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John Carroll is entering his 21st season as the Boys’ Basketball Head Coach at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. At NMH, John has coached over 70 Division I basketball players and many more college basketball players. He has led the NMH basketball program to the distinction of being recognized as the best combination of academics and basketball in the United States.
In 2021-2022, NMH will have over 2 dozen basketball alums playing NCAA basketball including 14 in the Ivy League. An NMH alum will play in all 56 Ivy League regular season games in 2021-2022! NMH will also have alums playing at Notre Dame, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Northwestern, Washington State, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Colgate, College of Charleston, Tulane, and Elon in Division I.
In 2016, Carroll was recognized by the Positive Coaching Alliance with their National Double-Goal Coach Award.
After attending Northfield Mount Hermon, John played his collegiate basketball at Assumption College where he scored 1551 points and set numerous records for three pointers. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as a prep player, college player and prep coach in 2015.
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Grab your notebook and a pen before you listen to this episode with John Carroll, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Northfield Mount Hermon School in the state of Massachusetts.
What We Discuss with John Carroll
- Growing up in Queens, New York playing every sport with swimming as his best at a young age
- Watching and emulating Chris Mullin who lived in his neighborhood
- How his youth coaches instilled confidence in him and made the game fun
- “Imitate, assimilate, innovate”
- Technique is important to maximize your athleticism
- How would I do this if I was coaching? A question he asked himself often as a player
- Playing AAU Basketball with Kenny Anderson on the NYC Gauchos
- How he ended up at NMH as a player after high school
- His decision to attend Assumption College after figuring out what was important to him
- Working on Wall Street after college and putting basketball aside for a few years
- Getting into coaching at NMH with his former coach Bill Batty
- Coaching was a space where he could serve others
- The importance of being in the moment and being there for his players
- “Every action we took was back to, does this make us the best academic and basketball school in the country?”
- Creating a language in your program that is generational
- Micro-actions create culture
- Using specific hashtags on Social Media
- #It’s a Beautiful Day – (to kick your ass)
- His vision for success and building the NMH program
- Since 2008 NMH has sent 44 players to the Ivy League
- Attending over 150 different division 1 practices to learn and grow
- Why honest evaluations of his own players goes a long way in building trust and creating future opportunities for players at NMH
- “Be the coach you wish you had.”
- Why he doesn’t have starters, but instead has a “first five”
- Using 3 on 3 at the beginning of practice to evaluate player performance and build competitiveness
- Why he has players’ vote on the ranking of fellow players on the team
- Lack of information and lack of hope are killers for players who are not playing
- “Take your parents’ voices out of your head, take your coach’s voice out of your head, now whose fault is it?”
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THANKS, JOHN CARROLL
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TRANSCRIPT FOR JOHN CARROLL – NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON (MA) SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 524
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my cohost, Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to be joined by John Carroll, the head coach for boys basketball at Northfield Mount Hermon school in Massachusetts. John, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod. Absolutely excited to be able to have you on and learn about all the things that you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball, both as a player and as a coach, the impact that you’ve been able to have the young men that have passed through your program, let’s start out by going back in time to when you were a kid, how’d you get into the game of basketball?
What are some of your earliest memories of the game?
John Carroll: [00:00:36] No, I grew up in Rockaway Beach in New York, Queens, and there just wasn’t a lot of choice. You grew up playing sports and our neighborhoods great traditional basketball and McGuire brothers, Brian Winters you know, some really terrific basketball was being played and.
We hung out on the beach. We played basketball, we played baseball, we played [00:01:00] ball. I was a swimmer. And I just kept getting drawn back to basketball. When I was a kid, it was probably my third or fourth best sport. Swimming was probably number one and then baseball was fine. Number two. And I was really intimidated by the game of basketball.
There were kids who were just better. But I’ve found the isolating time of get into a court with just you and a ball, in a basket. I was really drawn to that. And when other kids were out doing whatever they were doing, I was at the court getting some shots up. I just really loved the sound of the ball going through the net.
And I think more importantly than that the math and science of figuring out which Arc I needed to put on from what distance and how to put it in the basket. It just seems to work for me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:01:55] I’m assuming you’re eating up analytics at this point?
John Carroll: [00:01:57] Yeah. I mean, I’ll like analytics a [00:02:00] lot you know, kind of skipping a beat or two, but my accounting major in college and I’m shooting 41.9% and you’re shooting 42.1%.
And we’re both hoping I’d like the ball to be swung to the guy who’s shooting the higher percentage. So like those types of things, the numbers of it all, even when I was a kid, it all just seemed to fit, you know? So basketball was huge and I had great, great, great coaches as a kid, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade that were very, very instrumental and just changed my, my level of play tremendously from fifth grade through right.
Because of the coaches I had the access I had to just really year round basketball was great.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:47] All right. I have two questions. So, first one, I want to come back to those coaches that you had at the youth level, who was the professional athlete that you looked up to growing up as a kid? Who was your hero there growing up?
John Carroll: [00:02:57] Yeah, [00:03:00] I mean he wasn’t a professional at the time. He was a high school guy and it was, it was Chris Mullin. You know, I would ride my bike around the city and find out where he was playing and I’d go watch him in the city-wide tournament. He would play at the plaintiff’s Varian. I find out where the open runs were and he we looked, we looked similar.
We played similarly and I was just like, whatever, he’s doing all the basketball court, I’m going to try and figure it out. So he was the guy that became a professional, but he was a guy that. Tried to emulate my game after as much as possible. And the best part is in the next neighborhood, over his youngest brother, Terrence and I were buddies and we played together on some teams and Chris’s other brother, John was very good friends with my cousins, so it wasn’t really hard to get his schedule and just kinda follow them around and see how he played.
So he was the guy that had the most [00:04:00] impact on me period on my, on my playing career, for sure. He had the most impact.
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:06] What did it look like watching Chris Mullin played pickup basketball back in those days?
John Carroll: [00:04:09] No, I say this all the time. Like I asked him. You know, who do you watch? And it better be someone that plays like them.
I have no business. My answer should never have been Michael Jordan. You know, so for me it was watching him figure out how to play amongst more athletic quicker guards, how to play how he figured out, how to play. It was almost like getting a cheat sheet how he played against precious, how he came off screens.
You know, it was really easy for me to just like, oh, that’s how I need to do it. So for me, it was really significant in the sense that he literally showed me how I should play and I could watch Bernard king go 50 for the Knicks [00:05:00] and all these great pros. But none of it was translatable for me.
And when Chris was so directly translatable, we had similar speeds. You know, everything was relative. I was just not as good as all the categories. It was very, very translatable to the level I was at. Just kind of, it took my game from point a to point J pretty quick.
Mike Klinzing: [00:05:26] How did you take what you learned, internalize it and then apply it to the way that you played.
What did that process look like? Was that you, as you’re watching him, you’re mentally taking notes, you’re actually physically going back to your house and writing things down and then designing drills or workouts for yourself while you’re shooting on your own, to be able to incorporate those things into your game.
How did you take what you saw and translate that back into your own playing career?
John Carroll: [00:05:58] I mean, I think [00:06:00] we have a lot of examples of people who have duplicated someone else’s game Kobe did that with Jordan, right? Like so much looks so familiar to Jordan. And I would do that. I’d go home and I’d write notes about how he came off a screen.
You know, how he created space you know, pump fake was great. And like, how did he do his pump fake? You know, you couldn’t tell if he was pump faking or continuing with the shot. Like, but for me it was really his coming off of screen flare screen coals using a regular screen. And just how he toyed with defenders who had the advantage, like those guys had advantages on him.
And somehow he was able to conquer despite not having the advantage. And I found myself in that situation a lot where I’m like, I don’t have the advantage. How can I create a chance here to score? How do I create an opportunity to frustrate myself? [00:07:00] And those are the types of things that I would just practice.
It was so much failure in it and the extra experimenting, but just trying over and over again, just repeating what works and how was there a direct result that would work. But most of the time I had to tinker with it a little bit to make it work for me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:22] Did you know that he was going to be a pro at that point? I mean, obviously you don’t know a hundred percent for sure, but you’re sitting there and you’re watching them and you’re friends with his brother. Is that the trajectory that everybody felt like he was on in the neighborhoods?
John Carroll: [00:07:34] Yeah. He was different. I mean, there were really great players back then Frankie Walker was an amazing player in my neighborhood. You know, Boo Harvey, Rod Strickland, Darrell Walker, Chris Evans, or call them behinds. I can go on and on and on and dropping all these guys. But he was different.
His ability to score his passion for the game was [00:08:00] different. It didn’t seem like he had other interests like this is what he did. Right. So he did, he did stand out and I thought I didn’t think there was anybody better than him. So I was like, he’s not going to be a pro who is going to be, he was the best guy around in my opinion.
Mike Klinzing: [00:08:22]
Did you ever get an opportunity to get on the court with him?
John Carroll: [00:08:24] I mean, he was older than me, even. We shot around a little bit together, but we never competed. I never got on his court. He was just, he was just age wise. He was just out of my reach. Understood. Probably never got on the same court.
Mike Klinzing: [00:08:40] You mentioned earlier about having such great youth coaches at the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade level. And I think that’s something that is so critically important. And we think about it both from the perspective of what it does for players. But we also think about coaches who might be listening to the podcast who are coaches at the [00:09:00] youth level.
What do you remember? Can you give us a specific instance or two or a specific memory that you have about what made some of the coaches that you had in those early years, so special? What stands out for you about them?
John Carroll: [00:09:14] No, it’s something that I get asked what’s the hardest part about coaching.
And for me it was it’s always, I get better smarter. And they stayed the same age, right. So I’m a year more experienced. I mean, you’re better machine I’m savvy or have more experience. And how do I communicate that message without skipping steps because I’ve gotten better. Like I still have to be able to deliver fundamental message to players without being bored by it.
And the guys we had in fifth grade, the Andrews Bogart those guys had done it so many times and they were as patient with us as they were the first [00:10:00] time. And they were as great a teacher as I’d ever been. And it never felt like they did it a million times before. So for that age group of fifth and sixth grade, it’s still in confidence and belief.
I did not believe in myself as much as they believe in me. It wasn’t even close. And it was to the point where I thought they were lying in their belief in me. Right. And they made it really, really fun and they gave us opportunities to think about it. And that was for me, those were really significant pieces of my development, where they told stories about guys who were not fifth grade superstars and became high school superstars, became college superstars.
And they were able [00:11:00] to connect with everybody on the court. And I think a lot of times and we happened to win almost every game we played, but they never talked about the win. Those that was just the product of all this really great stuff that they were doing. And you would leave the gym and you were like, I can’t wait to get back around these guys again.
And I think as a fifth grader, that’s a gift where, what you’re doing in fifth grade, you can’t wait to do it again because there’s just so many distractions, especially now. And there’s so many different coaches and you’re playing so many different sports to have a coach or in our case, we had three of them have coaches where you were like, I want to do this thing more.
And I think that was a real blessing for us in all of our, in Rockaway to have these types of coaches at that age, fifth, sixth grade you know, seventh grade, same thing. It’s a whole nother level. We had Bob Lucky as a coach that was like a whole nother step. But [00:12:00] it was really fun. Instructional educational, inspirational it’s almost like the the corny stuff, but it was all really, really true.
And they believed in me. And I think I needed that as at, at that age on the basketball side, on the sewing side, I didn’t need anybody to believe. Matt put in the basketball shot. I really needed someone to believe in that
That was something my father put me in. I started from someone else, five years old and I was competing at the city level and he had hopes and aspirations for me to be a college swimmer. And I was really good 5,000 sprinter. And then I also did in 16, 50 know milestone and it was great.
I loved it. But the joke I say, and it’s partially true. I just ran out of stuff to say to myself so much time with just you and your brain. And I just really ran out of things to say [00:13:00] but I think swimming’s a great, especially as a young kid where you can’t lift weights, I just felt really strong as a young person.
And forming does that creates really strong shoulders back. And as a young kid, it was an advantage for sure having that. But I love that. I, I swim more now than I did when I was a kid.
Mike Klinzing: [00:13:21] I would guess, and I am not a swimmer. My dad was a runner as a, as a kid ran in high school, ran track in college, and then he spent so much time running on the pavement that his hips and his shoulder and things started to fall apart a little.
And he became a swimmer later in life. And I remember when I was. Right out of college as a, as a former athlete. So I’m 24, 25 years old and trying to swim one 50 meter length of time. Cool. And almost just collapsing in death, not being able to do it. And I think about just you talking about to [00:14:00] things to say to yourself, when you think about the technique that’s required and how efficient a good swimmer as you watch somebody who’s a high quality swimmers, somebody who is performing at an elite level, and there’s just so efficient.
And then I think of what that must have looked like when I was swimming down the pool just like a, like a, like a, just a floppy fish and not being efficient at all. And just being exhausted at the end of that that one turn down the pool. I would guess that even though it may not be directly translatable, that, that refinement of your technique over time, I’m sure helped you with basketball and baseball and other sports that you played as well.
John Carroll: [00:14:38] Yeah, man. I think getting back to like the Cosmo thing, like I learned very early, that technique was gonna be really, really important to my athletic success. So you know, I use this getting back to approaching. This is what I say to my players imitate, assimilate, innovate, right. And imitate [00:15:00] exactly how we’re describing it and then assimilate, make it your own, get good at it.
And then innovate, like create something new out of it. I want to see something really creative. And I learned that from swimming, like you had to imitate the instruction and it was almost like a martial art for me, where. You’re learning a discipline technique and there’s so much advantage and technique and swimming relative than just being an athlete.
You know, like I could be fast, but this will make me faster. And especially in the 50 and a hundred where it was fingertip touching to beat your opponent every single technique chip mattered and you tried it. So I’m early age. I learned, all right, I can be better by learning technique. And then when I moved over to the basketball and baseball and football and all that I really carried that lesson [00:16:00] over because I figured out I can get some, I could cheat a little bit or get ahead or cut a corner by really mastering the technique as it was being taught and imitating it, and then assimilating it, making the mind, and then innovating a little bit.
That really made a difference, but that was definitely from swimming, the significance of technique and making it applicable to what I was trying to accomplish as an athlete at that time.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:28] Were you thinking of that only as an athlete or were you already starting to think about that and how it could maybe translate to coaching?
Were you still just focused as an athlete at that point?
John Carroll: [00:16:42] I mean, that was you know, probably eight to 15 where I really worked on learning, learning how to learn technique and how to I call, I call it like the brain to body conversation. But absolutely in school you read [00:17:00] about bell belch.
I’d write in plays in the library when he was at Andover. And that was, I was doing that. Like I was drawing up plays and figuring out which five guys I’m going to pick in the NCAA. Point pool that we created a lot of it came back to sports and you know, in hindsight I was doing a lot of coach prep as a kid, for sure.
Mike Klinzing: [00:17:27] Was it conscious or was it subconsciously? I mean, were you really thinking that, Hey, someday I want coaching to be my profession or was it just something that you kind of enjoy tinkering with? Cause that was the way that your mind was working?
John Carroll: [00:17:38] Yeah, I mean, it was really it was, it was the question I was asking most is how would I do this?
If I was to coach myself asking that question a lot as I got older and older and older, but if I like, if I was a coach, how would I handle this kid? If I was a coach, I would run. If I was a coach, this is what I would have. This is what I would have called time out, or I [00:18:00] wouldn’t have called them out.
Like, so there was absolutely that game playing happening. And in some instances because I had really good coaches and also bad coaches, I would challenge some of the bad coaches will pay. Why don’t we try this? And so I was doing that as a young, younger age for sure. And I really started to kick in like 13 to 18.
I was doing it more and more. And then 19, I did a lot, so I was doing it more and more for sure. So it started out kind of unconsciously or subconsciously. And then that became a very, very conscious,
Mike Klinzing: [00:18:36] how was that received? The coach is different era that we’re talking about, where I think today coaches are much more used to, much more open to players asking questions, players, wanting to know why players sharing.
There’s more, much more collaboration, I think between players and coaches today than there was during the era when you and I were players. So how did the coaches that [00:19:00] you played for, how did they react to you coming to them with questions or suggestions or things that, Hey, we should try this. How did that go over with them?
John Carroll: [00:19:08] Yeah, I mean you know, it wasn’t until I was really 19 years old and I played, I went to Northfield Mount Hermon as a grad, as a post-graduate. I graduated from high school and poly prep in Brooklyn, and I went over there as post-grad, it wasn’t until my PO my post-grad prep school coach, where he was really collaborative.
Most of the coaches there’s, there was an ego about it there was a control piece to it. And so, and back then, like you’re saying. No, our parents were more tyrants than partners and friends. And that was just the leadership we had. You know? You know, how many times when you were a kid, did you hear you ask the question, why am I doing this?
Cause I said and you know, so some of the coaches were not receptive to it or the [00:20:00] fifth grade, they were like come back and see me in 15 years, something like that. But I one coach who was like, you’re going to come back and tell me how right I was. And that stuck with me, even when he said that I was like, there’s no way I’m coming back and telling you how right.
You are. Like, you are so wrong. And I know you’re wrong. Even as a teenager, I know you’re wrong and I’m not. And he had like a real bottle about it. Like, you’re going to tell me how right I am. So that was like and it was terrible and he was really, really wrong.
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:39] What’s funny about that, John and I cracked me up and I think you’ll appreciate what I’m about to share that there’s something that I wonder if that guy even remembers saying that to you. If I was betting, I’d probably say he doesn’t remember saying that to you. And yet that’s something that you’re going to carry with [00:21:00] you to your grave that has probably had a huge impact on the way you think and the way you coach.
And I think that’s something that I always have to find myself reminding me when I’m doing things that the things that I say. Even though I may not remember them. They can have such a huge impact on the kids that we interact with as coaches. And I mean, I have things and I’m sure you have more than what you just shared there.
But I have things that coaches said to me that I’m sure if I went back and talked to them and asked them, Hey, do you remember when you said this? They would have no clue. And yet those are things that I carry with me that either fueled me in a positive way, or maybe fueled me in a negative way or built my confidence or tore my confidence down.
And it’s just a reminder of how powerful, what an adult in a child’s life, the impact you can have.
John Carroll: [00:21:54] Yeah, totally. I agree. A hundred percent.
Mike Klinzing: [00:21:57] So how’d you end up at Mount Herman after you [00:22:00] graduated from probably prep. What’s the story? Why, why, why take that extra year and go to Northfield Mount Hermon.
Just explain the process and how you ended up there.
John Carroll: [00:22:07] So my junior year, there was no three point line. I was 27 points a game. I mean, sorry, 17 points a game. And then my senior year, there was a three point line to the average 29 points a game. And it was such a new, the three-point line for high school was so new.
And I was like, I need another year to show people that I can do this. You know? So that was part of it. The second part was I played for the Bronx gauchos in New York city and all my teammates were division one guys. So Kenny Anderson was our point guard. He went to Georgia tech and Dave Edwards went to Georgetown, Texas.
Dave came with the St. John’s comrade, the crew and Pitt Eric mobiley wants to pit like these guys are going all over the place and I was the only guy who wasn’t going division one. And I also but I I knew who I was on that team. So I think [00:23:00] the real blessing of it was I was aware of my talent in relation to the talent pool house.
So when I was at the Gauchos, I was like, all right, if they play zone, I got a chance if they play, man, I’m applying. But I really did think I was being under recruited and I was like, I’m going division one. And at a high school, I had division threes. And since it was in twos, it took some official visits.
And I was like, this isn’t going to work. Unfortunately, my father explored some options and we did some local schools in New Jersey. And I can’t remember which one it was. He was, he was launched full of Blair and I was set to go there and they had a uniform and I wore a uniform from seventh grade to 12th grade.
How to wear a blazer on it. And I just couldn’t do it again.
Yeah. And I was the financial aid to poly and I was wearing the same blazer and tie and it just, I just didn’t want him to do that. [00:24:00] So at the last minute we reached, we changed plans and he allowed me to look at some schools in the Winland. And the first school we visited was north of on Harmon.
And I met the legendary Bill Batty and fell in love with the place know before I even got to the campus. Like, but there’s this long majestic, romantic driveway. That’s like half a mile long. It feels like, and it’s all trees. And it coming from Brooklyn, New York, it was the most trees on the machine.
And the coach said all the right things. Like you come here, you’re gonna shoot it. You know, we’re an unstructured structured offensive team and we really want to score a lot. Awesome. So that was it. I was, I was going to do another fifth year in order to show people what was up like they met.
So that’s how I ended up at NMH and then I made sure I played with, it really was some of the most fun basketball ever played. [00:25:00] You scored 140 points, 130 points, 125 points. Like we were scoring at a ridiculous amount of time. And no, I was averaging 27 points a game and had all division one schools came in and started working me.
But they were losing. And you know, I realized that if I was going to go to visit someone. No, my ass kicked for four years and I just wasn’t interested in doing that. And then if I was going to win in division one, I’d have to walk on. And I wasn’t really interested in doing that. And what I came to realize is that I, I needed to participate in the winning and at the same time I needed it because of scholarships.
So that’s how I ended up growing division two. But that process really, really helped in terms of me helping our guys with college placements. And I, the ego that I had as a senior in high school [00:26:00] was really impenetrable and being more fluid in the recruitment process as a post-grad allowed me to find the, what was important to me, truly important to me in terms of what I needed for a college experience.
Mike Klinzing: [00:26:19] So that’s a pretty mature decision in that you think about. And I think my story is probably fairly similar to yours. Like I grew up here in the Cleveland area and I graduated from high school in 88 and there were a lot of really good players in the Cleveland area back then. And I played against them all summertime and in a few basketball and in different places and parks and whatever competition.
Yeah. I was always the guy that was kind of, sort of left behind and people were signing and I’m like, I’m as good as him. I’m better than him. How come that’s not [00:27:00] coming to me? And I’m not sure I would had the same perspective that you did. I really wanted to be able to go division one. And then one division one offer that I ended up getting, I ended up taking and ended up working out for me and I had a good career and I got a chance to start for three years.
But I think that was more, that was more luck than it was me making a really good decision. I’m not sure, I’m not sure I learned anything from my story that I could pass on effectively to an athlete to help them to make a good decision. Mine was just like, it was the only offer I had. I took it and it worked out, but I don’t think it was because of anything strategic that I did.
So it’s interesting that you were able to kind of come to that realization that look, I could go and play at a division one school that may not be a winning program and the idea of suffering through four years. Losing basketball. Being able to realize that, Hey, if I just go a level down and I can have everything that I want, I could be and play an important role on the team, and I can also win to me.
That’s a pretty mature decision to make as a 19 year old.
John Carroll: [00:27:59] Yeah. I mean, I felt like I was lucky more than intentional. Like I looking back on it, it was probably more mature than I thought it was at the time. You know, I was like, look, I just want to ball. Like, I just want to play on a play in hindsight, there was definitely more strategy into it than just, I want a ball I want to get on the court.
But you know, I didn’t really, I think it helps to share that story with our players, just to give perspective about I mean, we say all the time to our kids is who you are as a. Junior is going to be really different than who you are at the, at the semester bike and who you are at the end of your junior year, because you may not recognize who you were at the beginning of your junior year.
And if you have the same perspective about colleges, then that’s just not consistent. Right. [00:29:00] And you’ve got to allow yourself to change and you got to allow your perspective to change and be fluid. Right. And there was no way I was going to allow my perspective to be fluid coming out of high school.
And it did allow me that extra year to mature a little bit to change what was important to me, like division one became like the sixth sense and at a high school, that was absolutely positively the number one thing. And mostly because of the. The peripheral things around me, not what wasn’t true to me.
So it took me that time to figure out what was true to me, rather than listening to all the other voices telling me what was the way to go. What’s your favorite memory from playing college basketball?
John Carroll: [00:29:48] For me, it’s always players, teammates, the big games, the winning you know, I was fortunate that a couple of game winners hit one to [00:30:00] win the quench, the regular season title.
That was amazing. But it was really the collaborative experience. I mean I just, I got called last week about getting inducted for our college hall of fame and like it’s relative to the basketball world. It’s a small feat, but for me it was really a big deal. Like I remember playing out assumptions.
And playing in the Andrew Laska gymnasium. And that means very much something and seeing the alum, she would come back to games and those guys meant something to me. So it’s just being part of a fraternity. A family is God. And having this the army or Navy uses the gray line and just being a piece of a link in a chain of history at a place.
You know, that mattered to me when I was playing there. And when I got that call, it really triggered all of that, all those memories, like just [00:31:00] being in the gym, working out in a place like Assumption who had the history that it had at one point we had more parents than any other school in the country at any level.
And like that, that meant something I think really, yeah. I think being a piece of that was probably. The memory I take most out of playing college off of it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:31:23] That’s awesome. Congratulations. I mean, I think you, when you think about that, I have not been fortunate to make it into my college hall of fame.
I’m in my high school hall of fame. And to your point, not very many people care about that. I do. It’s important to me. It means a lot. It means a lot to me. And I think ultimately that’s probably, that’s probably most what’s most important because as you said, numerous times here so far, you spent a lot of time in your own head trying to perfect and do things, whether it was with swimming or baseball or football or basketball, whatever it was.
And I know I spent a lot of time by myself with [00:32:00] my basketball, trying to figure it out. And so those, those honors that recognize the amount of time and effort that you put into it. Again, they may not mean anything to the greater basketball world or new people that are outside of your immediate circle.
But man, it means a lot in that interior circle, I can completely relate to the feeling that you had. So congratulations on that. What does it look like when you graduate? Explain from the moment you graduate, explain your path. To come back to Northfield, Mount Hermon as a coach, just kind of give us the lay of the land of what you did after college and then how you end up back at your Alma mater.
John Carroll: [00:32:43] Yeah, so it was basketball was burnt holes cut. You know, I had people talking to me as a junior in college and they were like you can go overseas, you can play. And I was like, wow, sounds really great. That sounds really great. It’s something I’m really going to be into. And then my senior year was really difficult.
Didn’t have the year that I hoped [00:33:00] or had 1200 points as a junior, I ended up with 1500 points for the career and like I was on target to set all the, all the three point records in new England. I was really, really on target. And then I had some personal things. My mom got sick. Senior year did not go the way I wanted it to go.
And I was really shocked. I was like, I don’t want to play in that ball. And I literally didn’t touch a ball for over a year after I graduated. And a buddy of mine that I played practical basketball with Keith Fernando called me up. I was living in New York and he was like wanting to come up to new England.
I came back to the we’re going to move to Boston and start playing again with him. And it all came back and I was like, Aw, man, this is great. I started to love basketball again. So I was like 25 years old. And Keith and I found a lot of success in this program, new England basketball world where we were having the time of our lives plan ball.
[00:34:00] And we were, he was a great general manager and we just get the bomb squad. That’s the best scenario.
Mike Klinzing: [00:34:07] If you’re not the GM, if you have somebody else, who’s the GM, that is the best role to be in. Cause I’ve been the GM and that is not a fun.
John Carroll: [00:34:16] Yeah. I mean, this guy loved it. I mean, he he’s on the call on the he’s on the phone all day.
Anyway, next thing you know, we got this guy packed 10 are playing Stanford and
you know, our front court is 6, 10, 6, 10, 6, 8, all athletic, big, strong guys. We can shoot ever shots. We want, they get rebounds. They kick it back to the house. We shoot it. So it was great. So found another passion for basketball. And then I worked for a couple of wall street firms worked for a while.
There were a small regional boutique firm. And then I moved over to Morgan Stanley and worked there for, or you get this number wrong now, like five or six years. And I liked it, but I didn’t love it. [00:35:00] And the guy I was working with my partner, he loved it. And we did a big account or whatever, and it really energized him and gave him satisfaction.
And on the flip side, I was like, well, that’s okay. So I knew I had to do something to find what he had. And I was very lucky that I had that example of someone who truly loves what they were doing. And at the same time I was 30, 31. And I was like, well, hold on. How many more wins you’re going to get out of this?
You know, I had a serious girlfriend and I was like, I don’t know if she’s going to like this at 33. So I thought we would give it a shot. And I called my prep school coach and said, Hey, I think I want to come back to coaching. And you know, he hooked me up with. Part of the math department and there was no way I was going in the math job and then also the admissions office.
And I ended up getting a [00:36:00] job at the I resigned from Morgan Stanley in may of 2001. And didn’t get the job until August of 2001. So I wanted wound up working in admissions and came back as an assistant coach. And the first week I was there, I was like, this is what I’m supposed to be done. And it didn’t take long.
Mike Klinzing: [00:36:23] What’d you love about it? Like what, what, what was it about that initial experience stepping back on the floor as a coach? What, what was it about coaching that immediately drew you in? What did you love about it?
John Carroll: [00:36:38] No. So for, to compare the two occupations and I joke about this sometimes, like when you work on wall street and you work as a coach or a teacher.
You’re working with people’s two most important things their money and their children. And unfortunately it’s in that order usually it’s not. [00:37:00] But the, the work you know, when I was working at Morgan Stanley, we were bringing companies public and we were pricing it at 17 and it opened up one 50 and people were making a lot of money in seconds and not at one 50.
And the stock would close at 1 52 and they were like, why’d you sell me out of 150. She just pays a lot of money. And that there was no satisfaction in that. It was really just transactional. And I don’t know what they were doing with the money they could have been. Doing really wonderful things with it, or they could have been buying more clothes.
Right. And there was, it was empty for me. And the first week I was there, I was like, oh, I see. Like, I need to be a servant leader. Like I find pleasure and enjoyment and satisfaction in serving others on their path [00:38:00] to achievement and success. And that’s what was missing. Like, I wasn’t necessarily interested in the personal glory of, I just made more money.
I can go to my show vacation, Mike, that was too self serving and almost made me uncomfortable. And then when I found the space where I could serve others and the lessons I learned in life, the good on the bed I could implement and help them figure out what would make sense and work for them.
That’s when I realized that was what was missing. So I found that the first week sitting with kids and having them ask questions and I’m like, oh my God, like my experience exactly what this kid’s going through right now. So there was a real for me, there was a real response very, very, very natural [00:39:00] response to that kind of act that hit me perfectly.
I was like, great.
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:07] What part of coaching maybe came a little bit more difficult to you? Which one? What was it about coaching that maybe you had to work a little bit harder, that natural connection and being a servant leader and being able to share your stories with kids comes naturally what doesn’t come as naturally.
John Carroll: [00:39:24] The gift of bill batty has, if you’re with him, the only place that you’re supposed to be, right. So he made it right. Everybody who was with him feel that in the moment this guy was 100% present with me and I had to learn that part of it to be, not have the person sit across from me saying this guy has, is really busy.
He’s got things to do. [00:40:00] He’s got places to be. He’s got other people to talk and I wasn’t good at that. And I, and I think as a coach, like you’re, like we said earlier, they’re paying attention to everything. And if you don’t have the space and the. The ability to make the kid feel like this is important.
It’s gonna have, it’s gonna impact your relationship. So I was able to watch, I was his assistant for six years and I watched them over and over and over and over to that. And I became better at it. You know, it’s tough to ever conquer the master and like overcome their talent, their ability.
But that was something I really need to work on where being present in this moment is really important. And for this kid, and I need to match that level of importance to that kid. Like I have to be [00:41:00] there for this kid right now.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:01] Is that the most important lesson you’ve learned during your time as an assistant that has led to your success when you eventually get the opportunity to take over the program?
John Carroll: [00:41:12] Yeah. I mean, I think that that was no, I think that was, was there’s, I don’t want to, I’ll have to think about whether I was as the most important, but it certainly was the area that I needed to focus on in order to become a better coach. For sure. I think a lot of coaches need that. So I think for me that was, that was not the most important stuff anymore in that conversation for sure.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:40] Was the transition, like success and you’re taking over for someone that. You’ve worked for that. You have a tremendous amount of respect for, and [00:42:00] now you have to come in and put your stamp on it is probably the wrong way to say it, but now you’re going to be the one making the decisions instead of making suggestions.
So do you remember what your mindset was the time in terms of what you wanted to do and your vision for how things should go or how you wanted them to go, that we’re going to allow you to continue to have the same type of success that the program had had previously?
John Carroll: [00:42:28] Yeah, I mean, the, I was, this was the biggest blessing I’ve had as a coach is he wanted me to be better than him.
Right. And I tried to do that with all my coaches, the same exact approach he had for me. I was running everything like I did every single kid who has ever played at north on since 2002. Was recruited, has been recruited by me. Did the scheduling running some [00:43:00] offense. I was doing some defense, like he was allowing me access to every single piece of coaching.
And you know, that question I asked, I said to myself, when I was younger, what would I do if I was a coach, like I was constantly doing that shooting next step. And it wasn’t second guessing or challenging him or anything like that. He was basically asking me to do that. What would you do? And I was like, that’s great.
And I never felt like there was no, there wasn’t, there was limited access to the program. So when the time came for me to be the head coach. It was supposed to be the 2006, 2007, 2000. And I said, I could feel that he wasn’t ready to go. Right. And I said to Bill, I was like, look, I’m not in any rush. This isn’t you’re my Dean Smith.
I’m in no rush to get you out of here. If you want to coach another year, that’d be great. Great job. Let’s do it again. Let’s do one [00:44:00] more here. If I had any, any second guessing about whether or not those right decisions, his 300 team was at home and the place was chanting his name. And like, that was his final game.
And I was like, well, this is perfect. But when the, when the time came to move over, I say to young coaches all the time, you have no idea how hard it is to move one seat to the right. To stand. Do you fold your arms, put your hands on your hips to yell and scream. Like, what are you, what are you going to do?
And did a lot of times young coaches that make that move don’t have think about that. And they just do what every other coach does, like what everybody coach says. So I’m gonna understand. And I think the adjustment really is it’s like, how am I going to be a head coach? Like really? W am I going to stand it?
Am I going to sit? Am I like, what is my thing that I’m going to do? And I think again, the fluid part, I was just super fluid about how I did it. You know, for example, we, I [00:45:00] call the first three plays of the game and I looked my point cards, make calls, and I want to see what kind of game they’re cold.
Sometimes they’re calling a bad game and sometimes they’re calling a good game and sometimes they’re calling again that I wouldn’t have called, but I learned a lot from I would not have done that year. So I think that there’s just, it’s just you’ve got to commit to being a lifelong learner and I’ve learned that from bill and.
I’m always evolving as a coach. So my first year I really wanted to set how the biggest question I asked was like, how can we be different than everybody else? And we couldn’t compete with the Woosters of the world, the Bruce’s of the world, the main central Institute. We couldn’t compete with them apples to apples because we were a different school.
You know, some of those schools have a lower academic admission standard than we do. And so I [00:46:00] couldn’t go head to head for some guys that were phenomenal basketball players because they weren’t students, or they were phenomenal basketball players, but they weren’t good citizens. And our schools, you need to be an incredible citizen, an incredible academic kid, and you got to play basketball.
So then I was like, how can I. The question I asked was if I’m a kid in Omaha, Nebraska in the middle of the country, and I’m an amazing kid, and I’m an academic and I’m a killer on the basketball court in that order, where does that kid go to prep school? And there wasn’t anybody who had that market. And I was like, we have to be that school.
So that was 2007. Every single thing we did was to that. So everything we said, the coaches, everything we said to the players, everything we said to recruit, every action we took was [00:47:00] back to, does this make us the best academic ambassador school in the country? So in 2007, we started saying, we’re trying to be the best academic about how school in the country.
And then a few years later we just took out trying. And we just said, we’re the best academic ambassador school in the country because you have evidence. But that was the biggest thing. Moving over one seat is who are we going to be here?
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:28] I think that’s a great question to ask.
I mean, it really is. And I think it could apply to almost any coaching situation. What makes us unique. And when you think about what you’ve been able to build, and I think about, well, what’s your program’s philosophy and you just laid it out that we’re going to be the best basketball school and we’re going to be the best academic school where the best combination.
So anybody who fits that profile, [00:48:00] why wouldn’t they want to go. And play for you at NMH. I mean, it just makes complete sense that you have to build it and to be able to have the vision and then to make it a reality. So what were some of the struggles in getting there? Cause I know it wasn’t just super easy to wave a magic wand.
What were some of the things that you had to make sure you put in place in order to make sure that that happened?
John Carroll: [00:48:24] I mean, like we get asked about our culture all the time and before you have a culture, you have to have a language, a language predicts, any culture. So the hardest part was creating a language that could be generational.
Right? So if you, if you talk to one of our guys from 2008, 2012 and 2020, and you said, are you a hundred. They would know what that means, right? So we with boys, I think if you [00:49:00] take paragraphs and put them into three words, it makes communication easier. So are you a hundred? We believe that if you give a hundred percent effort, a hundred percent of the time, you can predict your future.
And we would have, gosh, give themselves scores on the 72 mom. You know, I’ve only coached probably for hundreds of my career, but we have all that type of language. So that’s one is the, the time and the commitment it takes to creating a language.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:36] Is that formal or is that, is that formal or informal John?
In other words, do you have a written document or is it more of a living, breathing organism that everybody just kind of circles around, but it’s not written in.
John Carroll: [00:49:49] Yeah. If you know how I describe it as it’s micro actions, right? So it’s hundreds and hundreds and thousands of micro-actions that you are constantly throwing at your team [00:50:00] and the message may be duplicated and replicated and repeated, but it’s how you tell the story is different.
The words you use are different. So I think that’s I don’t like to write it down, like, but at the same time we use social media quite a bit and we use hashtag, so tonight we posted spike Albrecht’s birthday and we write, we have a hashtag and I sure champions you know, he w he was MVP of our 2012 team.
The woman who won the championship, he goes to Michigan. I was a freshman, was all final. Two time, captain Michigan, then it goes for dope. So we post caption, happy birthday to spike all brick and then make your mom Michigan, blah, blah, blah, and hashtag champions. We also have another hashtag leaders leading leaders, two time captain.
And then one of his teammates responds would have second to make legends. And that’s another hashtag. [00:51:00] So to see the guys use our hashtags on their own profiles is great. We have a great one. It’s a beautiful hashtag it’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day to kick someone’s ass. You know what I mean?
So we do a hashtag, let me say it’s a beautiful day. And Andrew Playtech did it before every game at North Carolina and we’ll Tara. She who is a manager of Quinnipiac, did it before every game at Quinnipiac and cobble nipple did it before every game at her. And these guys and Jordan features the buck now.
So watching that language go with them is really awesome. So I think it’s hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of micro-actions that really makes an impact as far as the cultural part of it. So I think that was, that was that was hard. And then creating apostles basically, and people who are going to spread your word was also [00:52:00] hard in recruiting.
If you don’t ask for anything, you’ll get everything. And we were asking for something very specific, great kids, great academics, great basketball. And what that did was people would self eliminate referrals and themselves because they didn’t match those categories. And then what happened was when people thought of, oh, I have a great kid.
Who’s a great academic who, who plays basketball, I’m assuming I’m gonna make. So that took some time to create also. And then it made recruiting really easy. Because you have a lot of people thinking about us that because of the category,
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:46] What does it look like? Explain for our audience. And in all honesty for me, what does recruiting look like for you at the prep school level? So how are you identifying kids are now, is it as you [00:53:00] described where people have a very specific they have a good picture of what you guys are. And so if they have a kid that fits that profile, they know where to look.
And you’re one of the places that they’re going to look or you’re the place where they’re going to look. Just what does the, what does the process look like for you in terms of identifying players and bringing in guys to the right fit? Just what does it.
John Carroll: [00:53:23] So, I mean, it’s very different than it is in college.
Like everybody’s going to college. I mean, not all the time elite in juvie, but the great majority of kids are going to play high school basketball, and they’re going to college a very, very, very small percentage. Very small is thinking I’m going to go to prep school. That was true really 15 years ago.
Now it’s way more common. So, but it’s hard to like if you’re a hockey player and you’re in sixth grade, [00:54:00] you say, this is what I’m going to go. Seventh grade, this was eighth grade, ninth grade. I’m going to go to this school. And then ninth grade, I’m going to reclassify and go to prep school and I’m going to spend four years of prep school.
And then I’m going to spend two years in junior hockey. So that’s the hockey path. You’re three years old, they know the hockey and the basketball path is more it’s just a wider range now. So we were still introducing kids to prep school, the idea of preschool and what it means. And you know, there’s a lot of professionals out there and the good part is as a prep school for everybody, the bad part is when a great kid is an academic, it doesn’t go to the right school.
And now they’re out of prep school. That’s more of a basketball factory. And the kid’s like, well I’m not hanging out with the kids that I want to hang out with and I’m not doing any academics. Right. So identifying those kids, we used to call it hunting unicorns because ideally we would have guys between 6, 6, 7 foot, there were [00:55:00] multiple additional skills and shoot threes, like No, that’s how we like to play with.
We play positionless basketball or high up averaging 87 points a game. And we want guys who are really skilled and smart and all that. But now with the increasing amount of preschools, we call it hunting purple unicorns. Because it really is so unique. Find a kid who wants to the kids that we get are not kids who are having a bad experience or whether they’re having a great experience, but they need to have a bigger, better experience times.
Cause like, while I’m really doing things are going great, why would I change? And the special media is you always have to play on the next. And for us, we think in high school, We’re the last court, like we played college rules play hopefully 38 games. We played in seven countries in the last five years.
Like there isn’t a bigger, [00:56:00] better court than the one we’re planning. So that’s the hook because that kid’s like, well, things are going great. No, I’m going to be player of the year in my state. And it’s like, yeah, like if you want to be a high school superstar, stay, if you want to be prepared for college, I don’t have to leave.
You know? So there is that the idea of prep school and introducing people to it. Because I don’t know, I think because a universal understanding of what prep school is, especially in relation to what people understand college to be. So it’s a little bit harder of a pitch, but once they see it and they get on campus and see our 1200 acre campus and the academic program.
No, this $35 million building and this $49 building and the access we have to our players. And we’re not a part of a Federation. We’re not limited to how much access we have for players. And you know, the support we get from the Underarmour and the support we get from the school and the travel and the successful God’s sovereign college, it becomes really easy.
Mike Klinzing: [00:57:03] All right. Talk a little bit about the success that your players have had at the college level. Just throw some numbers at us, just so our audience has an understanding of what you guys have been able to do as a program in terms of getting players to some of the best schools in the country. And then follow that up by talking a little bit about how you’ve built relationships go on the other direction.
So we just talked about recruiting players in talk a little bit too, about how you built relationships with college coaches over the course of your tenure as a head coach. Yeah.
John Carroll: [00:57:36] So I’ve been there 20 years and. The last since 2008, we’ve sent 44 players to the Ivy league. Next year we’ll have a player in every single Ivy league game.
That’s incredible. So there’ll be 56, regular season games, three post-season games will 59 games and [00:58:00] every single one of them will have one of our guys. You know, there’s a writer doing a story and he thinks that’s the only time that’s ever happened in college basketball. The program perspective, we’ll, we’ll have 14 guys in the Ivy league this year.
That’s more than every state besides the state of California. So they have 5,200 high schools. And they have, I think, 15 we’re one high school.
Mike Klinzing: [00:58:25] That’s incredible, John. It really is. I mean, it’s incredible.
John Carroll: [00:58:28] So that’s the big thing. And then next year we’ll have guys that Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Colgate, Ilan Washington state college of Charleston, Hawaii.
Let’s see, three at Harvard, three of brown, two Penn Cornell [00:59:00] soon to be announced, she gonna
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:02] Look at the website. You’ve got Massachusetts.
John Carroll: [00:59:07] Dartmouth.
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:07] I don’t know if you said Dartmouth, those are the ones that, that those are the ones that was the ones that I see in front of me. I mean, it’s just, it’s an incredible roll call. And how have you built those relationships with college coaches? Obviously the kids that fit your profile are kids that are attractive to every college in the country.
Obviously they have the ability with their academics to open up a wider range of schools they can consider depending upon where their basketball talent lies, but just how have you been able to build the types of relationships with college coaches to be able to help your student athletes make the best decision for where they should end up as a college player?
John Carroll: [00:59:48] Yeah, I mean it was just back to being a lifelong learner part. I’ve been at thousands and thousands of college practices. I think I’ve been to 150 different division one schools. [01:00:00] So my family and I. Texas for new year’s Eve in 2019. And we went to Shaka was generous enough to let us in the practice of Texas.
We went to the San Antonio spurs practice with my daughter TCU ADA is a former NMH basketball guy. SMU sent this kid to us and he got us on the practice. So like I’m just always going to practices and learning. So there’s that part of the access that the college coaches are so generous and want people to come in and learn and feel like if you want to get better, come watch Michigan’s practice over.
I could just go on and on and on North Carolina. So I’ve gone to their practices and then on the recruiting side, We just helped. We tell the truth, right? So Phil Martelli from Michigan called the other day and he’s like John, we’ve known each other a long time, [01:01:00] you know, BS. Tell me about this kid and have a very straightforward conversation.
He’s like a new app that the straight shot from you. We’re coming out to see this kid. So I don’t waste people’s time. I don’t call my brother and say, Mike, you’ve got to come to our campus to see this kid. So I can put on social media that Mike Brey showed on our campus. His coach, two of our kids, and I called him about both.
And you know, one turned out to be fine Nash captain and the other one’s name chefs, Kate who’s there now six, 10 kid, just an Ashley who was the most efficient, offensive player in the country. So I don’t waste their time and I tell them the truth. And over the years our guys have been prepared. You know, we, we say we don’t want you to be, to arrive on a college campus.
You want me to achieve on a college campus. And those [01:02:00] guys fortunately have been prepared to achieve when they get there and are our freshmen are competing for starting spots rookie of the week in the league. So what we have said has turned out to be true in the recruiting, and then they come back like you know, we, we have they’re, they, they know that they’re gonna get a straight shot.
They know that they’re going to get someone who hopefully is prepared, but we’re not going to waste their time. Inflating a kid when we know it’s not true.
Mike Klinzing: [01:02:36] How do you balance the needs? The players on your roster in terms of playing time, in terms of skill development, in terms of preparing them for whatever their goal is.
Because obviously at this point, the kids that are coming to you that are a part of your roster are kids who are desirous of you have an opportunity to play college basketball [01:03:00] at a high level. So how do you work with players, their families, their parents? What are those discussions like? What’s it like during the season on the practice floor, when you are trying to meet the needs of all your players and win games and do all the things that you’ve talked about, building accountability and getting them prepared for the next level, but also having a tremendous amount of success with the team in the moment when you’re playing your schedule, how do you balance all that?
John Carroll: [01:03:30] Yeah. So, I mean, I tell my assistant, I tell my assistant coaches when they’re new to me, a few things, one of them is be the coach you wish you had. And really think about that every day. And at the end of the day, ask yourself, am I the coach? I wish I had. And if you didn’t do it that day, fix it either coach, you wish you had a tomorrow.
Right? And the coach I wish I had [01:04:00] was transparent, upfront, consistent, honest opportunity is always available. And that’s what I try to do. Right. So with our families, we have every conversation. There’s no, they aren’t. My parents can call me anytime. No, this isn’t a local high school where they’re going to see me in the supermarket and we’ll see JC on Tuesday at the big Y.
So they have actions. And I think the true success that we had with our players is when that triangle of player, parent and coach is aligned. And if you have a new coach, throw him in there too, but that’s the sweet spot. So I want to have conversations with the parents as much as possible. And I want to get ahead of any [01:05:00] issues that I know are coming down the line.
I’m not going to wait for the issue to present itself because then who knows what kind of emotional state everybody’s on. I want to have the conversation as quickly as I possibly can and be ahead of time and present the scenarios that could possibly arise. So here’s the good, here’s the bad.
This could happen down the line. Oftentimes my response is maybe like, I’d like to commit, I want my recruiting to happen in the summer play you and I want to be done by August. Right, right. Or you may not be okay. The commit until two hours before the matriculation, but it’s just printed. Cause that has also happened for our players.
So I’m just trying to be upfront and honest and being realistic about their expectations. As far as the, on the courts, this is really where it comes back to being a coach. You wish you had [01:06:00] I in college I played on the second team and I would kick the crap out of it first group and the next game, nothing would change.
And in college coaches get their five favorites and they lock in and amaze my five favorites of the five best guys. And that changes literally every day and our guys know it and we don’t call starters starters. We call them the first five and the reason we call them the first five, because they are the first five that have an opportunity to finish the game.
And it’s a trial and the games are trials. So if you’re averaging 27 points a game, today’s not your day. Then the next guy was shot. And our guys know that that’s true. And every single day they show up knowing they have a shot. And I have played on teams where no matter what I did, I didn’t have a shot.
[01:07:00] So in our gym, you’re going to see our guys going at it because they have a shot. You know, we didn’t, we didn’t have COVID games last year, but the year before we started 11 different gosh, 12 different guys. 11 different guys would be the high score. We had nine guys score 20 points in the game. So it’s, it’s real with us.
So you don’t have much, there’s not much managing of ego when the numbers were the numbers like your son did start and he went over six, your son did start and he had 20. And guess what? He started the election. Your son will start today because he’s got, he got his ass kicked and practice yesterday.
Your son started because he was the best point on practice. So when you’re making that it’s not quite the analytics that we talked about earlier, but it’s, it’s still, you have a shot here and show up [01:08:00] and you know what? We try to teach our kids. When you get to college, you’re going to have to pick someone’s minutes.
Learn that here, take a teammate’s minutes. Let me create a very competitive space. Well, they have to learn to bring their best every single day because everyone does have a shot here. So if you don’t show up, you’re gonna lose it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:08:23] What else do you do to instill that competitiveness? Do you chart you keep score?
Do you track wins and losses? What else do you do besides obviously the most important thing where a kid knows if I compete and I work hard that even if I was the 11th man yesterday, I could be part of that first five today. Are there any other things that you do to instill that competitiveness?
Because I think I’ve talked to a lot of coaches. I think that’s one of the things that they’re always looking to do is how can I make my practices more competitive? How can I bring that competitiveness out of. [01:09:00] My players and maybe get it out of a kid who doesn’t have that competitive streak naturally the way we’d all as coaches love them to have.
John Carroll: [01:09:07] No, I believe you could definitely teach competitiveness and toughness.
People like, oh, you can’t teach talking said, I disagree with that. We start every open jam with three on three. So we have a winters court. We have a transition court and I’ll lose your sport. So we usually have about 18 guys, sometimes 20 plus guys in the gym. So three on three on each court the first, the first court to five, the other games and whatever those scores.
So if you and I are playing on the court, your team beats my team five, four, and on the other end of the court on the transition court, it’s one. Well, the team has one moving on. If you lose, you go down. If you lose on a losers court first team that gets seven wins wins the day. You can only get that [01:10:00] on the winners court.
So you can’t get number seven on the losers park or the transition court. You gotta get on the winners court in order to win. If you win three on three, you get to pick the other two guys that you’re going to play five on five with we have two courts going, so we have the main court and then the side court, I don’t look at the side court.
I don’t care what’s happening over there. Only looking at the winner score.
Mike Klinzing: [01:10:30] I’ve got a question for you. How accurate are the choices that you’re winning three on three team makes on a daily basis?
John Carroll: [01:10:38] That’s a great question. I want to see who they’re picking. I want to see if they’re picking their friends or they’re picking the guys who played the best against them in three on three, like who.
I want to see guys that are paying attention and we’ll call guys out. You think that guy was the best guy. Like he was the best guy yesterday. He wasn’t the best today. So I [01:11:00] want to see who they are. That’s fascinating. So the, I can answer your question, like winning is really important like that you get rewards for playing well.
And when and that’s out of season in season, we do chart. We do not do an uncompetitive drill. So we have about 15. So our practices are set up with the first 35 40 minutes. Is you the individual we’re working on skill development. The next 35 to 45 minutes is us our team development. And then the last, depending on the time of year is them or preparing for our opponent.
We’ll do it. So in the you part the skill development, everything is competitive. And we have about 15 drills. We rotate three a day, four a day. And those have [01:12:00] you know, made baskets, reps, whatever it is. And we chart those throughout the year. And we do, we do a Columbia drill and early in the year, everyone gets like 40 something by the end of the year, that 120.
So I want them to compete with themselves and the progress they’re making to make more progress. So they compete not terms with themselves. I need to do the show better. I want to get a bigger number. So that is very competitive. So we do a lot. Everything we do is compete. And usually it’s competing with themselves super important.
Mike Klinzing: [01:12:42] When you start talking about the ability to track and for you as a coach, to be able to look at. Some raw numbers and see how that translates to what you’re seeing at the eye test. And I think it’s also a good way to have conversations with players of like, look, you think you’re a great three point shooter?
[01:13:00] Well, we’ve been tracking you since last summer and here’s your percentage and what you’re doing. And it’s, it’s I think a good way to at least start a conversation, to be able to have an honest conversation with where the player, where you are like, look, this is where you are. We, I have a coach that I used to coach with and he did something similar to what you described with the three on three, where you’re picking players and you’d have two team captains per day, pick two different kids for practice every day.
And the most kids got to pick the teams for practice that day. And so then he would chart. Who’s the first pick. Who’s the second pick. Who’s the third day. Who’s the fourth thing and eventually you build up enough data where a kid starts complaining or a parent comes in to talk to you about playing time.
And you say, look, we pick teams every day. Your kid is always the 15th guy pick. It’s not just me, who has the opinion that he shouldn’t be playing and there there’s and then you, obviously, you have other evidence that you can point to. But again, just by having the nature of [01:14:00] emphasizing, winning, and look, if I’m going to pick players to be my teammates and winning is important to me, I’m going to pick guys that are going to help me win.
I’m not going to pick my friends. I’m not going to pick my roommate. I’m going to pick the players that are going to help me to win. And to me, there’s no better way to, as you said, learn winning than to, than to win, to emphasize it as a coach. It just makes complete sense.
John Carroll: [01:14:19] Yeah. Winners get rewards at our place.
I think this, this covers the playing time thing and also the competitive part. So one of the things that we do is we get them together as a group and we say, okay, we’re going to vote. Who’s our best player. And they’ll vote. Okay, Mike’s one that’s fire. And I’m like, all right, everyone raise your hands.
Ask for the majority. If I feel like you’re voting for a friend, I’m gonna throw you out. They vote. So, all right, Mike, stand right here. And then we go down the list. All right. Who’s number two. And they all vote and I’m like, okay. That was a [01:15:00] majority. All right, bill, go over here. All right. Who’s number three.
Okay. Avery, go over here. Who was on before? All right. Great. Rolling. Go over here. And we do it all the way down the line. So it’s one, two, however many guys in the gym that day one to 22. Okay, great. Who decided that Mike was number one and they will like you did. And I was like, I didn’t even vote. And they’re like, oh, we did.
We decided that Mike wasn’t one. I’m like, no, Mike decided he was my boy. And he decided it last April. That he was going to be number one today and you decided you’d be too, and you decided you’d be three and you decided to 8, 12, 15, 20th. You decided your spot here. And that shocked them to like, holy cow, like, I am responsible for my spot.
The team voted, it was majority rule and there’s no other input here. It’s just our plane [01:16:00] and how my teammates receive me. And that really puts them in a place. So I need to move up. And what I do is I’ll say, look in November, December, everybody plays in January. We shortened the bench cause it’s a big play and we’ll go to like 13 times, like, we’ll stop here and then February we’ll shorten it again.
And then we’ll stop here. And the guys who were on the other side of that line, Start to have some urgency about it. Like, oh, I don’t want to be on the other side of that line. And I was like, look, here’s the thing here that this can change every day, you know? And that creates urgency. And I think anything a coach can do to create urgency, whether authentic or artificial and just have an urgency moment, triggers, competitiveness that the kids didn’t really expect.
And didn’t see, that was happening in a kind of fallen asleep to it. And then they [01:17:00] realized, holy crap, I’ve been competing this whole time. And I haven’t been competing hard enough and not really triggers it. And then you see a leap from the group because the number one guy doesn’t wanna lose a spot two, three, or four and 20th now on a tear to catch somebody.
And now you got this competitive thing happening. It’s pretty cool to watch.
Mike Klinzing: [01:17:25] I’ve seen and been in so many different situations, either as a player or as a coach, or just making observations of different programs where the kids have no idea where they stand. And they don’t know if the coach thinks they’re the best player on the team or the worst player on the team. I don’t know if I’m player number four or I’m player number 11.
And I think that does, to your point, it can definitely lead to some complacency where I perceive that my position on the team is [01:18:00] here and that may be completely inaccurate. We all know that players sometimes don’t always have an accurate perception of themselves. I think they have a pretty good perception of teammates, but they don’t necessarily have a good perception of themselves in a lot of cases.
And I think what you’re talking about. Giving kids a lens to be able to see the whole picture of not only their teammates, but also where they themselves fall into that pecking order on the team. And look as an adult, whether you have whatever job you have, you want to be able to know where you stand and what’s expected of you and where you rank and people who are competitive.
I think want to know that. And to your point, I can only imagine what you see after doing that particular exercise. That guy 21 is like, I’m not 21. I’m going to move my way up and I can just see how that could spark guys going at each other and really working and making each other [01:19:00] better and ultimately making their team better and giving themselves more opportunities to improve.
John Carroll: [01:19:05] I think, lack of information and lack of hope as. Are killers. Right. And I think as far as the killer, as far as the player side, like delusion is the killer of all athletes. So I’m really great. Like that’s just destroyed more athletes than any other thing. But when you can create situations of that transparency and access to where they are, and it’s real, like it’s tough to argue a democratic vote of your teammates.
Like your opinion can overcome that these guys voted and it’s not like this is a great exercise. I know you’re part of the Positive Coaching Alliance. And like, they do a great exercise. Like they say, take the voices out of your head, take your parents’ voices out of your head, take your [01:20:00] coach’s voices out of your head now, whose fault is it?
Right. Right. And. That, that exercise provides that opportunity. Like now who’s fault, is it it’s like, well, it’s your fault, you know? And it’s your, and it also is your responsibility. Like I’m where I’m at. It’s my, I view I should have praise. I’ve done this. So like, that’s the part that I really like is you know, if you take the coach’s voice out and take the parent’s voice out, we’ll take whoever And that whose fault is it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:20:31] It becomes a lot harder to delude yourself in that scenario. Let’s put it that
John Carroll: [01:20:35] way. Yeah. You know, it’s like for us, it’s personal accountability, best version of yourself. Those are the things that we’re working on. And those micro actions, more of those micro actions that teach you personal accountability,
Mike Klinzing: [01:20:50] John, we are coming up close to an hour and a half.
I do feel like shout out to Trey Morin and I do feel like we got the real JC. So I think we, I [01:21:00] think we had a great discussion. I really appreciate it before we get out. I want to give you an opportunity to share how people can reach out to you. Find out more about your program, connect with you on social media, and then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
John Carroll: [01:21:13] Great. So if they need my contact information it’s on our website NMHschool.org and my email is JCarroll @NMHschool.org. And then if they want to get me at all on social media NMHbasketball on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube it’s all the same. So they can just direct message any of those sites and they can get ahold of me.
Mike Klinzing: [01:21:44] John, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule, staying up late with us tonight. We really, truly appreciate it. And to everyone out there, thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.