just, I was loud. And then, you know, I ended up going there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:20:42] So from an academic standpoint, As you’re trying to think about what schools you wanted to go to. And clearly you were a good student in high school. What  did you think you wanted to study? What did you end up studying at the college of Wooster?

And just talk a little bit about what your academic goals [00:21:00] were going into your college experience, because I think that’s something that. It’s really important to emphasize for any players who may be out there. Listening is how important it is to have good grades and to take care of your academics, because it just opens up so many more opportunities to be able to play college basketball beyond your high school years.

If you’re limited as a student, your opportunities as a player are going to be limited, but if you’re a great student that clearly opens up many more opportunities. So just talk a little bit about your academic background in high school. And what you wanted to study when you went to college.

Ari Stern: [00:21:38] So I was kind of, I was always just, you know, an overachiever in school.

I don’t really love that word, but I always had something in me that was like how I always approached it. I have an older sister she’s two years older and she’s brilliant. She’s a [00:22:00] genius. So she kind of set the standard, like I have to match what she brings. So I studied, I read a lot growing up. I did well in high school.

I really, so I, my dad is a physical therapist and I watched him my entire life. I was obviously hurt many times or minor injuries and he would treat me and I just was around his practice. And I became very interested in that. So I went into college thinking that I would, you know, eventually go to a physical therapy school.

The weird thing is that, you know, most liberal arts schools like Wooster, there’s no pre physical therapy. My. First approach was to go through biology. and I thought I would end up doing previous school therapy, but I did not love the biology did not love the chemistry, the neuroscience. I mean, it was, it was difficult.

I made it through the first two years of it. I did well. But as I slowly started [00:23:00] to figure out that I wanted to coach and the more I read, I became very interested in psychology and. I kind of just fully invested in myself in psychology also because you can do physical therapy through psychology, as long as I had all the prerequisites, which I made up for the community college classes and just did everything I could.

But my, my, my main focus was psychology. And it’s for me. And I’m extremely happy that I transitioned into that. And so my, my degree was in psychology from Worcester.

Mike Klinzing: [00:23:36] So you mentioned there that at some point during your college career coaching starts to appear on your radar, which would make me think that prior to that it really had been on your radar.

So maybe talk about the moment of realization when you thought, Hey, maybe when I’m all done, I can start to. Get into coaching. Maybe coaching is a profession that I want to end [00:24:00] up in. When did that thought first, enter your mind and just talk a little bit about the why you thought that might be a good fit.

Ari Stern: [00:24:07] So I think it begins with just being. Around really excellent coaches growing up my whole, my middle school coach and my dad coached middle school with one of our friends. And there was immediately a high level, fundamental basketball. My high school coaches were unbelievable. My college coaches, you know, super successful surrounded by these great coaches at the time.

I never really considered coaching. So I was so consumed by playing and trying to get better. And it wasn’t until my sophomore year. So I was starting my sophomore year, probably for the first 12 or so games. So, most of the non-conference games I lost my starting spy ended up not playing much. And it kind of was like this downward trajectory and like most players naturally, it was really upsetting.

you know, I wasn’t getting what I wanted [00:25:00] and like many people, you know, one of your main thoughts, you know, the coach that, you know, so those kinds of thoughts actually led me to say, this is what I would do if I was coaching. and at the time those thoughts were, but I was probably thinking the wrong things.

They probably weren’t, you know, really valid thoughts. It kinda got me thinking right. Oh, this coaching thing, school, one that, you know, you can call the shots you decide who plays and, and you know, who, what type of players are gonna have. Yeah. And what type of office. And I started thinking about it, that was at the end of my sophomore year.

And then, you know, I, I really just kind of dove into it. I started reading, I read a bunch of biographies, autobiography, biographies, watch documentaries. I read about different coaches, journeys, Lute Olson, Coach K, Rick Pitino, all these different people and just to see how they did it. And then I began using this Wooster network that I started to build.

So I went to [00:26:00] coach more. One day. I told them I wanted to coach. And of course he had given me advice, but he helped connect me to other coaches, that were Wooster graduate. So this small school of 2000 people in a town of 29,000 people has these high level coaches. And I had no idea that Ryan P and Lamont Paris had Coached at Chattanooga.

Who am I missing here? I mean, these are high level coaches all from the small college and there, you know, they’re right there for me. They have good relationships with Coach Moore. So he, you know, he helped connecting you with them. And I just first started by reaching out to them.

I had learned that, you know, everyone says like, don’t immediately come on. Hey, can you get me a job? And even, you know, I need advice, advice, you know, it’s kind of like, you have to. Build these relationships. I just wanted to introduce myself to them. And, you know, even at this point, I don’t, I can’t say I really know these people, but they have been [00:27:00] receptive and really open to talking to me and giving me advice.

And so that’s kind of how I got into it initially. And then it just, after that, it just exploded. I was all in on coaching. I didn’t think for a second again, to go to PT school. it was just, that was everything for me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:27:19] What is it about coaching that you find to be so attractive? So in other words, when you decided, Hey, I’m going to leave physical therapy school behind, and I’m going to throw myself all into coaching and I’ve been building my network, I’ve been reading these books, I’ve been doing all these things.

This is a direction that I want to go. What was it about coaching that was so attractive to you? Was there the psychological part of it was that the X’s know the basketball part of it. Was there something else? What. Stood out for you. That said coaching is where I want to be for me.

Ari Stern: [00:27:49] I mean, just having been around the game, my entire life and basketball.

I mean, it’s just been my, since [00:28:00] I’ve been in saturated for my entire life. So it was kinda natural. Like I didn’t, I knew I wasn’t going to be in the NBA and I wasn’t gonna play professionally. So I thought it was a natural transition, but I started working guys out. A little bit in the off season. And I started, I saw like over a few week period, I would see the guys I was working with get better.

And that feeling to me was like the best feeling I’ve ever felt. And I knew that I knew that’s what I had to do. And even as a player kind of It’s always kind of in my, my mentality, my focus of just like getting other guys better or helping other guys getting, you know, swinging it to get another guy’s shot.

I always, for me making the extra pass, like that was just as rewarding as a basket. I wasn’t like, I always was just pass first. I want to see these other guys do well. So that aspect of it, just seeing people get better and watching people have [00:29:00] success being a part of their journey. That to me, I say that I’m not even close to where I want to be.

And I’ve experienced those things to very, very small degree, but that’s like what I chase every day. being able to impact people. And now I’ve seen even more. I mean, to me like the relationship aspect of the game and, you know, college basketball specifically is what I really like and what has kind of, you know, journey for me.

As a, as a player, I decide value my teammates. I valued my coaches. I valued the community, the fans, it was, it was everything I had to look forward to. And it’s the same thing as a coach. I love the people that I work with. I love working with the players and just having an impact on a school and a community.

And. I think that’s just, that’s been the biggest thing. Like you see a kid, you know, I’ve only been in college basketball for one year and I’m, like I said, I’m not even remotely where I want to be, but you can see how these coaches impact the kids’ life and they can change [00:30:00] their entire trajectory. and even like now, like, especially today and with everything going on, you can just see that the impact of coaches.

you know, that you can have on young man and that you can have on society, what it’s about.

Mike Klinzing: [00:30:15] I think that’s awesome that you’ve come to that realization. So early in your coaching career, I’ve said it on the podcast a few times. And that is for me personally, when I was a young coach, I don’t know that. I understood the importance of those relationships.

Not that I didn’t build relationships, but I don’t think that I focused on that or thought about that as being one of the driving forces of my job. I’m much more thought of it being an extension of my knowledge that I had gained as a player. And could I pass that knowledge on to the players on my team that I was coaching and could I help them become.

Better basketball players and not necessarily worried at all [00:31:00] about, could I help them become better people or could I use basketball to build a relationship with a kid which could then impact their life? Off the floor. I don’t think I realized that at all, for many, many years early in my coaching career.

And the fact that you’ve been able to recognize that so early, I think is going to give you a tremendous amount of satisfaction as you continue to move forward, because that’s something that we all know you can’t win every game. And there’s going to be times where you’re going to have tough seasons.

You’re going to have losing seasons. And if that’s all you have. It makes it really, really tough, but when you can also latch onto the fact that sure our team may be losing, but I can still be having a winning impact on the players, on my team, through the relationship that I’m building with them and through the things that I’m able to teach them using the game of basketball, and maybe this particular season, it doesn’t translate into a winning record, but.

Ultimately by, as you said, impacting [00:32:00] the players that you have in front of you, to me, that makes a huge, huge difference in the fact that you’ve been able to recognize that early in your career speaks well for where you’re going to end up. So let’s talk a little bit about your. Steps in the process here, when you get done and you graduate from Wooster and you’re done with your playing career, talk about your job search.

When you get done, the process that you went through, who were some of the contacts and people that you talked to that were able to help you so that if we have somebody who’s out there listening young coaches who maybe are in your same position position, they’re just getting done with school, or maybe they’re early in their career.

They’re looking to. Changed jobs or they’re looking to move up a level, just talk a little bit about what your job search was like.

Ari Stern: [00:32:48] So I’ll take it back one year before that. So going into my senior year of college, I worked at the hoop group and. I had no idea what the hoop group [00:33:00] was. I was Arizona guy.

Yeah. It never really crossed my mind. And I learned that it’s this organization runs camps and exposure, events and tournaments. and they bring in hundreds of college coaches every summer to do that. And I learned that there’s different positions that you can be a part of there. And it’s kind of like that.

you know, a networking opportunity and opportunity to work different dynamics of basketball. And I did that God, going into my senior year, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. To this day, I talked to people. I met who group, every single day we have a group chat talk. I mean, these are some of my best friends.

Now, the people that I worked with and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a not, you know, it’s not easy work. It’s like it’s long days. And I had to, you know, everyone uses the word grind and I don’t loves using it all the time. That’s probably what it was. I mean, it was crazy hours, crazy [00:34:00] work, basically, no compensation for what you’re doing Mo monetarily, but as far as relationships and beginning to get a glimpse of college basketball and how to work hard, I mean, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

so that was really the thing that started it for me. And now I have friends from the hoop group. All over the country, coaching at all different levels, who I have genuine relationships with them. And that’s what I take from that the most. So any anyone, That’s trying to get into the industry. and again, I say that like I’m in and I’m not to me.

I don’t even feel like I’m in it yet because I’m not, you know, they’re not at all where I want to be yet in my career, but that’s where I’m at at this point. That’s what I would give to someone. Who wants to kind of take it a similar route and get into coaching? The hoop group was amazing, great organization and a ton of college [00:35:00] coaches and opportunities to network and learn from different people.

So that to begin, that was the biggest step for me towards getting in a little bit.

Mike Klinzing: [00:35:11] How did you get connected with them? Did you reach out to them? Did somebody recommend you reach out to them? Did they. Talk to coach more. How did that connection come to give you the opportunity to go out and work there?

Ari Stern: [00:35:23] I think I saw something on, maybe it was on hooped or I don’t think they just reached out to me. So one of the elite director directors, Cooper Handleman, he coaches at Brown now he played at Kenyon, so I played against him. so maybe it was him that reached out to me. but you know, I was an internship and I thought internship, like, that’s awesome.

That’s such a buzzword, you know, I’m an intern, I’m going to be great. And it just, I mean, it was, it was hard work and it wasn’t exactly what I thought. I mean, we were calling. Kids and calling families all [00:36:00] day trying to recruit them to camp. I mean, we were cold calling and that’s not exactly what I thought we were doing.

And I’ll tell you that a lot of times I was miserable and I thought like, why am I doing this? But I look back on it now. And I mean, it was the best decision I could have ever made. I learned, you know, takes. Discipline and just having to kind of be persistent. I mean, I wasn’t the best at it. And there were times where I was, you know, just not extremely positive about doing that every day, but it taught me a lot and I met incredible.

again, it was like one of those things I wasn’t, I don’t know how much of a. Like sought after internship. It is. I mean, people it’s, it’s definitely worth doing and I would recommend it to anyone, but, it’s not, I don’t think it’s super competitive or anything, but I saw it as a good opportunity. Again, it was in Redding, Pennsylvania, and I’m, you know, used to summers in Phoenix and the West coast and, you know, warm weather, but beautiful [00:37:00] weather.

And then I’m taking myself at this place summer and it was just kind of like.

Mike Klinzing: [00:37:11] Yeah, to be able to put yourself in a position where one, you get an opportunity to network with lots of different people and build those relationships. And I think that’s something that is so important. And when I look back on my young coaching career, that’s one of the regrets that I have is I kind of was.

Somewhat insular in what I did. I didn’t really go to coaching clinics. I didn’t go and work camps that I was out of school. I started my own camps here in Cleveland and was working and doing some camps for elementary school kids, but I could have been much better served. To start and do my own camps, but also to go and work at some other camps, not only to network, but also just to learn how to do things better and different and add to what I was already doing in the fact that you were able to see [00:38:00] that and be able to network, I think is something that.

Probably has served you well to this point, but it’s going to continue to serve you. Well, the better relationships that you can build when you’re young, we all know that in the coaching profession, many times, when you start talking about who gets what job a lot of times it comes down to who knows who and who let somebody know that this job is open or it’s going to be open, or somebody is moving to take another job.

And that allows you to move into that job. And those relationships are really important. And the second thing that I pull out of your story is a theme. That’s run through our podcasts with conversations, with a lot of coaches. And that is that even though you may have been doing something that you didn’t love making those cold calls.

I’m pretty sure that when you were sitting there on the phone, that you were doing the best job that you possibly could in the moment. And I think that’s a lesson that we’ve tried to get across to coaches, players, whoever it may be, that you’ve got to do the best job that you possibly can and whatever situation you’re in.

[00:39:00] And if you do, chances are somebody is going to notice that. And maybe the next time, there’s a little bit better opportunity they think about you because they remember that you worked hard. When they saw you in this other opportunity and that’s how things happen. And I think that when I hear what you’re talking about, and I hear you working at the hoop group, and I hear you doing things that mean, I’m not sure that that was the most fun thing.

And, but I still try my best to me. There’s a huge lesson there. Especially for young coaches is to make sure that whatever job you’re in, even though it might not be the one that it’s not your dream job, maybe you’re not the head coach at Duke right now, but you still got to put in the work. You still gotta put in the effort.

You still gotta be the best that you possibly can. In whatever position you’re in. If you do that, that’s going to allow you to have success. I think that’s the lesson that I take away from what you just shared. I don’t know if that’s a similar lesson that you learned through the course of that experience.

Ari Stern: [00:39:56] Absolutely. Beyond that, [00:40:00] for me, it’s just the relationship that my class and people that I worked with. Many, you know, different roles in college basketball, high school basketball, professional basketball, and, and they’re just in different places. And, that’s what I take for a more, just a really good base of friends.

And then I think about, you know, 20 years or in 10 years or whatever it is. So then these guys will be getting jobs and hopefully people that, you know, would recommend me or that I could recommend, or that we could work together. I mean, you just never know. with that type of thing, I think, Probably the one thing that stood out for me at the time we were making these cold calls and certain point I was pretty burnt out and miserable and didn’t really understand what the, what the purpose of it all was. But one of my bosses would say, I don’t know where this quote comes from, but he would say if you’re too big for the small jobs, you’re probably too small for the big jobs.

And I kind of just took that. [00:41:00] Kind of adopted, tried to adopt that mindset. Like no one wants to do, you know, the dirty work, but everyone has to start somewhere, especially if you’re a former mediocre division, three player. 61 division. Like you have to start somewhere. And when I say, when I say that I’m not at all where I want to be yet, it’s not like I’m yeah.

Where I am currently is exactly. I think it’s a great situation and I’m very happy with where I’m at, but I mean, and just the landscape of things like, I haven’t made it, like, I, I can’t say that the advice I give is the best advice because I haven’t won the games. I haven’t coached, I haven’t recruited, but.

Those are all things that I wish to do.

Mike Klinzing: [00:41:43] I completely understand. I think what comes across when you’re talking about these things is the fact that you have some ambition moving forward, because you love the coaching profession and you want to continue to advance, which is completely understandable.

And yet at the same time, [00:42:00] everything that you shared indicates that. You’re doing the best job that you possibly can in the job that you have now. And I can tell you from the experiences that I’ve had personally, and from the experiences that coaches have shared on the podcast over the course of the past two years, that we’ve been doing this, that’s exactly the right path for any young coach to take is to build your network, take different jobs that give you different experiences, do the best job you possibly can at those particular jobs.

And then. Through your network through that hard work, people are going to notice the jobs that you’re doing and that’s, what’s going to open the next door. I think a lot of times what we get in trouble is not focusing on what we’re doing and what’s right in front of us. But instead having one eye out the door, looking for, well, what’s going to happen next and why, why am I not getting this next opportunity?

Instead of saying, I gotta make the most of the opportunity that’s in front of me. And I think that’s the lesson that. I’d want to take away [00:43:00] from your story and from what you’ve been able to, what you’ve been able to do. Did you ever get anybody to sign up on a cold call or get anybody signed up for camp?

Ari Stern: [00:43:11] A lot of the time we did, I remember a particular day where we had some competition and get, you know, can you get. Or how many people you get signed up and there was a running total on that day. I just, I couldn’t get anyone. And I remember feeling like that even to this day, it haunts me like I really, but yeah, I mean, there were times you have to talk someone out of, you know, there’s someone screaming on the phone and you have to calm down.

So even learning like those interpersonal skills of like how to deal with people and, You know how to essentially sell them something, but it was nice cause we’re selling a good product. So it wasn’t like I had to, you know, lie about something. I didn’t believe in. Like I knew that they brought a lot of college coaches.

I knew they give kids opportunities. so it was something that was, you know, not extremely difficult to sell, but we were, I mean, we [00:44:00] were calling on 4th of July. We were calling at 8:00 AM. We’re calling the APM. So, Yeah, definitely. I mean, it was, like I said, I think the best thing that I could have done at that point.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:12] Where did that list of names and numbers come from?

Ari Stern: [00:44:14] So it would be, I mean, they have their own database, but, you know, it’s all a U T I’m. Sure. I’m sure they get it from somehow compile it from, a few tournaments and high school tournaments, but they have a, a running database. All these players. It’s basically everyone in the country. I mean, they have a lot of contact information and emails and phone numbers, and you’re sometimes, sometimes you’ll call people and you’ll say, Hey, this is Mark.

Mark would be interested in campus year. Sorry, marks 26. Now he’s, you know, he’s not going to go in there. Sometimes there.

Yeah, there were some funny calls.

[00:45:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:44:59] That’s funny. All right, so let’s jump ahead from there. And now you’re in the job market and you’re looking for obviously a more permanent position. So talk a little bit about what that search was like, based off the experience that you got at hoop group, the network that you started, the build, how does the opportunity that you ended up taking with the Dallas Mavericks?

How does that come to pass? Just give us a little breakdown of the job

Ari Stern: [00:45:25] hunt. So. I’d been kind of in communication with a bunch of different people, junior year, senior year, but it was mostly just getting advice. And I was, I mean, I was loving it. I mean, people, I was shocked at how willing people were to talk to someone they didn’t know.

and I just felt like I just tried to latch on to different people and absorb everything they gave me. So, that was really big for me in kind of understanding, understanding the process and how it worked. And I, I knew how competitive it was and I wasn’t delusional about anything. I understood, you know, what I would have to do.

And [00:46:00] so the first job I applied to was in April of my senior year 2018 and I applied, it was a division three GA job. And I went and interviewed, you know, I thought it went well, I wasn’t super thrilled with the position or anything, but I, it was a good school, a good program, really good conference. And I figured I could take this and I actually didn’t get the job.

And that was a pretty big bummer for me because I thought, Oh, if I can’t get a division three GA, then you know, I might not get, you know, where I want to be. So I was, I guess, not for a long time, I didn’t let it discourage me, but I wasn’t. I was a little bit bummed about that. But then I saw this opening, my high school coach sent me a link teamwork online, one of those websites, Mavericks player development, internship, and [00:47:00] I didn’t really.

I didn’t think I had a connection to the Mavericks. I loved the MBA. Then I’d watched, you know, I watched a ton of son’s basketball. So I watched it, you know, a lot of Mavericks, basketball, different playoff battles, all of that. So I was always interested in, I saw the opportunity I have to apply, so the first thing I did was I went through my network of people.

I had a contact with. I made a contact list of different people, where they were at, who they were associated with. And the person that I actually had, I ended up figuring out that I had a connection to Dallas Mavericks because coach Dave Grube was. Always coming to Wooster, to our practices. You add them on last week.

I listened to, and he’s just, he’s an amazing guy. And he’s been a really, really great mentor to me. And he’s kind of helped me along this way and I’m just absorbed everything he said, because he’s done it at different levels. He worked his way up. He was a middle school coach and [00:48:00] he, you know, elementary school coach worked his way up, division three division one.

So he’s done it. And he connected me with Larry Shyatt who was previously at Wyoming. He was the head coach, you know, defensive oriented, tough minded coach. He had a lot of success there. He produced NBA players there. He was on Florida staff with Billy Donovan. He has championships. He was at Clemson, like super successful and well-respected coach.

and he was an assistant coach of the Dallas Mavericks at the time. And he just so happened to be a Worcester alum. so coach group connected us with know coach shy and I, and he was, again, I, you know, he doesn’t know me. This is a guy he’s in the NBA. Why does he have to talk to some kid?

And right away he was super authentic. He was very straightforward. He told me. How competitive of an internship. It was, he said a couple thousand people are [00:49:00] going to apply. You’re going to be going up against former college players, former pro players, people with, you know, their parents in, in coaching that are welcomed more well-connected than you.

But because you reached out to me and because I trust coach group, and because it’s early enough and you’re the first one that’s reached out to me, all vouch for you. And because you’re a Worcester guy, I’ll vouch for you. so, you know, he didn’t even really know me before that and he took the chance on me and there is.

So at that time there were, so there was three pro kind of three interviews. There was, There were two calls and I kind of made it through both of those. They were pretty straightforward. And then we had an in person interview, that was in may, I think they brought in, I mean, so they had a couple thousand applicants.

They brought in probably 50, or I think probably 50 guys. It sounded like. And you know, I was lucky enough to, you know, just, I guess I made a decent impression, the interview. I really think coach [00:50:00] Larry shy. I mean, he was the sole reason I got that job. I’m not sure they could have just skipped through my application if he didn’t say something and if he didn’t vouch for me.

So that’s, again, something I learned about, you know, they say like, it’s about who, you know? and I was fortunate enough to be connected to him. And it’s funny, I look at it now. Like the only reason I worked for the Mavericks and perhaps only reason I’m at Duquesne today was because I went to some small college in the middle of nowhere in Ohio coming from Phoenix, Arizona.

Like the story doesn’t even really make sense to me, but, it worked out and I’m just grateful for that

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:39] So when you go in and you interview with the Mavericks, Who are the people? What are their titles that are interviewing for those positions? Is it somebody from the coaching staff?

Is it front office? Is it who’s actually sitting down and doing that interview process with you?

Ari Stern: [00:50:55] So kind of the main two people that spearheaded that program were the [00:51:00] one who started it was Mike Procopio. He was the head of player development. He’s got a history in basketball championship run. He worked with, he worked with me working with Jordan before that and his trainer, he had a great resume and he was very well respected and he started this program, basically bringing in interns to, to rebound, to pass, to do scout team, to hop in on defense, hop in and drills.

Anything basketball related practices. Pregame post game workouts, training camp, you were there essentially to be a manager. I mean, you’re rebounding, you’re wiping the floor when some, when a sweat drops, I mean, it wasn’t like some glorious position, but I was extremely grateful to have it. And then the other, so that it was Mike Procopio.

And then the other guy was a, [00:52:00] he was a front office guy, Terry Solvan and, they kind of spearheaded in there. I mean, two really good people and good bosses.

Mike Klinzing: [00:52:10] Yeah. We’ve had Mike on the podcast. He’s awesome. I mean, the things that he’s doing now with his hoop consultants and the film breakdown, or what are you sharing?

I just found him to be an extremely bright guy and somebody who, again, through the power of his hard work and just. Continuing to work and do the things that are necessary to gain the players respect and the, the, just the tremendous work ethic that he had paid off. And as you said, the guys that he’s been able to work within his career are just tremendous.

And for you to be able to get that opportunity and again, coach shy, but he was actually when. Back a long time ago. he was an assistant coach at Cleveland state. My dad was a teacher at a professor down at Cleveland state. So I used to go to games and I’m sure that I met coach shy at at [00:53:00] some point. I don’t remember any particular interaction with them.

I more remember my dad talking about him when he was, when he was an assistant at Cleveland state. And it’s just amazing how small. The basketball world is. And you have coach group who was assistant all four years. I was at Kent. And then here’s a guy who just is retired lives in Wooster, comes to practices, gets connected to you.

All of a sudden, he’s connecting you with somebody else. And then before you know it, you’ve got a job as a result of those connections. It’s kind of an amazing process. So talk a little bit about maybe just one or two of the highlights. Of your time with the Mavericks. What did you enjoy about the job?

What was difficult about it? Just kind of give us a feel for what exactly you were doing. I know you kind of compared it to maybe a managerial position, like a college manager, but just maybe give us some insight as to just day to day kind of what were some of the things that you did beyond what you already described?

Ari Stern: [00:53:59] So, [00:54:00] well, the first thing I’ll say is about Pro, Mike Procopio. That’s what we call him Pro, was that he was the best possible boss that I could have had my first year out of school and, trying to get, you know, into coaching. He like more NBA, it was, it was beyond the player development aspect because that was a really big part of it.

And we had film breakdown sessions and we’re, we’re partaking in the workouts every single day. So we’re seeing it, you know, what he’s doing and he would talk to us and educate us. And that, that was, I mean, I, I took a ton from that, but. His biggest thing was about professionalism. And that was really huge because I hadn’t been in that role before.

And I didn’t know, you know, he was all about just, you know, not promoting no self promotion, which is funny because now I’m on a podcast talking about myself, but it was all about coming to work and on time. Being there early, simply doing your job. Don’t try, you know, don’t try to do anything extra. [00:55:00] Don’t try to stand out by standing out you’re you’re hurting yourself.

you talked about, you know, certain aspects, like don’t, don’t have your phone and don’t be on social media. Don’t be taking pictures. Because we were like an accessory. We were lucky to do this. We’re the only team in the NBA that had this program. So anything that we could do to jeopardize that we avoided it.

And that was really the best thing for me, because that’s how I kind of approach. I mean, it was almost like a militant way. But He was looking out for us. I mean, he was, he was teaching us how to work hard and how to just put our heads down and, and be, in a role that was the biggest thing. Like we were in a support role.

We’re not calling shots. We’re not in the huddles. We’re not on the private planes and we’re not in the locker room. Like we are there to support their roles and make everything more efficient. So. I guess basically what we would do. So like if they had [00:56:00] a noon practice or be guys, I would come in and shoot before, let’s say they came in as early as nine.

So we would be in there at seven or seven 30. So we would get there, a long time before then just to make sure that. If someone wanted to shoe someone to get a workout and we were ready to go. So there were 10 of us and, we would just rotate and just be there to help. I mean, essentially the job was rebounding for them passing to them, hopping in drills, whether it’s offensively or defensively, giving them a look and then practice.

again, eating, you know, we’re running the clock, we’re standing in formation. Precisely arranged around the court. If there’s a drop of sweat, you are sprinting out there, wiping it as fast as you can, because if someone slips on that court, it’s your fault. So it’s an old things. Like those were little jobs.

You just had to take them seriously because no matter how small they were, and no matter like we weren’t getting rewarded and we shouldn’t, [00:57:00] because we were just fortunate enough that we were privileged enough to be in that position. But, we just understood, like that’s what we had to do to help the organization.

I feel really, really lucky to have been able to experience that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:57:13] So what were some things that you took away from a coaching standpoint in terms of. Things you’ve learned from Mike about player development that you can continue to take and move forward with in your career. So now you get to do, or you get to whatever, you know, stops you’re going to have in your future career.

What are some things that you learned from him that you can apply when you work with players moving forward?

Ari Stern: [00:57:39] So his thing  is dominate simple. and I think like that’s one of the things that I’ve completely tried to embody. So by that he, like, he basically just taught us that it’s not, you know, the game isn’t super complicated when it comes down to it.

In player development and in [00:58:00] trying to help people improve upon their skills, you know, it doesn’t take rocket science, everything needs to be game. So I just started watching him and learning from him and seeing that, you know, it’s, it’s. It’s really not as complex as some people make it. And when you’re in this, in this era of social media and self promotion, and everyone has to be unique and everyone has to stand out, like there’s there’s times where I look and think like, you know, are they really getting better?

Is it just time spent in the gym or are they improving? and so I really just learned in that sense that. Just keep it simple, keep it game like, so everything that I’ve tried to do after that, after that point has been game oriented, what are they going to see in the game? Why would we ever take a shot or work on a move that they’re not going to see in the game at the same time, you do want to allow a player to grow and you don’t want to put limitations on somewhere and there’s time and place to explore and to experiment and to try to take jumps in your game.

But for [00:59:00] the most part. I mean, it’s pretty simple. Another thing that pro really taught us was there’s, you know, 70% of the league, if not more, I don’t know the exact number he uses, but they’re role players. Not everyone is Kyrie Irving. Not everyone. Is Kevin Durant. Not everyone has to be a. Or should be at all 12 dribble isolation, top of the key step back, like James Harden, like not, everyone’s built for that.

There’s only so many stars and superstars. So you have to work on skills that can translate to these different roles. So we’re looking at a wing the player and, you know, if you’re, if you’re a role player, It was playing the wing position. We’re looking at transition baskets and we’re looking at shot fake wonderful drives and being able to hit spot ups and shot fake sidestep.

And beyond that, I mean, obviously being a very capable defender at that level, you have to be, but like it’s, it’s pretty simple. So. He taught us, you know, [01:00:00] focusing on one to two to three skills, and just mastering them. And I think that’s just like he brought back the simplicity of the game, the purity of the game for me.

So pro that’s watching his player development. That was just one experience. And then they also have, I mean, they have incredible coaches on the whole staff. God, Shammgod is another one of the player development coaches. I watched him every day. His, his coaching and teaching philosophy is completely different from prose who was also different from.

Other guys, there’s the shooting coach over there. I learned a ton from him regarding shooting. And so there are all these different coaches with different styles. and then there’s Rick Carlisle,who’s the head coach. So he’s less, you know, player development, oriented, more team strategy and team execution, and to be able to watch him and implement, you know, while I’m watching him implement an offense.

And, you know, watching that every day was, it was [01:01:00] unbelievable. I was, I felt like I was a fly on the wall and I tried to absorb everything. I tried to write down everything I could and just learn from him. And that’s a championship coach and that’s one of the long, I think he’s probably the second longest tenured coach in the NBA behind, behind Popovich, maybe.

Wow,such an incredible basketball man. He played for the boss. People forget, he played for the Boston Celtics back in the day. I mean, this guy is complete champion, so to learn from him and just see like his was most exosomes and watching that and how he approached all of them, watching how they approach player relationships.

So, They had one of the more like defensive I’m assistant coaches. I mean, he did both, but very defensive minded. It was Jamal Mosley and he was just watching him and how he worked with the players and how he approached relationships. That was, again, one of the things I learned, like you, you can’t treat every guy the same at all, and you have to coach them differently.

most they’re really, really good job of that. [01:02:00] that was just the whole experience is unbelievable. I really felt like I was a fly on the wall and I just tried to soak it all up. I didn’t, you know, It wasn’t about initially you walk in and you see Dirk and you see Luca and you see these guys that you’ve been watching your entire life.

And, you know, I’m a total hoop junkie. I’m seeing, you know, Michael Finley’s part of the organization and chasing kids walking in, and there’s all these basketball legends. And at first you’re like completely wowed by it, but like pro told us, this is your job. Like you’re not here to be a fan boy. You’re here to learn and you’re here.

Mainly to contribute and help the efficiency of the organization. So I tried to, you know, that’s just part of professionalism and, you know, I really respect all of those guys and people in the NBA, but it’s not, you know, it’s not a time to, to idolize them and to be fans of them, it’s just a time to get to work.

Mike Klinzing: [01:02:57] Alright. So I want to ask you [01:03:00] about the practices. So when you’re at a… are you attending most of, and obviously during the season NBA teams, aren’t doing a whole lot of practicing, but when the team’s at home during the season, or when it’s training camp, are you not only there for the player development stuff pre and post practice, but are you physically present there in the actual team practices as well?

Ari Stern: [01:03:21] Yeah. So anything on court at home, we were there. So we didn’t travel. We weren’t in the locker room. We weren’t. We weren’t even in the huddles, which is fine on the court at all times. So in practice, It was really cool. I had the opportunity to be a part of the scout team. So I played the point guard for the scout team.

So, when we’re playing against the Trailblazers, I was, you know, I was either CJ McCollum or Damian Lillard, or if we were playing, the rockets at that time, Chris Paul was on the Rockets. I was Chris Paul, and we were so [01:04:00] not only were we exposed to our own offense in different philosophies that coach Carlisle taught.

We were also exposed to all these different types of offenses. And it’s just so, I mean, MBA offenses to be are just like, I mean, they’re just advanced and they’re playing with pace and it’s a lot of different, you know, there’s just so much more space in the MBA. And also no defensive three seconds and it’s very pick and roll oriented.

So I’m running off, you know, I’m trying to give them the best look possible. I’m going off a pick and roll acting like I’m Chris Paul. And I’m very far from Chris Paul and I’m going against Deandre. Jordan is protecting the rim. And I mean, it was, it was unbelievable, but it helped me see the game too. And it helped me learn the amount of philosophies I learned in there.

You know, the way these guys can have to communicate in the difference, you know, the difference. Defensive coverages pick and roll coverage, this unbelievable being exposed to concepts that I didn’t know.

[01:05:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:05:01] Yeah. I can imagine that having that opportunity to be able to see that type of behind the scenes work with the coaching staff, with the players. And then being able to soak that all in was tremendously valuable. So I have two questions, one related to that, and then something that is not quite as sophisticated of a question.

So the first question is when you were in those practices and you’re mentally going through and thinking about some of the things that you’re learning, what was your process for. Collecting all that information and making sure that you didn’t forget it. Did you create a notebook? Did you create a computer file?

What was your system for collecting all the information that you were gathering as you were going through that experience?

Ari Stern: [01:05:48] Yeah. So I had, I had a notebook on me always. So you could you, between workouts, you could run back to the table where you had your notebook or run back to the little lockers and [01:06:00] jot down the notes.

The nice thing was we had, you know, everything was recorded so I can go back and rewatch workouts. I still do that today. I want already watch Maverick’s practices and workouts. You know, get ideas and see it because to be honest, at first, with the pace of everything and the introduction of new terminology and new concepts, I didn’t really, I couldn’t pick up on certain things and I couldn’t focus on, and I still, you know, it’s a challenge to focus on both or offensive defensive ends.

So, you know, just to be able to rewatch all of that really helped me. I’m still learning from it today. I try to watch. a player development workout session from the Mavericks. And from my experience, I try to watch those almost, almost daily.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:45] All right. So here’s my less sophisticated question. And that question is what was something that was surprising to you about NBA players that maybe you didn’t expect?

Was there something that stood [01:07:00] out to you about them? It could be collectively just as an entire group or maybe something about. A particular player or a group of players that just, you were like, Oh man, I didn’t know that they were like this, or I didn’t realize they were normal when it came to that. Or I didn’t realize they were so abnormal when it came to this.

Just maybe something surprising that you learned about either a group of players or one particular player.

Ari Stern: [01:07:23] I guess there were a few things. I mean, you just, until you are, until you see them up close, you don’t realize how incredibly athletic. A lot of them, most of them are. You know, even physically, how strong you, I, you know, we worked the games and we would see these opposing teams like Damian Lillard.

I didn’t realize how strong he was. Eric Gordon for the rockets. I had no clue. This guy is he’s huge. so this physically like seeing these guys, I mean, they’re, you know, they’re big and they’re strong and there’s a clear difference between. A college athlete and be [01:08:00] a player. so in that sense it was, I mean, I wasn’t, I guess surprised by that.

I mean, it was pretty fascinating, but in addition to that, I would just say the IQ of these guys, and I look at veterans in the NBA and people that have had. Careers. I don’t know how long the average crew MBA is. I think it’s only a few years, but the guys like Devin Harris who are like long time vets, JJ Barea, and what separates guys like that?

I mean, a ton of vets in the league, you look at Jared Dudley and Richard Jefferson late in his career. Like he was 40 years old. So playing Vince Carter, still playing these guys are so smart and they have insane basketball awareness and basketball knowledge that. That is carried them on top of them being really good locker room guys, which I can’t speak on behalf of those guys regarding their leadership.

like not directly on the court, like locker room stuff. I can’t speak to that [01:09:00] because I wasn’t involved with that. But my guess is that they, they provide that as well. so really just seeing like how smart these guys to be in the league, you have to figure it out because there’s a bunch of different coverages for different people.

There’s different reads, different looks and there’s different. Philosophies and terminology. So you, I mean, you just have to be smart. You have to be engaged. You have to be able to be focused. Just really the intensity of that was something that stood out to me. And then I guess in addition to that, is this like seeing up close the killer mindset and that kind of like that mentality and just tough nose people. The person that stands out to me most is Jalen Brunson. so I was there for his rookie season. He came. Off of a national championship and he’s best player in college basketball, but still is doubt. And he’s a second, he’s a second round pick, you know, and not, excuse, not doesn’t have great size.

Maybe people thought he wasn’t a point guard. They know if he was a point [01:10:00] guard or a combo guard or shooting guard, he wasn’t super athletic. But you look back this guy’s been a winner at every single level he’s dominated at every level. And just to watch him every single day, he was completely seamless.

he was going up against, you know, big time players and he was going directly at them. Every single time, never backed down. And he had the beginning of his rookie year was that he was not efficient. Like he got in the gym and he worked and worked and worked and his shot got better. And he was, and you could tell like his feel for the game is I’ve.

I mean, he’s, he’s incredible. You know, huge fan of his, just because it seems like he does it the right way. And that, in addition to that, just like the hard work, I mean, at every level of every kind of like the different place I’ve been, I just keep being exposed to how hard people work harder than that.

I mean, he’s got like hair watching Harrison Barnes, like that guy. I mean [01:11:00] complete gym rat. And he was in there all time and even like Derek and I, again, like, I don’t want to reveal these secrets. Not, they’re not even secrets with things that aren’t for me to reveal because I feel like I was just a flying along.

It was a privilege for me to be there, but a guy like Dirk and his last season, Like he was still working harder than anybody in a sense that if they had a practice at 10, he was there at seven, every single time doing mobility and doing stretching and doing whatever, you know, whatever as part of his, part of his rehab.

So just to see that, I mean, like the work ethic, I mean, it’s unparalleled, there’s a reason these guys are in the league and there’s a reason that they stay in the league and it’s because of that. Yeah, that work ethic being a huge part of that.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:44] Yeah. I think you hit on a lot of things that the average person who is maybe just a fan of the NBA doesn’t necessarily realize, and it starts with the physical gifts that these guys have from [01:12:00] a size standpoint, from a speed quickness, wingspan, all these things.

If you have not had an opportunity to go down and be on the floor. For an NBA game or an NBA practice or stand next to an NBA player. Now, granted, there are some guys who may look like Steve Nash, who aren’t necessarily fiscally imposing, but 95% of the guys in the league, when you stand next to them, you have at least some sense physically of what makes them different from even as you said, The best college players.

I mean, there’s just a difference. There’s just a physical difference in what those guys bring to the table. That’s number one, then number two, the second thing you said was how high a players basketball IQ has to be an order for them to stick in the league. And the guys who were around for a long time are guys who figure it out.

As you talked about earlier with. Mike, Procopio saying that 70% of the league is made [01:13:00] up of roleplayers. You gotta figure that out. You gotta figure out that you’re a role player and get really good at playing that role. And that takes intelligence and that takes basketball IQ. And then I think the last piece you touched on is the work ethic and the work ethic clearly is what separates.

Guys who have the physical tools. Maybe they have the mental makeup, but you don’t get to the highest level and stay there. If you don’t have a work ethic, maybe if you have the physical tools and you have some skill, you can stick around for a year, two years, three years just based off your talent, but eventually.

That catches up to you and you get replaced by somebody who’s going to do things right. And it’s going to work hard. And I think you did a really good job of summarizing for all of us, what that looks like from an MBA level. And I think there’s lessons to be taken, whether you’re a high school player, you can be a college player that everybody can work on improving their basketball IQ.

Everybody can have a great work [01:14:00] ethic. Those are things that are within your control, the physical tools that you have. Just like, I think back to the beginning of your story, when you’re a five, 215 pound freshmen, you know, you can’t control that. You don’t have, there’s not much you can do about that, but you certainly could control how hard you worked on your skills.

And you certainly could control the amount of effort that you put into everything that you were doing. And when you do that, that enables you to maximize whatever physical gifts that you have. And for the most part. NBA players. Yeah. They have a lot of physical gifts, but they also maximize those physical gifts.

Those guys at the highest level, I always come back to I I’m a Jordan Guy. And I always have been, and obviously the last day and cemented that for me even more. But what I always said about Jordan was that here’s a guy who was given a tremendous amount of physical gifts. I mean, there’s a guy who his body was built to play basketball, and yet at the same [01:15:00] time, his work ethic and his insane competitiveness and just the way that he drove himself, allowed him to maximize.

Those gifts and that’s what made him the best. That’s what made him the best player ever. And if you take away one of those components, he doesn’t get to be the greatest ever if he has all the tools, but he doesn’t work in sanely hard. He doesn’t get there if he works in st. Louis hard, but he doesn’t have those physical tools.

He tops out somewhere below being the greatest player of all time. And it’s just, I think the average person doesn’t necessarily recognize that when it comes to, when it comes to NBA players and I thought you did a really good job of laying that out, let’s move from your experience with the Mavs, that internship ends.

What do you do there? What’s the step? What’s the next step in the process for thinking about where you want to go, what you want to do? Just talk about what happened when the internship was over. What opportunities did you look for? What opportunities presented themselves and just tell us a story, how you ended up at Duquesne.

[01:16:00] Ari Stern: [01:15:59] So, I am going to rewind real quick just to touch, just to add to that, because you brought up the Jordan documentary and just kind of, but just watching that documentary to me, there was a big focus on, they talked a lot about Rodman and they talked a lot about Steve Kerr and even Pippin. And just talking about these people who.

Especially like Rodman, is this the perfect example of someone who took on this role and just mastered it? And it was the role that no one wanted. It was the dirtiest role. And I look at guys in the league now, like I look at Dwight pal. who plays for the Mavericks? Who’s made a lot of money in the NBA and he’s not a household name, but he’s one of the best statistically and just visually, he’s one of the best role men in the NBA as far as rolling to the basket.

incredibly good timing. He’s a smart player. and you just fill this role. He plays hard, he plays with an insane motor and he’s made a lot of money doing that. And Dorian, Finney Smith, another name that probably goes over [01:17:00] a lot of people’s heads on drafted. just kind of fought his way, clawed his way into the league, accepted a role of, you know, basically three and D work that really worked on his shot.

you know, good reminder at like six, seven guard, essentially. And God himself paid. and that’s just kind of a trend that I’m seeing that, okay, if you can fill a role, doesn’t have to be the star role. But if you can, if you can master that role and become one of the best at it could be something small, like offensive rebound, truss, and Thompson got paid.

I don’t know, 70 plus million to offensive rebound. He switched his hands in the middle of the career. He decided, yeah, I’m not a lefty. I think I’m a righty. And he’s still getting paid. You know, he probably has hundred plus million dollars collected playing the NBA. I mean, that’s incredible because he got paid for his motor.

So that’s, that’s one thing I wanted just to add as far as, just something I saw in the league. And then I kind of continued to observe.

Mike Klinzing: [01:17:57] Now that makes total sense. I think when you see [01:18:00] guys, especially for you having to get to see them up close and personal every single day, and to be able to witness the IQ piece of it and the work ethic piece of piece of it, which most times for the average fan of the NBA, those things are hidden away. Fans don’t get to see those things yet. We get to see what happens on game night, but we don’t get to see what happens. With those players on the practice floor and the off season, and just the way they put in the time on their body and their mind, and getting to practice and getting extra, extra shots up and doing the things that they know they need to do in order to be able to stay in the league.

The average person just doesn’t see that. So my next question again is what happens when the internship ends? Just describe the next step in your coaching career and kind of how you move forward after the internship ended.

Ari Stern: [01:18:50] So the whole year, I mean, the internship you come in with the understanding that it’s a one year program, like you were there to learn a lot and to meet people and build your [01:19:00] network and then move on.

That’s the understanding. So the whole time you’re, I mean, you’re tracking, you’re trying to connect with other people in the league and you’re trying to use, you know, you’re trying to use that. NBA, although, I mean, it’s an internship and it’s, you know, you’re at the bottom of the ladder, but it’s still, you still have the MBA on your resume.

So you’re trying to leverage that at that time and just reaching out to a bunch of different people. And really during that process, I didn’t know what level I wanted to be. I thought about the MBA. I thought about the G league. I thought about division three. I thought about a division one GA I thought about these different options.

I just kind of, it was really open minded. So I reached out to a bunch of different people in the same way that I did when I was in college. Trying to get advice, trying to get a connection. And really the first major hit, excuse me. The first major hit for me was from Duquesne. One of the, the GA the old GA at Duquesne was a hoop group guy.

So one of my friends from the Hoop Group told me, Hey, so-and-so [01:20:00] his name is Chad. He’s leaving, you know, he’s done with his graduate assistantship, and they’re gonna need someone. So I’ll connect you with him. And that was in April. So pretty early, like in the landscape of, like the job market in basketball, see the college season and just ended.

I only knew I only knew Duquesne because I watched a lot of Arizona basketball university of Arizona and TJ McConnell came from Duquesne. That was pretty much my exposure to you can, I didn’t know much about it. fortunately my, my mom is actually from Pittsburgh, so I hadn’t been to Pittsburgh. it had been a while, but, you know, I knew the city I knew was a decent city at least.

And I’ve found out it’s actually a great city. But I went out, so I, I kind of catch it with, with them and just, you know, it was lucky enough to go out there for an interview. it went very well and after a week or so, he got back to me and told me they offered me the job [01:21:00] and I didn’t accept it right away.

no, actually, excuse me. I did, because leading up to that point. So for like at right after the interview, I thought, you know, I actually did pretty well. I think we connected, it was a great experience. Like this is the job that I want and I was pretty sure about it, but I called my mentors. I called Larry Shyatt.

He said, if you get this job offer, you have to take it. I called Adam Cohen from Stanford. He’s associated coach at Stanford. I’m very familiar with dambrot, they have the same mentor, coach Ben Braun. but he said, same thing. You get this job, you have to take it. And I T I talked to probably five different people that said the same thing.

So when they offered me the job, it was a no brainer. He called me. I was, I was in Dallas at the time. It was probably May 2nd, something like that. Offered me the job. And I took it and I didn’t even, you know, I could have explored other things, you know, people kind of chase like the highest level. And I was looking at some like high major entry-level stuff and MBA stuff, but it just seemed like the right move. [01:22:00]

and I’m extremely glad that I, that I did it.

Mike Klinzing: [01:22:03] So for people who don’t know what exactly your role is as an assistant coach, just describe for us what it means when you’re a graduate assistant, you’re a video coordinator. What is your day to day responsibilities look like? What are you doing? I’m sure it’s a Jack of all trades, but just tell us a little bit about what your day to day look like.

Ari Stern: [01:22:28] I mean, the graduates will differ from, you know, in different places. Like some, some schools have, let’s say five graduate assistants and they’re all a little more specific roles and other schools might have one and it could be someone doing absolutely everything. We have two at Duquesne, so it’s me and another guy.

But, I mean, we’re, we’re doing everything. We have our hand in absolutely everything. So it’s, you know, reading dirt, you know, driving people around and ordering during the gear bundles and all these [01:23:00] different helping with academics. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, you don’t have to do the jobs that no one else wants to do, but the things that have to be done, they have to be done well and they have to be done efficiently.

So, it’s just kind of those types of things. As we got closer to the season, we lost our video coordinator the year before he had last and they didn’t hire another video guy. And no one on staff knew how to do video or really had any background in either. Did I, but I saw that kind of as an opportunity to.

To gain value and to learn really. I mean, if I’m, you’re using a lot of video and analyzing it and breaking it out, I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot. So I kind of just taught myself the software. Use different resources, different people just to learn it quickly. And by the beginning of the season, I was, I mean, I was a graduate assistant, but I was taking on the video coordinator responsibilities, like full time.

So, then my job basically became solely Breaking down, [01:24:00] exchanging film with different teams with our coaches, helping out with different, you know, helping out with scouting reports. Showing, you know, watching film with our guys, you know, doing film sessions before practice, after practice, you know, pregame, things like that.

So it really became film oriented. But on top of that still like the day, I mean, there’s, I’m still eating dirt, like still ordering food for guys and driving people places. And, you know, it’s just the things that have to be done. And really the special thing though about the graduate assistant position is that you’re allowed to be on the court with the guys, probably more than anyone.

Support staff is limited in their access to the court, but because I was a graduate assistant, like I can work guys out all the time and I love the player development aspect of it. So, you know, I’d be on the court with guys were guys out before practice, after practice come back at night. so I really so far have just, well rounded experience coach Dambrot has been just [01:25:00] incredible to work for.

And I’m sure I’ll touch on that a little bit, you know, a little more later, but he’s just given me responsibility and you know, it started off the small things and I had to build trust with them and, you know, earn it. So. At some point, you know, let’s say I was making the coffee and eventually I’m doing well with that.

I’m making copies and I’m doing all that. I’m driving people on becoming reliable, and then I can do something more basketball related. We trust you to work this guy out and then breaking this film session, this film down then leading the film session. So just trying to do really well at everything they give me whether it’s something I like or something I don’t like.

You know, just learning along the way, add value.

Mike Klinzing: [01:25:43] Hey, plus being the only guy who knows how to run the film software, that’ll get you a long way.

Ari Stern: [01:25:48] Yeah. And it just really helped, like I looked at it that way, like it adds value for me and that’s great, but also I’m watching every single team in our conference.

We play in a [01:26:00] high level conference, some incredible coaches. So I’m watching. You know their stuff, what they’re doing on offense and defense learning from that. But then, at the same time, like I’m in there early in the morning with Coach Dambrot, you know, giving him the film that he needs. And, you know, we develop that type of relationship where like, I can, I can actually give my input or he’ll ask me a question.

You know, I’m not just guessing on something because I’ve just watched seven straight games of Saint Bonaventure. I have, you know, I might have a decent, I might have input that he wasn’t considering, or maybe I can confirm an idea, you know, I’m not, I’m so far from, like I said, I’m so far from calling any shots or being like a go to guy or anything like that.

But, it put me in the same room as him and he’s an incredible mind and he has so much knowledge. So I got to learn a ton through him. And that was really solely due to the video.

Mike Klinzing: [01:26:49] Yeah, I could see where again, being the only guy that is well versed in how to use the software, puts you in the room all the time, whatever film is being utilized.

[01:27:00] And we all know that, especially in today’s game, film has become such an important way for coaches to improve themselves. And then. Conversely also to improve their team and their players. And it’s become really critically important for players to be able to watch and see the good things they’re doing.

See the things that they need to improve. And if any time film is involved in a meeting, then you’re involved in the meeting that I’m sure gave you ample opportunity to be able to. Sit down in the room and pick the brains of what is a great staff there. So when you start thinking about coach Dambrot and what he brings to the table, and some of his strengths, what are just one or two things that you’ve learned from him that 30 years from now, when you’re still coaching somewhere that you’re going to look back on your time with him and still think, boy, those are one or two really key things I learned from coach.

Dambrot back in my very first year of college coaching.

Ari Stern: [01:27:55] I mean there’s a bunch of things. There’s a few that stand out one being [01:28:00] just him, having a passion for the game. I mean, you watch him on the sideline. You hear him in a timeout and practice in a huddle like you could, or you just.

If you’re just speaking to him, in just an informal conversation, like, you know, this dude is obsessed with the game, it’s all he thinks about eats, sleeps, drinks, basketball, everything, and he lives his basketball. So that’s something that stands out to me. Like he’s just all in which I’m sure, you know, many, many coaches, many successful coaches are most of them probably, but that really stands out.

And then. Just as far as, I guess I wasn’t prior to, prior to this experience, because I played division three where it’s really hands off, like on the weekends, you don’t, you know, you’re not practicing on Sunday, you know, after practice, you go to the dining hall, you go home. Like there’s not, it’s just, it’s more hands off division one.

You’re just so much more involved in their lives. But to see him and how he like takes on these [01:29:00] guys and tries to develop relationships and molds them. And, you know, it’s something I really haven’t seen where like the first time I ever heard it, you know, he’s in conversation with one of our guys and I hear him say, all right, love you, love you.

Love you back. I mean, that’s special to me. Like I had no idea that, That type of relationship could really exist. So that’s one of those things that also stands out as well. And then on top of that total basketball mind, and I’m sure because you, you played against him. Was he at, was he at Akron when you were at Kent?

Mike Klinzing: [01:29:34 I kind of think that he was not like that we missed that. We missed, we missed the connection that he was out there during the direct time. obviously I, obviously I played against Carl and Charles right when they were at Eastern. So I spent, I spent, I spent three years going against the, the two of them, which was a lot of fun.

And they’re two great guys, which I’m sure you can vouch for.

Ari Stern: [01:29:58] And,

Mike Klinzing: [01:29:59] But, yeah, but I mean, I’ve [01:30:00] been, I’ve circled Coach Dambrot through all the different circles and different places that he’s been over the course of his career. So certainly I’m familiar with everything that he’s done in the game and just what an outstanding coach that he’s been every place he’s gone, he’s had success.

Ari Stern: [01:30:20]  That was just his game, his knowledge of the game. Just watching his office and how many different variations and different actions he’s running and how, you know, my, just my knowledge of defense has improved so much with him because he’s like one of those old school coaches, who is very defensive oriented and that’s, I mean, it’s been a huge for me and in one year, Yeah, that’s it just excites me because if I could learn that much from, from him and from the other guys and my staff and my players and the experiences and stuff, if I can learn that in one year, then, you know, I’m just excited for, I hope to be a lifetime of [01:31:00] experience and basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [01:31:02] Yeah. To be able to be around people who know the game, who are just tremendous teachers of the game. And then as you talked about a few minutes ago that are also building relationships with your players, That’s something that I think is, is special. And that’s something that I think you see much more of in today’s game.

You see more of a focus from coaches on, on building that relationship. There’s far less of the, my way or the highway coaches. Then there used to be during the time when I was growing up, that seemed to be more of the Bob Knight model of coaching, where the relationship part of it was secondary to the basketball piece of it.

And I think now we’ve come around and come full circle to where. Coaches understand that in order to get the best out of somebody as a basketball player, you also have to be able to build that relationship with them and develop that relationship with them. And when you do, that’s when you end up with.

[01:32:00] Success, both on and off the court and then long-term success in terms of the player being able to go out and they leave your program and be successful and then continue to have that opportunity to reach back to their coaches. And I think one of the things that’s most satisfying, and I just felt this the other day when I got reconnected with coach group after many, many years, to be able to sit down and have a conversation with him and felt like.

That, you know, it felt like that was just yesterday that he and I were spending, you know, hours and hours every day together. It’s amazing the bond that can be built over the course of that time, just because of the intensity of that experience. And I think that’s one of the things that when I think about what coaching is both from.

Me being an athlete and being coached. And then me being a coach and coaching athletes. I think that that relationship piece of it is something that I don’t know that I valued it that much necessarily as a player. And I don’t know that I’ve valued it that [01:33:00] much early on in my coaching career. But I think as time went on, you start to realize that the wins and losses kind of melt away and the season records and all that stuff.

And really what you remember are. The individual players. You remember the teams, you remember the moments and that’s really, what’s important. It’s not, Hey, we went 18 and four this year. And the next year we were only 12 and 10 or whatever it is. You more remember the people. And that really is what it’s all about.

And I know at the division one level and at the NBA level where you’ve been clearly wins and losses dictates whether or not you have a job. So certainly you have to win. But I do think that there’s been a greater emphasis and a greater understanding that relationships can help you to win. And I’m sure that’s what you saw over the course of your year at Duquesne, this past season

Ari Stern: [01:33:47] and a really cool thing and unique aspect of Duquesne coach.

Dambrot  is his entire staff plays. So Carl and Charles have this [01:34:00] 40 year relationship with coach. No. 30 plus year relationship with Coach Dambrot. I mean, they recruited new, they were 17 years old, Terry Weigand. One of the assistants played for him at at Ashland. I’m Rick McFadden playing for him at Akron and the list goes on.

So they all play for him and they all know each other very well, but they just, and they’re, they’re great friends, but they just accepted me. and in one year I feel that I have a family. you know, right now we’re, we’re anticipating to go back sometime soon and it’s kind of, you know, it’s a tough transition.

I’ve been at home with my parents, who I haven’t spent a lot of time with for the past six years. just being away and, you know, it’s tough to leave them, but then I think, look at it and frame it positively. Like I’m going back to this family of people who all have my back and were extremely supportive and have taken me in.

So I feel really lucky to be  where I’m at.

Mike Klinzing: [01:34:52] Absolutely. Ari we’re coming up, we just passed the hour and a half Mark. So I want to give you a chance to share your contact [01:35:00] information so that people can reach out to you. Find out more about what you’re doing, what you’re all about, share your social media handles.

If there’s anything that we didn’t touch on one final point that you want to make, you can go ahead and do that. And then I’ll jump back in and we’ll wrap up the episode. Alright.

Ari Stern: [01:35:16] So. As far as contact information. My email is I don’t know who would want to talk to me, but if anyone does want to talk to me, they can reach out to me, whether it’s, you know, anything questions or if I can help them with anything, they can always reach out to me.

it’s kind of funny, like over this time I’ve done the same thing that I’ve always done. Try to connect with people and try to latch on and just learn from different people and get gain different perspectives. And I’ve started to see Different, you know, a lot of times it’s student managers or people still in [01:36:00] college that are looking to enter in and kind of, you know, find an entry level position, similar way that I did.

And they’ll reach out and ask for advice. I think like I was just in that position a few years ago. So I, you know, I’m going to return the favor because the people who did the same thing for me, they’re the reason that I’m here and those people, they already experienced a ton of success and they were willing to talk to me.

So. I try to, you know, just talk to anyone I’ve talked to, you know, different high school coaches, middle school coaches and managers and different people, because I can, you know, I’ve learned a ton from them as well, so please feel free to reach out. And I love talking basketball. Obviously. It’s been going on for an hour 40 minutes now.

So, talk, hoops, talk life, anything I’m always interested in talking to people. So I’m trying to say, I don’t think I really. Left anything out, really regarding my experiences or, you know, anything like that. I do feel, We’re I’m all in. Just seeing the growth that Duquesne has had is really exciting because they went from, you know, they [01:37:00] were a powerhouse in the sixties and then they went through this huge drought, with, you know, not a lot of success in coach.

Dambrot has come in and revitalized the program. And the hope is to just bring a lot of excitement to the city. And, you know, I feel really lucky to be a part of that. I have a lot of history in Pittsburgh with my family, so, Yeah. I’m just really happy to be where I’m at.

Mike Klinzing: [01:37:20] It’s good stuff. I’m excited for you.

I think that the things that you’ve been able to share tonight, we’ll definitely for any young coaches out there listening, there’s a lot of valuable tips that you’ve given them in terms of their own career path and thinking about where they want to end up and how they want to get there. And the importance of working hard, where you’re at the importance of building a good strong network.

I think those are things that any coach could take away from our conversation. I want to thank you personally for. Spending an hour and 40 minutes or so with us tonight spent a lot of fun, getting a chance to know you, talk to you. Talk to somebody who’s right on the beginning of their [01:38:00] basketball journey.

We’ve had a lot of guys on here who have been in the game for a long time and they have a different perspective and you bring a unique perspective being someone who’s just starting out in the coaching profession. And I really appreciate the time that you took to spend it with us and share with our audience.

So to everyone out there, thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.