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Twitter – @CoachKillingsDK
Dwayne Killings enters his third season with the Marquette University men’s basketball program, but his first as associate head coach after being promoted in March of 2020.
During his tenure, the Golden Eagles have posted a pair of winning campaigns and a NCAA tournament appearance in 2019. He also helped assemble a consensus top-20 class of 2020 recruiting class.
Killings arrived on campus after spending two seasons (2016-18) at the University of Connecticut as an assistant coach, which followed a five-year stint in the same position at Temple University. He owns a wealth of basketball experience at every level, ranging from high school and AAU to the National Basketball Association.
After graduating from Hampton University in 2003 with a degree in sports management, his first job was as a special assistant with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, where he served as video coordinator and helped with player development. After three years in Charlotte, Killings became Temple’s assistant director of men’s basketball operations, a position he held for three seasons.
Killings moved on the NBA D-League, where his responsibilities included monitoring player development programs. From there, he accepted his first collegiate coaching position, joining the staff at Boston University for the 2010-11 season. In 2011-12, Killings returned to Temple as an assistant coach.
Killings served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Ethics Coalition.The role of the coalition is to promote ethical conduct among NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches through education, leadership and mentoring.
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Get ready to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Dwayne Killings, Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach at Marquette University.
What We Discuss with Dwayne Killings
- Growing up in Amherst, Massachusetts and his Dad taking him to watch John Calipari’s Minutemen as a kid
- Becoming a ball boy for those UMass teams
- Watching Coach Calipari build a program from scratch into the hottest ticket in college basketball
- Seeing how basketball could galvanize a community
- The relationship between his Dad and Bruiser Flint
- Realizing as a walk-on at UMass that he could have a positive impact on teammates by building relationships
- How to build confidence in players
- “Our job is to help them go through the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to be a college basketball player at this level.”
- The positives and negatives of social media for players today
- Working for the Charlotte Bobcats in the film room andfeeling on top of the world in his early twenties
- Leaving the Bobcats to work for Fran Dunphy at Temple
- Learning from Coach Dunphy that there was more to coaching than just what happens on the court
- Understanding our role as leaders in our community, you have to give back
- Helping kids kids understand life through basketball
- Sometimes it’s not about the scheme. It’s about how hard you do it
- Be the same guy every day – Coach Fran Dunphy
- If you can’t do the right things off the court, I’m never going to expect you to do the right things on the court
- Being selfless, competitive, and tough
- How they watch film with players at Marquette, using callbacks and questions to keep players engaged
- The need to come at players with something different to put them on their heels and break mundane routines
- How he tries to figure out a player’s ceiling when he’s recruiting
- Rebounding and toughness are two things that transfer from one level to the next
- How what is said in coaches’ meetings can often lead to an understanding of the type of player you need to recruit
- Evaluating players in AAU and with their high school teams – what you can learn in each setting
- When you recruit a kid, you get the uncle, you get the mom, you get the dad, you get the coach, you get the AAU guy, you bring all those guys into your program, maybe not directly, but indirectly through the kids.
- Maintaining good relationships with players’ families from the recruiting process all the way through their college career
- Making sure players hear a consistent message from everyone in their circle of influence
- One of the things as an assistant coach, when you’re recruiting, you have to ask yourself is , “Can that kid play for our Head Coach? Can our Head Coach work with that kid?” Is it a good fit?
- It’s not just about getting guys, it’s getting the right guys
- How to support players who aren’t getting the minutes they want
- There’s a guy that produces better than another guy. He gets more opportunity. It’s just what happens.
- How the new NCAA transfer rules will impact college basketball
- The need to be honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses as a coach
- Putting together a staff that is strong in areas where the head coach may be weaker
- How is preparing himself to be a head coach at some point in the future
- The challenge of continuing to grow and learn as the coaching profession changes and evolves around you
- The joy of impacting the players he gets to coach
- In my years in this business, it never felt like work. Because you work around kids, work around basketball, you work with good people.
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THANKS, DWAYNE KILLINGS
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TRANSCRIPT FOR DWAYNE KILLINGS – MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY MEN’S ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH – EPISODE 388
[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 be able to welcome to the podcast, the associate head coach at Marquette University, Dwayne Killings. Dwayne, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
Dwayne Killings: [00:00:12] Thanks man. Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to the conversation.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:15] It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to being able to dig in to all the great things that you’ve been able to do in the game. Want to look back in time to when you were a kid. Talk to us a little bit about how you got into the game when you were younger, what made you fall in love with the game of basketball?
Dwayne Killings: [00:00:29] Yeah. You know, younger, I grew up in a small town, Amherst, Massachusetts. My dad always was bringing me to gyms and taking me to parks to go play. And I just loved it. I mean, I think what I love most of that time in my life was just being around my dad. as I got a little older at that point there was a guy who just hit, Amherst, Massachusetts.
He’d just gotten to UMass. His name was John Calipari. We know Coach Cal now and he had this small program at UMass and we’re starting to build it. and Bruiser Flint was the assistant coach. And, that’s where I started [00:01:00] to really fall in love with the game. And my dad would bring me to practices over there.
It was like, kind of like the whole community embraced that program and what it was building up. They played in a small gym called the Cage and I was the ball boy coach had this program called mini minute. And then you do ball handling drills at halftime and you have little workouts on Sundays.
It was super cool. you know, I thought I was on top of the world in that point of my life. And then over six years, I mean, Coach Cal took that program from maybe 500 of your closest friends that a game just kinda some workers that had nothing to do with some students that probably got lost walking into the cage to the hottest ticket in college basketball.
When the loan center got built, I was still the ball boy where I gotten a little bit older, but I was like, man, this is amazing. and I think along that way as I got a little bit older, what I didn’t realize is I watched the guy build a program from scratch and turn that thing into a business.
From [00:02:00] how merchandise is being sold to watching how the camp business was being done to watching how he built relationships. I mean, the guy who would go. Do you know, Dan you’re door to door to meet people, and try to get them to buy into what he was trying to build there and what that vision that he had.
And he pushed hard and I loved every second of it as a kid. I mean, I can remember seeing him in the mall. He knew who I was. I mean, it was awesome. And I think I’d fallen in love with that idea, of how basketball could galvanize a community. at that point games on TV wasn’t necessarily as commonplace as it is today.
So sometimes games were on the radio. Everybody sat in front of their radio, in their house and listen to the UMass Penn State game and it was crazy. but then as time went on now you’re talking about watching UMass start the season against Arkansas, or Oregon or North Carolina one team’s number [00:03:00] one, the other team’s number two, it was insane.
I mean, never thought a small town like that basketball would take off, but that’s where I really fell in love with it, just the energy, the competition watching people from all walks of life come together and I’m forever thankful for my dad for taking the time to give me access to that and probably him thinking about it right now, working his tail off to get access to the right relationships, to get me into those places, because it doesn’t just happen.
Amherst is a small town, really small it is diverse, but my dad worked at the University for 45 years as, as an accountant at the University and it’s funny, like all the black people in Amherst know each other and when Bruiser came to town it’s like, where do you go to barbershop?
Where do I go? So I think my dad gave Bruiser all the right answers. And then he said, Hey, I got a son. Can I bring them around? And Bruiser was super great. and over the years he became a college coach and you know, to this day he’s a close [00:04:00] friend he’s like family to me. I mean, he’s helped my kids.
He met my wife and she was just my girlfriend and he’s been all through my life as I’ve kind of navigated the decisions you got to make as a young man, and that’s been awesome, but that’s all credited to my dad really taking the time to get to know people.
But again, I think UMass at that time, so unique because the whole community, both on the campus and in Amherst we’re so connected because basketball brought them together. So everybody kind of knew everybody. So as long as you were a good person and you were out there to support the team, I mean, everybody was trying to bring you in whether it was to to a clinic or to a game.
I mean, everybody kind of was in it together.
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:43] Yeah, that’s cool. That community piece of it, I think, is something that you don’t see everywhere today. And I’ve always looked back and we’ve had a lot of conversations here with high school coaches about just that community feel of a high school program and how it used to be at least more commonplace that you would [00:05:00] have the whole town, the whole community come out and support the team.
And you’d have a big student section and you’d have people who lived in the town, but don’t necessarily even have kids associated with the program. And I think that. You don’t see that everywhere, the way you did 20 or 30 years ago. And it’s cool that you were able to experience that on a college level.
Obviously it’s one step above that. So when you were going through that experience to kind of get that inside access at that point you’re 10 years old or you’re 12 years old or 13 years old, whatever, as you’re going through that, are you thinking about the access that you have. As a kid and Hey, I’m a player and I’m getting better.
Or were you starting to at some point, think that maybe somewhere down the road that you wanted to coach, and maybe you were starting to take note of some of the things that eventually helped you in your coaching career?
Dwayne Killings: [00:05:47] Yeah. I think that, I As I got a little bit older, I used to go there and play against the guys.
And I thought that was the way I was going to get better. You know, you play against the college guys, like a three, or you sneak in and get a [00:06:00] layup like, Oh, I’m on my way. What I did realize pretty quickly I was humble enough to understand it was, I wasn’t as talented as them. So I knew I wasn’t necessarily going to be that guy, but I thought I could.
Work hard enough and compete hard enough in that atmosphere. And luckily I became a Walk-on, but the other thing I always valued was there’s kids from all these different places all these different cities and communities. And I started to realize, wow I’ve been really fortunate.
My parents have provided a really good life for me that some kids don’t have and they don’t understand. Some of these people that donors that we put around, the community, people that we put around them, or sometimes they need to leave the UMass community and be a community that looks like theirs.
Especially when you think about the black kids from inner cities. And when I started to understand that, especially when I became a Walk-on. I bring dads over my house and practices are hard they start to get homesick and we had a [00:07:00] kid from Memphis, Tennessee, and then Amherst and Memphis are two polar opposite places, but bringing them to my parents’ house who grew up in the South and knew what to make.
Collard greens and yams and catfish that helped him get through, you know what I mean? Because he felt more at home. And I started to realize, wow as a leader and as a coach, you have to understand the value of relationships. Because once you make somebody comfortable and you gain their trust and you gain their belief system and you understand how they believe in what you’re trying to teach them I think that’s where you start to unlock an amazing potential in guys. and I think I learned that just from my experiences watching bruiser and Coach Cal, just dig into guys and pull so much out of them. And then as a player I started to understand, wow if I can, if I can help these guys just adjust and get through this college process a little bit I’m doing my own version of [00:08:00] coaching right now as a walk on, because I knew my role, wasn’t the playing.
My role is to help prepare them and then all of a sudden I had Jeff Arnold and Bruiser Flint, and I’m bringing their guys around the house and talking to them that I go, what are they saying? You know, what’s going on? You know, what’s up with this guy. And I really started to love helping guys grow from where they were as freshmen to becoming men and becoming like all of a sudden I can remember this, like it was yesterday, Winston Smith tore his ACL and was kind of going through it and he and I hung out and I’m doing my mental mind tricks on him as a walk on.
And I remember he played great one game and I took so much credit for it. But after the game, he was like, thank you. And I think. What I learned was, you know what, he trusted me. He believed in me, I’m just talking to him, trying to build confidence. And that’s part of coaching I think yeah.
Ball screen defense and plays and all that [00:09:00] is definitely part of it. But you have to build people up, you have to help them out, understand and believe in themselves. So that way they can do all the things that we go crazy screaming at them and trying to instill in them. Because it’s hard then.
And like you said, I mean, right now, social media, the world is so different. You know, it’s not what we all knew, right? Where everybody in the community goes to UMass game, or everybody in that high school community, you mentioned, goes to support the local high school team, there’s just so much going on.
And then when the kid does great, everybody celebrates it. When a kid doesn’t do great people, chill them and that’s a lot to go through for a young kid. And our job is to help them go through the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to be a college basketball player at this level, or do the same with the high school player.
Mike Klinzing: [00:09:44] Talk to me a little bit about let’s jump right into this, because I think it’s an interesting question that I think back to my time when I was playing and I graduated from college in 92, so I did not deal with any of the social media or the pressures of the outside. Maybe I had like a couple people [00:10:00] in my dorm asked me, Hey man, how’d you play in this game?
So I certainly didn’t have. Thousands of people jumping on my Twitter to tell me that I stunk tonight. So how do you go about when you build those relationships with kids, how do you go about helping them to navigate that social media piece of it that wasn’t around when you and I were playing?
Dwayne Killings: [00:10:21] I mean, I think it’s first helping them understand what it is.
It’s an amazing tool. I mean, I think you’ve seen it what’s going on in society right now. You’ve seen all these Kids, basketball players come out and speak out of what’s going on in the world, or try to motivate people to go out and vote great stuff. But then there’s another layer where it becomes noise and I think they’re young men trying to figure out who they are and when they have the big moments and make shots. That’s great. And they’re celebrated, but when they don’t that’s a whole nother element and I think our job as coaches, you got to pay attention to it. Cause [00:11:00] sometimes you have to know what messages are being sent out about them.
Right. Because. Yeah, I that there had maybe getting a little too big or, you know what, we got to build them back up. Cause they’re getting torn apart right now. They’re getting compared to the last special guy that we had in our program. And maybe they’re not having a great week.
We got this week. I need to make sure that the game doesn’t become about the matchup. And one of our players gets lost within a game within the game. And that’s really important too, that you have to have a pulse of at all. And, and I think as a coach now there’s another layer you have to pay attention to.
And I think there’s a lot of information where in recruiting, for instance, you can learn about a kid. You can see how he’s doing. We can’t go out and recruit. You can watch guys play. That’s really, really good stuff. but once you get the guys in your program, now you have to protect them and you got to help them understand what’s going on out [00:12:00] there.
What’s being said what’s noise. What’s not. And again, also for them to understand, Hey, you have a brand to protect too. So what you put out there about yourself and how you’re being received, that’s everything. Because once you put it out there, it’s out there forever. and that’s something that our guys have to be really cognizant of because we have a partnership with a company called Influencer now that kind of helps manage social media accounts with the idea of name, image, and likeness coming up.
We also go through our guys’ accounts and see have they ever put anything negative about themselves because there’s a chance, Hey, I hope all of our guys make it to the NBA. Well, the ones that do have opportunities to they could lose sponsorship opportunity or something that they tweeted out when they were 19 years old.
For sure. We want to make that mistake. If we can control it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:12:46] So, what does that look like on a day-to-day basis in terms of when you’re having these conversations with the guys that are part of your program, is that being done where you have like a formal sit-down and a team meeting, or you’re kind of going through, Hey, this is what we have to be thinking [00:13:00] about is that.
A daily conversation that you’re having on a one-to-one basis as you’re walking to the practice floor, what does it look like in terms of mentoring them through some of those social aspects of, of what goes on off the floor with your players?
Dwayne Killings: [00:13:15] Yeah, I think our job as assistants in what we try to do here, is monitor it to the best of our ability.
I mean we don’t have time necessarily to scroll through every minute of the day, for sure. Have to kinda know what they’re putting out there. And I think sometimes kids give you clues about what they’re going through. You know, sometimes either they put up rap lyrics, they put up hashtags, I mean, it’s very telling about that moment in their life.
I think we have to pay attention to that. And also sometimes we’ll put up a negative stuff we’ll take 10 minutes out of our film sessions and say, Hey this guy posted this message. Here’s why this is not okay. And here’s how this is going to be reflected, by people. And here’s why this is not this is why this is below the line, if you will, [00:14:00] or why this is not to the standard of Marquette basketball.
Because it doesn’t necessarily represent everything that’s represented amongst our community. And I think our guys are very receptive of it because sometimes they hit send and don’t even think about it. It’s just a mindless thing and that’s really, really important because at a place like this, where you’re talking about Marquette, it’s got 17,000 fans a game they’re just hungry to get to know our guys.
So our new freshmen transfer that comes in our program. When they put stuff out there by themselves, our fans are starting to learn about their guys and they build their own idea who they are. So it’s important that we can control that message to the best of our ability and not lose who we are and not lose our freedom because we want our kids to be kids and enjoy this moment of time in their life.
Mike Klinzing: [00:14:45] Yeah, it’d be able to make your own decisions. And I think just like you think about it from a parenting standpoint, you want your kids, so you want to guide them and sort of give them an idea of where they should be going. And yet at the same time, you want them to be able to make their own decisions and have [00:15:00] some freedom and learn because eventually at some point that they’re going to be out of your program and have to navigate the real world or navigate professional basketball or navigate whatever they end up doing after the fact let’s work.
Backwards to back when you were wrapping up your playing career and you start thinking about, did you always, did you always know then that you wanted to get into college coaching? Is that kind of where your mindset was? I know when you first got done with school, you ended up going to the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA.
So talk to me a little bit about kind of what your career goals were when you started out in the coaching profession.
Dwayne Killings: [00:15:36] So when I had my internship with the Charlotte Bobcats, I thought I was on top of the world. I mean, I was 21, 22 years old when I was making about 20 grand. I worked part-time at Joseph A Banks, selling suits at night, a couple of days a week just to make my ends meet.
And I’m sure you’re asking, why do you think you’re on top of the world? Cause that doesn’t sound like it, but I was I was in the video room at 21, [00:16:00] 22 years old. And at night, you’re hanging out with Emeka Okafor and Sean May, and they became friends. in the summertime, travel around with these guys to Vegas and New York and Miami.
He was awesome. And I thought that was just how life would be. Luckily, I had a group of individuals at the Bobcats called Hicks JV because that Bernie Bickerstaff, right. We’re also Kenny Williamson, who really took me under their wing and help grow me. And also understand opportunities. those guys, Carl Hicks got to work with Fran Dunphy at American University years prior.
And even when Dunph got the head coaching job at Temple, he needed a young guy on his staff and presented the opportunity to me in that, to be honest with you, I was like, I don’t, I don’t want to go there. I love Charlotte. A lot of cutting video. I love hanging out at night with these guys. Why would I ever want to leave?
And they were like, you [00:17:00] don’t understand it now, but you will. And I got around Coach Dunphy and loved the guy. I thought he made me a better person, but he made me a better teacher. I thought he helped me understand how to interact with people, value relationships, how to manage the other side of campus.
I think sometimes coaches, they only understand the gym and the things that come with that, but they don’t understand how to get to the other side. When I say that. Whether it’s the ADA’s office, the admissions counselor, the different deans at different schools, he had, he understood relationships and people, I thought he should have had a doctorate in it.
And when I went to Temple there was a kid that we recruited Ramon Moore, who was a great prospect, Philadelphia player and at Temple Philly meant everything. Philly players meant everything to the program, but you know, the world would probably say Ramon wouldn’t be successful. And he had some academic [00:18:00] struggles yet, a baby’s senior in high school.
but he was the player of the year, had trouble getting into school, but got in. And I remember. Coach Dunphy said, this is your project. And I literally looked at him and said, boy he came from a rough background. And I remember that first summer he got his essay assignment and it was too hard and he didn’t want to do it.
And he missed a practice. He missed a study hall session. And next thing I know I’m new to Philly, but I’m in South Philly, a beautiful summer day in July. Looking for Ramon Moore and in an area I knew nothing about. And I think when I showed up at his house, his mom knew I was really serious about mentoring him.
He knew I was really serious about him, but we both knew it was going to be really hard, really, really hard. And I remember the first practice he couldn’t get through it. It was just too demanding of his mind and his body. And he just quit. And literally just [00:19:00] picking this kid up all the time, whether it was when he felt that academically fell down in life or he fell down and practice, I can remember babysitting his daughter in my office.
They had to do something on campus. It was crazy stuff, but I worked at Temple for three years. I left after his sophomore year and we stay in touch all the time. I check on him, I go see him. I was working at the NBA league office. I was coaching at BU the next year, and I returned to Temple his senior year.
And it was like, everything came full circle the way it’s supposed to. And he had great senior year and I’ll never forget graduation day. he gave me a hug and said, I couldn’t do this without you. And that’s why I fell in love with college basketball. Cause it is. The, the competition, the games, the growing as a coach, the teaching, the defensive, the offensive side of it, growing a program, recruiting guys love it, but to find a kid that the odds are stacked against him and for him make money professionally to get his college degree, to be [00:20:00] a good man today in the world, for them to say you had a piece in his development.
I mean, that means more than anything. and I think that’s coaching and I think that’s what, especially like young black kids, odds were stacked against them. They need people to do those things in their life more than anything. that’s where I fell in love with it, but I fell in love with it because.
Coach Dunphy instilled in me the understanding of our role as leaders, in our community you got to give back. He always said it like basketball provides an unbelievable life. You’ve got to give back to the communities that give it to you. You also have to really build these kids up to understand life through basketball.
and that’s hard to do. I mean, sometimes you’re in the court teaching why’d you turn this ball over because you were late to class today, but there’s, there’s, there’s a story behind that. Sorry. I’m a son saying goodbye. It’s all good. It’s all good. I think.
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:54] That’s proven your point right there.
That’s your point about you You have to be developing your own family, [00:21:00] right? You’re developing kids as a coach, but you’re you have to, you have to develop your own family. So I get it.
Dwayne Killings: [00:21:05] I mean, it’s just, that’s the reason why I love it and why I got into it. I’ve stuck with it. Cause for guys like Ramon Moore and you know sure.
The highs and lows, I mean we love the highs, but the lows is why you get up and try to figure it out the next day.
Mike Klinzing: [00:21:19] When you left the Bobcats and you go and you take that temple job, did you have, how, what was your level of understanding? Would you say about some of the things that you just talked about in terms of what would be required of you as a director of ops at temple?
Did you have a good understanding of what that job was going to entail? Or did you kind of go into it with sort of blind as to what you were going to be, what you were going to be in for.
Dwayne Killings: [00:21:43] Yeah, I had no clue. I mean, I think I was prepared because I understood how to organize, develop relationships, communicate, had a sense of urgency.
I mean, those things I had, but you know how to [00:22:00] pivot between all the things that come with the operations position, whether it was like film exchange, camp, travel. Helping with recruiting at that time, you could go out and recruit you could go out and recruit 30 miles from the campus. So I was living in Philadelphia.
There’s a game every night to go to. And that, to be honest, that helped me tremendously prepare me to be an assistant a full-time assistant because when I went into gyms, just cause I said, okay, I’m going to wear what Bruiser Flint wore when he was an assistant coach wear some slacks and nice slacks and a shirt, people took me serious.
So sometimes people would say, That’s the assistant coach atTtemple. When in reality, I was just the operations guy, but I could go out on the road. So I met the people and I started to understand how things worked. I mean, that was huge, but I had no clue what I was getting myself into. But in reality that three years when I did ops prepared me to be where I am now, because it accelerated my growth.
cause coach Dunphy let you do everything. I mean whether it was sitting in a meeting with the AD, he’d asked your opinion. [00:23:00] he would walk in the office and be like, okay 10 seconds left on the shot clock and LaVoy Allen or Ryan Brooks on a ball screen, should we switch it?
And he just looked at you. Yeah, switch it, switch it. You know this thing at the time you meet as coaches, sometimes it’s not about the scheme. It’s about how hard you do it. And then once it happens, it’s just about your will in terms of the guy who’s dribbling the ball versus your will. Who’s defending the ball.
sometimes some of his stuff was a little old school, but I mean, the competitor, you did a piece that you, weren’t going to find a guy that could get you compete at a higher level than Coach Dunphy could, and to get you understand how to value the ball. and we never turned it over, but we had amazing floor spacing.
again, not something you necessarily learn a ton of at the NBA level, cause it’s just a different game. in terms of the teaching and the players. The consistency, even the language. but at the same time, I had been exposed to some unbelievable basketball minds. So when you got a chance to take both [00:24:00] teachings and experiences together I became pretty confident in what I was trying to do.
Mike Klinzing: [00:24:04] Yeah, absolutely. So when you think about coach Duffy, and one of the things that I often think about is when you talk about great coaches, they often do exactly what you described, which is. They get their guys to just compete and play harder than other teams. And regardless of whatever the scheme is, if you could get your kids to do that, you’re going to, chances are you’re going to have pretty good success.
So when you think back to your time with coach Dunphy, what are some things that he did that maybe a coach who’s out there listening can take in terms of how he went about motivating his guys to play hard?
Dwayne Killings: [00:24:42] One of the things I can still hear him saying right now is be the same guy every day.
And that’s hard, man, for college kids. Absolutely. You know, and that was the consistency was what he always talked about. you know, the reliability he would always say, Hey, [00:25:00] if you can’t do the right things off the court, I’m never expect you to do the right things on the court. And that’s true.
I mean, you look at your high maintenance guys, guys, who are one guy one day and a different guy than the next day. But then you’re talking about, we need to play big, who knows who you’re going to get. Right. It’s the consistency and all of that, and then the other stuff was just.
You know, giving yourself up for your teammates. and right, when you think about that, that’s just as simple as like the one more pass, right? When the guys open, that’s consistent, that’s consistent with just starting into the basketball. It was simple teachings, but it was in his everyday message. value opportunities was huge.
And I think again, he had been doing it so long. I think sometimes guys won’t approve. They can coach where he really helped our guys prepare themselves to compete and there’s a difference. you know, there’s a difference in drawing up a beautiful play versus like executing that and understanding, valuing the basketball and value in the [00:26:00] cut and value in the screen and how all those things are connected.
I thought all of our guys, as they grew and they became seniors, they had a PhD in Temple basketball because we always did kind of the same things. But over time, they mastered it, whether it was a dribble hand-off slip in a ball screen. you know, and they did it so hard. And guys really understood how important every possession of a basketball game was and really teaching that.
I think sometimes again, guys get caught in that when they teach the game and they show film and you see different things, he got you in to see a lot in the zoom this past summer. You know, guys want things to be executed a certain way. It’s so important. You know, I need this guy here doing this thing, whereas sometimes coach Dunphy was like, you know what it’s going to break down and that’s always going to happen. What we can’t do is turn over the basketball. We got to take care of the ball. And sometimes there’s guys that are so valued value what the play looks like. [00:27:00] You know, they’re so worried about guys moving in in the ball game, but around a certain way, you look at them, they’re averaging 16, 17 turnovers a game because they haven’t taught their guys to really value every single possession.
And that was something he talked about every day. and when you get to the second half of the season, taking care of the basketball is something, I mean, he just drilled into kids’ minds, but you know, late in the year, second half the seasoned league play and we were averaging seven to eight turnovers a game.
And that’s huge. because as we all know a lot of those games are decided between two or four points.
Mike Klinzing: [00:27:34] Absolutely. Have you found in the programs that you’ve been a part of and the head coaches that you’ve been able to work for that, that. Ability to pick out an emphasize a couple of things that become the key to what they want to do out on the floor.
Cause I think one of the things that you’ll see sometimes with maybe inexperienced coaches or coaches that don’t have as much success as they try to. Be the master of everything instead of [00:28:00] zeroing down on, Hey, we’re going to not turn the ball over and we’re going to play hard. And if we can do these two things, everything else is going to kind of fall into place from there.
Have you seen that in terms of the successful programs and head coaches that you’ve worked for?
Dwayne Killings: [00:28:13] Yeah. I think guys really hone in on just a few things. I mean, like this year at Marquette, when we have three. standards of excellence, if you will. And it’s funny, like I’ve started to say to myself, well, then that should be everything that we do.
You know, when you talk about, being selfless, competitive, and tough, we should be recruiting to that. Like if a guy doesn’t address those three statements, then why are we bringing them to our program? When we built our practice plans, we’re building around those three things and we were trying to have a part that’s super competitive, a part that’s going to challenge a toughness, and then there’s always going to be parts of practice where you can point out things that are not selfless or things that are. and then I think the film probably [00:29:00] gels with those when we do our film sessions, because I think coach knows culture at your house.
He understands you can’t inundate guys with stuff, right? You go through those marathon film sessions, they’re just therapeutic for that. Kids can’t handle all that. They just went through shooting session in the morning class weights. You know, might’ve had a conversation and argument with their girlfriend.
Now they’re back in the gym shooting. Now they got practice and I got 30 minute film session. I mean, the brain can only handle so much. so being efficient with it, and having quick burst to get them to, Hey, understand, what’s going on out here on the floor, what we did good. What we did and what didn’t address our core principles.
and then also getting the guys to understand, Hey, when I’m talking to one guy I’m talking to everybody and then let’s move on. Let’s be efficient with our time and maximize it so we can get really good working.
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:49] All right. So when we’re talking about film work, how much film do you think is an ideal amount for the players to be seeing, let’s [00:30:00] say in preparation for a game that you’re going to play mid season, let’s say it’s a league game.
How much film are you sharing with them? The players, obviously you and the staff are watching a lot of film, but how much are you sharing actually with the kids?
Dwayne Killings: [00:30:13] Yeah, I think it’s probably like a 10 minute edit that we’re showing now. It takes longer to go through it. That’s the challenge. You got to be really efficient with going through it, but we do what we call the preview and it’s probably anywhere between six to 10 minutes, depending on who we’re playing, what.
You know, part of the year, it is the presentation of it takes a little bit longer. and then we’ll do like a personnel edit, which is probably three to four minutes. we try to be a little bit faster with that and try to not stop it as much. one of the things I think we do is we try to engage the guys in the film session.
So I’ll ask questions, get them to do callbacks because I think otherwise, you’re just talking to them. And sometimes you’re like, all right, I got through my scout we’re good, but they didn’t process any. And then you’re screaming [00:31:00] during the game, like, Oh, we’re over that on film, but did they retain it as the question?
And I think as coaches, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself, are they receiving the message that you’re delivering? Because if they’re not receiving it, then that’s on you. I mean, sometimes you got to change how you deliver and stuff. I think we get some times in this mundane flow, where you got to spice it up a little bit their kids you got to come at them with a little bit something different.
Sometimes put them on their heels cause otherwise it’s just going to be like, okay, we’re checking a box, we’re doing a film. All right, cool. Okay. We’re playing. So-and-so okay. We’re going to do this in a ball screen. They’re going to do this action. Okay, cool. But then they didn’t really process it and retain it where.
We all know you do the right films. That’s just, sometimes it’s going to save you a possession too. They go in the game. we also try to break our stuff up with like defense or offense and culture. Where they can process. Okay. Here’s the thing. We’ve have to be defensively. Here’s what I have to do offensively.
Here’s what I have to do based off our culture for us to win the game. And I think it helps them conceptualize it [00:32:00] in process a little bit better.
Mike Klinzing: [00:32:01] Yeah. I think by going through and asking questions, I think you get more engagement because I think as you said, it’s really easy to kind of fall into the same patterns of this is how we do things and I’m sure that’s the same with practice.
It’s the same with film. It’s the same with anything that you have to continuously as a coach sort of reinvent. Different ways of teaching those same things, whether it’s a new drill or just a new way of approaching things. And one of the things that you mentioned just a second ago about trying to be able to recruit to the standards of your program, I want to go back and kind of touch a little bit on that because I always find it fascinating to just.
Pick people’s brains about how they go about recruiting and what they’re, what they’re looking for and how you dig down into some of those intangible things. Cause obviously there’s clearly a level of talent that you have to have to even be considered to be recruited by a university like Marquette, but you’re looking for guys are going to be the right fit for your program.
So maybe just talk a little bit about. How you go about trying to ascertain those intangibles [00:33:00] that you mentioned, like, how do you recruit for toughness? What are things that you’re looking for in terms of a player being a selfless player? Are there specific things that you’re looking for? Is it more of an overall feel that you get from being in the gym and just watching a player play multiple times and seeing them on film?
Dwayne Killings: [00:33:16] Yeah, I think being in the gym’s huge. I don’t think you can get that feel for guys without being in the gym, feeling and hearing and seeing how they react to things. But the toughness piece, I just want to see a guy make tough plays. You know, whether it’s finishing at the rim, finishing through contact some of these kids, they play in amazing high school atmospheres.
So they’re on the road, the crowds going crazy how do they react to that? You know, they make a big bucket. What do they do? When being challenged by guys. How do they react to that? Do they back down? Do they stand up? They do what their player do. They try to do what their voice and shove a guy.
You know, I think you’ve got to process that because [00:34:00] I think things become consistent. You know, what they do in high school is probably going to be a lot of it’s going to become their habits. Now we have to figure out what their ceiling is how you can project their growth. And when you add in training tables and all that stuff, but you know, what are their character traits about what they do well, and what’s going to transfer over.
We have a kid from, Baltimore, Maryland who, high level rebounder. I think that transfers, I think that transfers from high school to college. I think when you look at his body makeup in me, he’s got a chance to be a monster. So it’s our job to help him realize that growth. And he’s a tough kid cause he comes from a tough environment.
We have another kid Samir Torrance who played for Albany city rise team. Who’s so well coached. I think all their guys play the right way. He’s a leader. and also I think he’s a winner. And I think when you, when I say that, like he’s the guy that would sprint to the spot and take a charge.
He’s the guy that came up with the loose ball. He’s the guy that was in the middle of the chaos, got the ball [00:35:00] late it in for a game where I think those things translate. and I think sometimes if you pay attention to your staff meetings, You’ll get the answers that you need as you develop your rosters in terms of recruiting.
I wish we had a guy that did this. We don’t do that. We need to work on these things. We don’t hit, we don’t box out. Okay. We need a guy to rebounds. So if you pay attention to those meetings, you take notes. All of a sudden, it’s going to tell you, okay, we got to find a guy that sprints the flow harder and rebounds.
We have to find the guy that moves the ball. Welcome, run a team because in your meetings, you’re going to start talking about what you really, really need or why you’re not winning and I think the other piece to it is if you ask yourself why you want to win, like why do we win games? Is it what we do?
Defensively offensively is pace we play at, because we’re going to make the threes. Well, then that’s going to help tell you who the guys are that you need to recruit anyway. So sometimes you give yourself the answers. If you really, really pay attention.
[00:36:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:36:00] Yeah, sort of that internal almost, almost metacognition of thinking within your own program of, Hey, what do we need?
And then that dictates who you can go out and look at when you’re on the road. How much do you, how do you strike a balance between what you see in a player when they play with their high school team versus when they play on the AAU circuit? Are you looking for. Similar things in both environments. Are you looking for something different or is there one thing that you can pick out better when you watch him play with their high school versus their AAU team?
Just talk about maybe a little bit, the difference between watching a game on the AAU circuit versus watching a high school game.
Dwayne Killings: [00:36:38] Yeah, I think every kid is so different. I mean, last year, the NCAA allowed us to go watch guys in the summer on their AAU team. And a couple of weeks later, you could go or a couple of weeks before you could go watch them with their high school teams.
And a lot of guys, you saw them be two different players. I mean, you go to some of these teams on the . I mean, they’re super teams they got guys from all over the place with a man at their [00:37:00] high school and their roles, all of a sudden change. And then you go watch them at this high school event and they’re just dominant.
So then you got actually, what does that mean? You know, is it the competition situation? I think a lot of times they’re asked to do more with their high schools, so you can see a wider range of their talent, which really helps you evaluate who they are and what they’re capable of doing. So I like to see them in both settings.
I do think the AAu for a lot of other guys that will recruit at our level. It’s a little bit more competitive. and it’s a little bit more challenging, especially on the defensive end, because you’re going to get some guys that come at you. or are you going to play against some guys that if we’re recruiting a guy that’s top 30 in the country, they may be playing against a number three player in the country.
Well, how do they step up to that challenge? And I think it goes back to your questions. How do you evaluate softness? Do they want that challenge or are they going to act like their ankles hurt or they’re going to back down now we got a problem because in reality, for us to get to a final four, we’ll probably have to play against that kid one way or another.
At [00:38:00] some point along this kid’s career. You know, that’s the number two player in the country. So I think I want to see them in both settings. and I want to see him I think the one advantage we do have in the high school settings, you can watch them in practice. So how do they retain information?
How do they practice? What are their habits? What’s their coaching style like in the high school level, because you’re going to really understand what they can process what their learning curves are going to be. I think that’s, that’s all important because then you get the full body of work.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:31] What are the conversations like that you have with. The people around the player. So whether that’s their high school coats, their AAU coach, their parents, just talk a little bit about what those conversations like and what are some of the things that you look for in those conversations that have led to players being successful.
And obviously it’s not always the same for every player, but I’m sure there’s sort of a through line from the types of answers that you get and the type of kid that you’re looking for to what [00:39:00] translates to success at the level that you guys are at.
Dwayne Killings: [00:39:03] Yeah, I think you want to circle everybody that touches the kid or that he feels like is really important.
It’s super important that those people trust you because if they don’t the minute things don’t go, right. They’re telling that kid it’s time for him to go, or they’re going to tell him to do things that go against what you’re teaching, which is stressing. So what we try to do here, Is really invest in those relationships during the high school process, in the recruiting process, they decide to come, then it’s keeping a pulse with the families about how’s he doing?
What’s he saying, how’s he feeling? You know, you got know the right moments when he’s playing good and he’s playing a lot of minutes, you don’t have to worry about it as much, but that game where he gets a couple of quick fouls where he gets that early sub, you might want to reach out to the family because you have to reinforce the messages that you’re trying to get the kid to receive because it’s a journey and there’s going to be highs and [00:40:00] lows. But we have to also manage all that together. Because when you recruit a kid, you get the uncle, you get the mom, you get the dad, you get the coach, you get the AAU guy, you bring all those guys into your program, maybe not directly, but indirectly through the kids.
So we need to make sure that everything that he’s hearing and thinking is positive. Because if that player doesn’t have a free mind, then he’s never going to be able to give you what he’s capable of giving you. So. we try to keep those conversations consistent throughout our program. And we also want to have a consistent message.
It’s important that we’re all on the same page about what’s best for the individual. And that’s sometimes has hard conversations in our conference room as a staff, because if that player or parent calls anyone in our program, we all need to be on the same page about what’s best for that individual and how his process of growth is going.
because every day in practice, we have team goals, but we have individual goals, right? Like each guys, one guy’s going to need to play better ball screen defense, and other guys got to get better at taking care of the [00:41:00] basketball, but we all have to understand what all those things are. So we can help that kid, through his process.
Cause again, he’s going to be engaged with his family. He’s going to be on social media. So he’s got to be receiving all the right messages from all the people that really matter in his life.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:14] All right. So I got two questions related to what you just said. The first one is I’m going to read between the lines here and assume that there have been players that you’ve recruited, that you feel like had the ability to play at Marquette.
And maybe even themselves had the makeup that you were looking for to be able to play. But maybe somebody in their circle is somebody that you felt like, Ooh, if we bring this. Person into our program, they could potentially cause some problems. So has there ever been a situation where you haven’t followed through, on recruiting a player that maybe you liked because of what you discovered in sort of their inner circle?
Dwayne Killings: [00:41:52] Yeah. So when I got the job here, the first thing he said was I want to recruit high level [00:42:00] players, but I work with high-level people. and I think sometimes there’s players that just don’t fit. And I think one of the things is assistant coach. When you’re recruiting, you have to ask yourself, can that kid play for coach? Can coach work with that kid?
Can they play at Marquette? Absolutely. But can they excel in the program’s a different question because maybe we’ve all recruited guys and they get to your program and like, Oh man this, guy’s having a little hard time with the coaching or our head coach is having a real hard time and there’s just some things that he just can’t get his arms around with this guy.
Well, it’s our job to figure that out. Because again, this is about the kids. I mean, you have to find kids that can excel here, cause you don’t want to bring a kid here that doesn’t feel comfortable. Never plays up to his potential and transfers. That’s not a good thing for you as a recruiter for the head coach for the program or for the young man.
So I think a lot of times you’re trying to process, okay, how does this all [00:43:00] fit? And if you’re trying to force it to fit, it’s probably not going to work out. So I think you have to constantly be evaluating the person, the player, the circle, really figure those things out. And sometimes you’ve got to say to yourself, Can you get them?
Probably. Is it a good fit? Probably not. So should I probably walk yet? I mean, it’s not just about getting guys we’re getting the right guys.
Mike Klinzing: [00:43:22] All right. So to go along with that, even when you bring the right guys into your program, when you have a roster of 12 to 15 players, not everybody’s going to get the playing time that they want or think they should get.
And so you’re going to end up with players who don’t get a lot of minutes. So how do you go about what. What’s the way that you guys, as a staff handle those guys who are at the end of your roster, who aren’t that many minutes, how do you keep them engaged? What does that process look like during practice?
After games, outside of the practice floor, what are you guys doing to keep those guys [00:44:00] engaged in the program so that they’re still pulling and doing and fulfilling their role day in and day out to help you guys be successful?
Dwayne Killings: [00:44:07] No for me, it was a kid that, we coach last year. I mean I think one of the first things you get on the phone with the mom and dad, on the same page that, Hey, this is a journey.
This is a process. So you need to be helping your son through this process that telling him giving her my ideas about where you should go next or Hey screw the coaches they don’t know what they’re doing now. We’re in this together. We know what we’re doing.
There’s a plan. Let’s stick to the plan. because that’s going to be the first call with the individual. Like you spend time with them getting in the gym, working them out, helping them get better, watch film, help them get better. the walk-ons the guys who aren’t playing as much, get them out there.
Play two on two, play three on three. Let them get reps. Let them get better, get him to believe in himself more than he does in the present moment. And then for, for me and my [00:45:00] family, my wife is tremendous. We’ll bring guys over the house. I think that really helps them they need to feel loved and supported.
Sometimes get out of the facility. I think as coaches, we’re always in the facility, we’re always doing stuff in the facility. Well I heard, I think it was Shaka Smart, said this once. You know, he would meet guys in the dorm, in their dorm rooms or in the lobby of the dorm or just outside the dorm.
I think that’s great because, again, sometimes when guys are in an uncomfortable spot, they’re going to let them the apprehension when they’re at home and that’s their home. So I think that’s a really good spot to engage with them. I think all those things are really, really important to help them get through a bump in the road because all our guys would hit campus. They’re dreaming of playing 30 to 40 minutes a game and the crowd going, wow, well, when it doesn’t happen, that’s a low feeling and you could see it. And I think all the guys they want their teammates to be good and they’re having a great time.
Then the game ends [00:46:00] and I think the world comes crashing down on them. So now you’ve got to build them back up. And hopefully that opportunity can come, but it’s also on them to go out and compete. And I think going back to one of the things you asked about coach Dunphy is, I mean, he got guys competing at a high level cause we competed every day in practice and we always said like, opportunities are up for grabs and have guys work the tails off and beat a guy out.
I mean, that’s just, he would say it all the time. That’s life sometimes that’s what happens in life. I mean, there’s a guy that produces better than another guy. He gets more opportunity. It’s just what happens.
Mike Klinzing: [00:46:33] Yeah, it’s funny how you can boil it down. We can analyze it to this and to that degree, but sometimes it just comes down to who performs better and who’s more productive and it becomes, I think sometimes crystal clear in players.
Sometimes don’t want you to get so trapped in your own head as a player that you don’t always recognize that I’m just being outplayed every single day by this guy who’s across from me, that I’m going up against. And it’s, it’s amazing how simple the game can be at [00:47:00] times. For sure. I wanted to ask you.
About the, the new transfer rules and how you think that’s going to impact what goes on just in the general college basketball landscape, maybe not specific to Marquette, but just how you think that’s going to affect what goes on in college basketball.
Dwayne Killings: [00:47:18] Yeah. concern in that the right thing to do is.
the right thing by doing what’s best for the individual, but the reason why I say concerned, it’s going to be tough. I mean end of the year is always the toughest thing. I mean, the last game of the season is always the last game in season, and there’s always some guys that are a little bit emotional and you saw it this past year with everything with COVID.
I mean, A lot of kids weren’t on their campuses. So what’s the easiest thing to do. Tell the coaches that you’re going to leave. What’s the hardest thing to do, walk in their office and say, Hey man, I’m going to move on now. You’ll have to sit out. So it, I think it makes decisions [00:48:00] very emotional. I think again, that process that we just talked about, some guys earning their opportunity is probably lost.
Cause sometimes kids are going to come in and screw it. I’m out. I don’t want to wait or I feel like I was getting jerked around. I’m just going to go. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily great for the game of basketball. but that’s the direction that it’s going. And I think we have to really invest in relationships and have a clear vision for kids.
I think it will be interesting to see what some programs do. I think some programs may keep shorter rosters to make sure guys get more opportunity. And there’s not as much, depreciation from the roster. Cause the one concern I have is. You know, if you start to get in those situations where you bring in one transfers into your program, well, the one thing you can get lost is your culture, I mean, you run out there and say, Hey, we’re doing Celtic fast break.
And everybody starts looking around and we don’t know what the hell that is. Right. Who’s going to carry your culture all. And I’ve been at places where sometimes the culture that was [00:49:00] set isn’t carried over the right way. And all of a sudden you start taking a turn in the wrong direction, or it’s harder to get through the day. Cause you got to keep building the culture and reinforce it over and over. Whereas the best places I’ve worked is the cultures is passed down from one group on to the next and that’s one of the concerns. And then I think for some programs that works, but for a lot of places the best part about college basketball is watching guys grow up.
You know, you fall in love with a guy because you watch him as a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. And I hate to see that go away. cause I think that’s one of the beautiful parts about college basketball is watching the maturation process for those guys. So it’s going to be interesting, but like everything there’s opportunity.
I mean there’s a need for a player for our program we’ll be recruiting those guys. Cause I think that that’s a new opportunity. I mean, you saw what the fifth year, grad transfer thing did. I mean, that was a unique rule change and teams have maximize [00:50:00] from it. And there’s been some guys that are high-level success doing it.
and the end of the day, it’s about the kids. So that’s what those student athletes feel like is the best thing for them. I I don’t know that I can argue that because at the end of the day we do all this for the the student athlete.
Mike Klinzing: [00:50:17] I think that’s something that mthat last statement that you just made is one that when you talk to, and we’ve been so fortunate to be able to talk to so many good people on the podcast, it’s like that particular statement that you just made about it being for the kids and that being while you’re there.
And that’s kind of been a theme that you’ve hit on multiple times, but I think it’s so important to go back and revisit that and just keep thinking about it that. All the things that we do, whether it’s the X’s and O’s piece, whether it’s the relationship piece, all of it, you ultimately, if you do it with the best interest of the kids in mind, I think that’s going to lead you to be able to have the kind of success that you want to have as a coach.
And I think you can measure success. In a lot of different ways, obviously [00:51:00] at the college level there’s pressure to win and you get measured by your one loss record, probably ultimately. But I think from what I hear you saying, and from what we’ve talked to a bunch of coaches and my own experience, I think one of the ways that you judge successes you talked about Ramon Moore and a guy who.
You had success with him? Not because you turn them into a great player. Not because he had success necessarily in the game, but you turn the kid’s life around. Who knows where he would have been. Had you not been able to have. That kind of impact on them. And I think that’s something that again is invaluable.
And you think about that call 10 years after you coach somebody and they call you up and say, Hey coach, I just got married or I want to invite you to my wedding. Or I had a kid or I I got a new job. Like, those are the things that I think really are special to two guys who really love what they do in the coaching profession.
So to kind of go along with that point, I want to just talk to you a little bit about. Your preparation kind of going through your career. [00:52:00] I’m assuming that at some point, if an opportunity presented itself for you to be a head coach that you’d like to someday run your own program. So what are you doing?
What have you done over the course of your career to start to collect and crystallize what you would want your program and your culture to look like where you eventually ever get an opportunity to be a head coach?
Dwayne Killings: [00:52:23] So I spent a lot of time on that this past year. and I think the first step is understanding who you are.
you know, it’s not going to be, Advantageous for me to try to be Steve Wojciechowski or Bruiser Flint or Fran Dunphy, or Pat Chambers, I’m my own person. But what does that really mean? You know, what do I do really well? What, we’re not, what are some things that are not my strengths, knowing your weaknesses are really, really important.
I think as a coach, because I think guys that are really smart, they find guys who in reality can do the things they [00:53:00] don’t do well. They, they do them at a high level. Because you can’t fake it, right? You can’t go into your office, close the door and watch a DVD and come out and say, Hey, I’m on a matchup zone and you don’t, you don’t have a feel, you can’t redo what that guys did on TV.
But if I sit there and I say, okay, here’s the three areas that I know I need help with. I need to find a guy that’s mastered those things. That’s really, really important. So if I can have an honest conversation with myself, that’s great. and I think that was one of the first steps for me to say, okay, here’s a few things that I know that I’m going to need some help with in this area.
and let me start to think about some guys, if I’m ever blessed the head coaching opportunity that could help me in that area. but then also here’s some areas that I feel really, really strong at, right? So these are the parts of the program that I know are going to be a huge part of the things that I’m going to emphasize every day.
and I’ve said a few of them Relationships and trust are going to be huge, because that’s how we’re going to build our [00:54:00] program. That’s how you’re going to build the community. And again, I think a lot of the things that I’ve seen through my life, and I think all of us are products of our environment or our experiences.
Well, what I saw John Calipari do what you’ve asked again, it’s throwing yourself into a community. Why? Because that community has got to embrace your program. You know, when you think about getting internships for your players, bringing fans to the program, trying to get businesses to buy sponsorships, you need that community to support you.
So you have to support that community. You have to be a part of the community you have to be seen in the community. That’s huge. We talk about the things on the floor. I know how I want to play and how I want my team. So as you start to figure those things out, that’s how you’re going to build your culture.
And I think going back to what I said, we do here every day is we’re going to evaluate those things. We’re going to practice those things every day. We’re going to push ourselves on those things every day. We’re also going to recruit those social things every day. and I think t those are the [00:55:00] things that are really important to me, but I think the first area especially as a first time head coach and.
And I know you’ve talked to Stan Johnson and he and I have talked about his journey, a ton as being honest with yourself about, okay, where am I at right now as a leader and a coach and where am I blind spots? And let’s address those right away. Cause those aren’t going away. And I don’t think if you don’t address those early in your career, especially as a head coach, they’re going to come back to haunt you real fast.
Mike Klinzing: [00:55:27] I think what you said about kind of filling in areas that you’re weak with people that you have experienced with people that you’ve known, people that you’ve worked with and you understand what their strengths or weaknesses are and you understand your own. And then you can start to build this staff where everybody ticks up.
In areas where they’re strong that maybe somebody else isn’t, or maybe somebody else doesn’t want to spend as much time at a particular area. And somebody else loves that area that you start to build the kind of staff that you can have a tremendous amount of success success with. For sure. [00:56:00] I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
So as you look forward in your career and let’s just focus on what you’re doing now, what do you see as being the biggest challenge that you have ahead of you outside of a challenge that we’re all facing with the COVID and the pandemic, and trying to figure out whether we’re going to get back on the floor, but let’s just for a moment.
Imagine that it’s a normal situation. What are. What are the, what’s the biggest challenge that you see going forward? And then what’s your biggest joy when you get out of the bed in the morning. And you’re going to go into the office at Marquette university as an assistant men’s basketball coach. What’s the biggest joy that you get out of your job every single day.
Dwayne Killings: [00:56:37] And you said the biggest challenge you meet here at Marquette.
Mike Klinzing: [00:56:40] I would say here at Marquette, let’s focus there and then maybe you can even throw it. Let me take it once for other staff to answer that. Then what do you see as the biggest challenge? Long-term, let’s say over the next 20 years have getting an opportunity to maybe run your own program at some point.
Dwayne Killings: [00:56:53] I think the biggest challenge at Marquette is there’s an amazing [00:57:00] tradition here at the program, there’s an amazing desire to support the program. I think one of the things why our kids have fallen in love with this place is the people the people here support this program, push it and support our kids and resource that are high level or COVID has put the people away.
You don’t see them, you don’t see the people in the buildings. and when I say to people, not just the fans, I mean, the people that work on campus and are on the ground with us. So how do you make our kids feel supported every day? You know, what are the little things that we can do? You know, one of the unique things that everybody fell in love with is the fan support and the families coming into our place and seeing themselves there.
You know, we talk about being a Marquette mom all the time. Well, being a Marquette moms can be a little bit different on zoom or watching the games on your laptop or your TV. And so how do we support the families? because what they fell in love with is not going to be the reality this year.
That’s a huge challenge because again, the support through this journey, through the highs and [00:58:00] lows is just as much as important as how we prepare for games. So how are we going to do that? you know, we had a meeting today about that stuff and I think that’s huge targets success. and then from me as a leader, and having my own program, I would say that the biggest thing is you think about.
You said 20 years when I thought about that, I was like, wow, that’s a long time from now. That’s for sure the game is going to change. so much and I think if you went and talked to John Thompson, John Chaney, and the things that they did as coaches. You know, back then would not work right now, especially in terms of how you lead your program and, and the things that kind of people did offensively and defensively might not work now.
So what’s going to be the next thing 20 years from now, I think is the next challenge. And how do you grow through that? Like I can remember [00:59:00] when DVDs kind of went out the window and people started downloading games. It got harder for coaches because downloading games added in themselves was just so foreign.
So what’s going to be the next thing. And how do you keep it, keep up with that? I remember we were the young guys out there and now people are calling us for advice. So those guys that are coming up there, they’re going to be able to do some things a little bit faster than we can.
So what does that mean? You know, where does that place us in the business and kind of, what’s the next wave and what’s going to be the next change and how do you stay ahead of it? I think people have taken advantage of zoom moment and they’ve shared the game grown a ton through it. But how do we keep that consistent too?
Because I think as assistant coaches, especially, it’s hard to really improve for yourself because you always do it recruiting and worrying about your players and helping your head coach. But how do you navigate and research and get better at things that you find personally [01:00:00] interesting to you?
Zoom creates that opportunity, but how do you keep that going when you go back to work and you’re back in the office and there’s new expectations of your time. So I think those would be the things I think about in terms of the joy, when I get to work. It’s the kids. you know, it’s just so fun.
If bring a guy in your office and you watch film with them or you talk to them and then they go out having success with the things you talk to them about. That’s awesome. Watching a kid grow is awesome. Helping a kid through a hard spot is awesome too. I think just being around them and the challenges of their day to day and helping them do it is great.
And they also keep you young. I mean you gone go to the gym and they got a 21 Savage plane and I’ve never heard that. And again, I’m starting to feel old because of that, but they keep you going to keep you on your toes to keep you engaged in the telling me what shoes and what suits to buy and all that.
It’s just a lot of fun then, [01:01:00] you know, for me, in my years in this business, it never felt like work. Because your work around kids work around basketball, you work with good people. It’s awesome. so I love that. And then the other part that I love too, is that my personal family loves where we are.
I think as coaches, that’s really, really important. They love Milwaukee. They love the community love Marquette. If they didn’t, then I wouldn’t be a great husband, a great father, a great coach, because my attention would be all over the place. Cause you’re trying to fulfill. All their needs, but they feel super fulfilled here.
So, so that makes me feel really good every morning also.
Mike Klinzing: [01:01:38] Yeah. That’s a great point that I think it’s one of the things that we’ve talked to many coaches about is. Being able to make sure that your family feels engaged and a part of what it is that you do every day. Cause we all know the amount of time demands that you have as a basketball coach are huge.
And so you got to have a supportive wife on board and you have to have. Your family [01:02:00] feeling like they’re a part of what you do otherwise it gets really, really difficult. Like you said, to, to do a good job on any front, as a dad, as a husband, as a coach, it gets to be really a challenge. If you don’t bring those people along before we wrap up here, Dwayne, I want to give you an opportunity to share how people can get in contact with you, how they can find out more about the basketball program at Marquette.
And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
Dwayne Killings: [01:02:24] Yeah. you know, for the program in, we have an unbelievable, social media platform that our people on campus manage and keep going, which is been really, really impressive here. So you can kind of follow our journey.
You know, my Twitter account is @coachkillingsDK. You can follow me on there. I’m not as good as some other guys, but I try to post some stuff as we’re going through the days. And to be honest with you, I’ll be completely direct. Like I love to help anybody that wants to be helped.
So I’ll just throw all my personal phone number. no worries there. If I get some, some spam phone [01:03:00] calls, we’ll be okay, but that’s 704- 577-5198. Again, that’s (704) 577-5198. And I’ll just leave with, Again, like I’ve worked for some great people and all of them have really stressed the importance of giving back and helping the next group of guys.
So I just say anybody listening I don’t have it all figured out, but there’s something I can help with. I’m glad to do it because I owe it to the people that have helped me over to the game of basketball. cause it’s afforded me an unbelievable life that I’ve had an unbelievable ride with it, my family enjoys a great life because of it.
So if I can help the next guy, find their opportunity and find the next fit. I’d love to do it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:03:42] Boy. That’s great stuff. Thank you so much for being willing to take some time out of your schedule, to jump on with us, share with us and share with our audience. The experiences that you’ve been able to have throughout your career and for being willing to help.
And it’s one of the things that I think all of us in the basketball community have a pretty good [01:04:00] understanding of how willing people are to share and to be able to lift up the people that are coming up behind them. And so for you to share your number and just share how people can get in touch with you, we can’t thank you enough for doing that for us and for our audience and to everyone out there.
Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.