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Twitter – @JDuke__
Jordan Duke is the Boys’ Basketball Head Coach at Lutheran West High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He led the Longhorns to a 17-7 record this past year in his first season. Duke spent the previous six-years (2015-2021) as the Head Coach at Cleveland Central Catholic where his teams had 1 Regional Championship appearance, 3 Regional Semi-Final appearances, 4 District Championships, and 5 District Championship appearances. Duke has amassed a record of 124-49 as a Head Coach and has helped several of his players to the collegiate level. He has coached 7 NCAA Division I players, 5 NCAA DII players, 4 NCAA Division III players, and 9 Junior College players.
In 2014-2015, Duke also held the role of Associate Head Coach at Cuyahoga Community College, where his duties included game planning, scouting, practice planning, recruiting coordinator, and organizing youth camps.
Duke played high school basketball for powerhouse St. Peter Chanel (Bedford). He was a three-year starter who played in one OHSAA Final Four tournament. Duke was a two-year First Team all North Coast League (NCL) and received OHSAA All State Honorable Mention as a senior. He graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership.
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Get ready to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Jordan Duke, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Lutheran West High School in the state of Ohio.
What We Discuss with Jordan Duke
- His early experiences with the game growing up in inner-city Cleveland
- Why he believes Michael Jordan’s mindset makes him the greatest player ever
- “You’re going to remember these seasons and have memories for the rest of your life.”
- “I like to make those moments about them and how they can fight through it.”
- Why he values being in the building every day as a high school coach
- “The first piece of success is you being a part of the community where you want to have success”
- Getting an opportunity to coach AAU and making the most of it
- How coaching AAU led to a paid coaching position as a freshman coach at Central Catholic High School
- Taking over the Head Coaching Job as an interim mid-year at Central Catholic at age 22
- Not getting the job at the end of the season and leaving to coach at Cuyahoga Community College for one season before returning as the Head Coach at age 23
- “I understood what kids were going through. I was able to relate to those kids.”
- “The one thing that I don’t think that I had when I was in high school was an open line of communication to my head coach, to be able to express how I felt.”
- “I wanted to have an open line of communication with my players whether it’s good or bad and be able to have tough conversations with them, even when they didn’t want to hear it.”
- “When I was 23 sometimes I got caught watching the game instead of coaching.”
- Why he believes in changing his style of play year to year based on his personnel
- Learning from other coaches including Coach Senderoff at Kent State
- When it comes to implementing something new, “You have to learn it and you have to be able to teach it.”
- Why the Lutheran West job was so attractive to him
- “I had to show them what I knew and show them that I cared about them and show them that I’m here to build the best program for Lutheran West.”
- Building trust with players
- “We always try to make our workouts and our practices as competitive as they possibly can be.”
- “We are putting people in as many uncomfortable positions as possible during practice.”
- Splitting up his starters during practice
- You have to know the strengths and weaknesses of your coaches and you have to know what they’re capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing.”
- “It’s their role to do it, but it’s my role to make sure it’s done the way I want it done.”
- The importance of loyalty in a staff
- “I’m looking for energy and I’m looking for knowledge of the game and I’m looking for you to have aspirations.”
- “The biggest piece of running a program is you have to make decisions every single day quickly.”
- “I try to make open gyms as hostile as possible.”
- “I am able to wake up every single day and do what I really love to do.”
- Having an impact on the community and on kids
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THANKS, JORDAN DUKE
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TRANSCRIPT FOR JORDAN DUKE – LUTHERAN WEST (OH) HIGH SCHOOL BOY’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 638
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, but I am pleased to be joined by the Head Boys’ Varsity Basketball Coach at Lutheran West High School here in Cleveland, Ohio, Jordan Duke. Jordan, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
[00:00:14] Jordan Duke: Hey, thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:18] Mike Klinzing: Excited to have you on. Looking forward to diving in and learning a little bit more about your story.
Let’s start by going back in time to when you were a kid. Tell us a little bit about your first experiences with the game that you remember.
[00:00:30] Jordan Duke: Yeah, no. I went to a public school in the inner city of Cleveland called Harvey Rice high school, and I started loving the game there just because I saw older people playing you know, in the, in the gyms and in my local recreation centers I saw older kids planting.
I just really felt like I wanted to do the same things that they did when as they were playing. And that kind of motivated me to start playing the game of basketball and learn how to play the game of basketball. So it started there. And as I grew older, my parents took me out of public schools and put me in private schools and I started playing organized basketball a little bit more, and we started winning and I really started loving the feeling of winning and being a part of a team.
And so that kind of just propel me to continue to work harder and get into different arenas of basketball and start learning more and more about the game.
[00:01:30] Mike Klinzing: When you think back to that time as a kid, where did you go to play? Who were you playing with? Did you spend more time practicing on your own or were you playing more pickup basketball?
Just, what was your experience like as a kid, let’s say in the Middle School era.
[00:01:46] Jordan Duke: Yeah. So I was going to Woodhill park which is kind of almost if, if anyone’s familiar with Benedictine high school, it’s kinda right up the street from Benedictine high school. And we I went with my friends sometime.
I went with my brother sometime and sometimes I went by myself and I found myself watching just older guys play we everyone has them in their areas rec legends, and, and people are known at the park and known for playing at the park. And those guys are kind of the guys I just kind of was looking up to at that time to, to play.
And you had to be good to be on the court out there. And so, as I grew older, I started shooting by myself. I would get kicked off the, off the court and have to watch, and I enjoyed that as much as being on the court. So I mean, those things just made me want to come back every day to be able to prove to those older guys that I was able to play the game of basketball.
[00:02:53] Mike Klinzing: Growing up in the LeBron era of basketball here in Cleveland.How much influence did that have on your feelings for basketball, if any,
[00:03:00] Jordan Duke: it really didn’t have, LeBron may be a few years older than me. I want to say maybe what is LeBron 37 or something like that? He’s a few years older than me, but I was more of a Jordan and Kobe fan, like looking at those guys and, and watching those guys play how those guys matriculated through the, through the NBA and their careers and everything like that.
Like, I was more of a, of a fan of those guys now don’t get me wrong. LeBron James was a stud around here and he was always a guy that everyone wanted to go see, and it was hard to see them. And you heard so much about ’em and everything, but like me actually like being mesmerized by someone, I think it might’ve been more so Kobe and Michael Jordan greatest ever. Greatest ever as Michael Jordan and I debate daily about this at work.
[00:03:55] Mike Klinzing: Good answer. All right. Give me your best arguments. I love it because I’ve had this conversation. Numerous times with people. I don’t have it on a daily basis, but on a podcast we’ve talked about it a bunch of times, anybody who listens regularly knows my feelings about Jordan.
So I’m just curious to hear, give me your case.
[00:04:10] Jordan Duke: Yeah. So in my mind, my opinion, I think that it’s more so about a mindset for me, and it’s more so about how you impact that every day of your team like, and I think Jordan, it was more of a mindset guy that was just so dominant every single day like, and I’m not saying that LeBron isn’t, but from what I saw and what I know and what I’ve looked up and read and been a part of, like it’s tough to, it’s tough to have that mindset every day of just wanting to be the best all the time.
I think Jordan when it being able to win six rings in three back-to-back at one point in time, then three back to back at another time, like it’s extremely hard. Now the argument is, is that the competition wasn’t as good the argument arguments are there’s no way that Michael Jordan can play in this this day in time.
And then my argument of course, is there’s no way LeBron can, will be able to play. And in that era of time like, I mean, it’s always both sides have great arguments and at this point, I think it’s more so preference in what you want to do. And I think Mike was a guy who really wanted to prove every single night that I’m the best at what I do, and I’m going to be the best for the for the rest of his life at basketball.
And I love that mindset. I love hearing the stories and watching the stories of people, not liking them in practice and people not wanting to be around them in practice. And, and because of how hard he pushed them and you know, him demanding excellence out of the, the last guy on the, on the team for them to get to what they needed and I think that mindset is kinda kind of resembles who I am and who I always want it to be and who I’m becoming.
And I love being able to push people. I love to be able to put people in uncomfortable situations and put myself in uncomfortable situations to be able to see and get the most out of it. And I think that’s why.
[00:06:28] Mike Klinzing: I love the answer of mindset, because for me, with Jordan, it always comes down to, you can go through and you can list all the championships.
You can list all the scoring titles. You can go through all those tangible things that you can point to on a piece of paper. Like you can do all that. But to me, it comes down to number one. He was a guy who, even though he was the best is the best, never took a play a game two weeks. He just never took any time off on the floor and on both ends of the floor.
And to me, that sets him apart from just about everybody who’s played the game, that mentality of I’m coming at you every single second practice games of a meaningless game in February, or game seven of the NBA title. Right. For sure, for sure. Yup. That competitive, that competitiveness never, never turned off.
And that to me is a huge piece of it. And then the second thing that I always come back to. I’ve watched a lot of sports in my life. And when I think of my experience sitting down and watching Michael Jordan played basketball, there has never been a guy that I have watched that I had no doubt what the outcome was going to be when he was going to take the last shot or when it was an important game or whether or not this guy was going to come through.
Now, did his team lose sometimes? Sure. Did he sometimes miss a game winning shot? Sure. But when those things happened, I was stunned beyond belief that like, oh my God, I can’t believe he missed that shot going into those final plays or that big game. I always felt like Jordan is going to find a way to get it done.
There was never any doubt in my mind. And then again, 90% of the time that came to fruition, I’ve never watched another athlete in any other sport. I guess the only guy that’s come close to. Is tiger woods back in his complete heyday when he was just going crazy where you felt like he was going to make every putt just come through.
But even tiger never reached a level of Jordan with me where I was just like, he’s just not, he’s not going to fail. And that to me is what stands out. When I think about him. In addition to all the things that, again, you can list on a piece of paper, it still comes down to that mindset, that mentality, that intangible thing that he had, that I just don’t think is replicable from the competitiveness to the ruthlessness, to just the desire to win at all at all costs and do whatever it takes from an effort standpoint, a competing standpoint, and an energizing teammate standpoint.
I just think he’s hands down the best basketball player that I’ve ever seen. And I there’s let’s put it this way. If I was starting a team or I had to win one game or I had to have one best season. There’s no question that Jordan’s the guy, right?
[00:09:19] Jordan Duke: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:09:22] Mike Klinzing: All right, let’s go to your high school experience. What’s your favorite basketball memory from high school when you think back?
[00:09:29] Jordan Duke: Oh, man. I played on a small school. I went to St. Peter Chanel high school shout out to all the Firebirds out there. I went to this small school St. Peter Chanel high school in Bedford right across the street from Bedford high school.
And we had a graduating class of 67 kids and we competed so hard on a yearly basis in almost every sport there that I can remember. And when I was a junior, we had no idea about anything, basically like we were just listening to our head coach and our coaches and finding a playing a game that we loved and.
You know, that year we ended up going to the state tournament in the final four and in high school. And I ended up hitting a big shot in the regional final to help us to win against a Malvern team that was maybe 23 and 0, or 23, 24 and 0 or something at that time. And it was a great feeling to be able to just do that for my, for my teammates and some of those teammates to this day are, are my still best friends.
And looking back on those, those times with those guys are so memorable and I’m able to recap a lot of those memories of those basketball seasons. You know, with those guys and that’s some of the same things I try to tell my guys now is, is that you’re going to remember these seasons and have memories for the rest of your life.
And I remember though I remember the shot, like it was tonight like it was yesterday and being able to have those moments and share those moments with my teammates and my friends that that that was big. We ended up losing in the final four to a team called Worthington.
We didn’t play our best game, but it was a great experience. Being able to be the last two, four teams standing in you know, in division three or four, whatever we were like, and Back those memories, right? There are just priceless man. Like that whole year was just price as we were winning, we had a great chemistry with the guys that we had plan and it was something that made me always want to be a part of something like a team a bond or something like that. That’s what kinda made me really want to be an always be a part of that because of those memories a little bit you know, as my senior year came, I got benched as a senior from starting and our head coach played another guy who’s one of my good friends, one of my best friends to this day. He ended up playing him over me. And I ended up with like the sixth man coming off the bench my senior year. And that was something that I had to deal with internally and deal with and figure out what I was doing wrong and how I was doing it wrong.
And that kinda gave you…built some character in me to still be able to play the game at a high level and still have love for the game, even though things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go and those are just memories that stick with me that helped me coach to this day.
[00:13:01] Mike Klinzing: How often with your players, do you cite experiences that you had personally as a player when you’re talking to your team?
[00:13:09] Jordan Duke: I usually, when we, I like to have a lot of like, one-on-one conversations with my guys. Like I never want my guys to feel like I’m just coaching basketball, you know? Like I never want those guys to feel like I’m only here from 3:30 to 5:30, or I’m only here for game days.
I’m only here for workouts. I want them to truly believe that we can talk about whatever they want to talk about. And so I try to stay away from during practices and games, telling them what I did or what I went through in those moments. And I like to make those moments about them and how they can fight through it.
And when we have our one-on-one conversations just about life, I like that’s when I like to really bring up some of the things that I went through and some of the things that I went through growing up and all of those good things to being able to, you know really relate to them as to what they may be going through.
And I think that helps a lot more for them knowing that I’m able to share my experiences, that aren’t always good.
[00:14:15] Mike Klinzing: When do you get the opportunity to share those, those, those conversations? When do you have. At time to be able to build that in and be able to have those conversations and share those experiences with your players.
Quickly before practice is that after practice, just how do you go about making sure that you get a touch on your guys and are really having those deep, meaningful conversations where you can build the kind of relationships that you’re talking about?
[00:14:39] Jordan Duke: Yeah, no. I work in the building and I have worked in the building at both schools that I’ve been at.
And I think those times when they come in and eat lunch with me or they come into after school, right before we work out or practices, or if we’re in the off season and we’re not doing anything or if they are in a study hall situation like I always try to find those times to really talk to them about life and growing as a young man and, and, and those good things, I think it’s tough to find those times all the way. So you kind of have to make those times to talk to them about that stuff because you get so caught up in the, every day, year to year schedule of things you really lose, lose focus and time on really getting to know your kids and talking to your kids.
So I think I find time doing it for during the school day during, right before the school day or right after the school day or after practice or right before practice like I try to have those conversations to give them just some reassurance and some security that I haven’t always done everything right either and it’s okay to make mistakes.
[00:15:59] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it’s important to show your human side, right? I think that’s something that if you think of maybe the stereotypical coach in the past, it wasn’t really done that way. You had kind of that my way or the highway fire and brimstone type of coach where you weren’t building that relationship.
You weren’t talking about, Hey, here’s the mistakes I made or some things that maybe you can learn from my experiences. And that, to me, that’s definitely an improvement that has happened in the coaching profession over the last 15 to 20 years where we just have so much more of that relationship building and pouring into kids, not just as basketball players, but really getting to know them as people and really investing them as, as, as a students, as athletes, as family members.
And just really getting to know your kids, I think is something that’s improved tremendously in the coaching profession. And you talked about being able to have those conversations during your time in the school day. How do you look at. Being in the school on a daily basis. I think about coaches that are not in the school and how difficult that must be.
I know when I was an assistant varsity basketball coach, I was at the elementary school. And even for me being in the school district as a teacher, but not in the same building with our players, I always felt like I was the last person to know because our high school, varsity coach was in the building.
Our JV coach was in the building. And then I was literally a hundred yards across the parking lot, but I felt like I was a world removed because I didn’t see those players walking in the hallways between classes. I didn’t see them in the classroom at lunch. I didn’t get a chance to get updated on, Hey, practice got changed to this time or that time.
I always felt it was a huge, huge disadvantage. And we know that there’s lots of coaches out there that don’t work in the school. They maybe have another job and they come in and they’re coaching after school. And to me, that always feels like a challenge. So how, how important do you feel like it is for you.
To be in the building. And besides that daily touch on the kids, what else are some of the advantages that you feel like you have by being in the building every day?
[00:18:04] Jordan Duke: Yeah, no. Being in a building is huge. I think because there’s so much that kids go through on a daily basis. And a lot of the times you, as the coach are someone that they confide in and someone that they trust.
And so being able to, whether it is keeping them from getting in trouble or keep them on track or check up on them, or they know that your presence is there. So they may not do that dumb thing that they may be thinking about doing you know, like being in a building is always huge. I know some coaches who aren’t in the building and I don’t know their reality with it.
But I do know if I wasn’t in the building at my last job and at this job, there’s a lot of stuff that would have went on that could have affected the success of our season or our culture or our kids maybe. Being kicked out or whatever the case may be or suspended like that also can affect your culture and your team.
And I think that is, is huge to be able to be in the building when I was at Central Catholic, I wanted to be in the building so bad that I took a pay cut from the job that I was at just to be in the building like, because I knew if I wanted to build a solid program and I wanted to have success for longevity of success, I had to be there every day to be able to instill in them the characteristics and the standards that I needed for them to have. And to this day I wholeheartedly believe that you can, the first piece of success is you being a part of the community of where you want to have success. And that comes with being in the school.
[00:20:00] Mike Klinzing: All right. Let’s talk about the opportunity at Cleveland Central Catholic. How do you get that opportunity to become the varsity head coach there at Cleveland Central Catholic?
[00:20:10] Jordan Duke: Yeah. No. So I Started coaching at Chanel where I was before my head coach left and Another coach got hired and didn’t bring me on.
And I was just kinda searching. Cause I knew I wanted to coach and everything like that, every all of my friends told me you’re going to be a coach. You’re always coaching us, trying to coach us. And you’re not even my coach yet like those type of things.
And so like, I actually ended up exploring it one of my best friends to this day he always said like, man you’re going to be a coach dude. Like you’re going to be at Chanel coaching while we’re all coming back, watching you coach. I know it. And I’m like, no, I’m not, I’m not going to be a coach.
I don’t want to be a coach. Like, and it ended up manifesting itself to me being a coach. And so that’s kinda how I got into it. My dad was the freshman coach and you know, I was helping him coach and as my head coach left to go over to Billy’s, I ended up searching you know, to be an AAU coach.
And so Jermaine Gay, who is my dear friend to this day, he ended up giving me a chance and giving me a team I didn’t care if it was a terrible team, a baby team, a young team. I just wanted to do my own thing and start coaching, you know? And so I ended up getting a, I ended up getting a team and coaching and I got into coaching and started you know, knowing more people. And then I ended up having a coach, a team of four, one of my friends, and it was at Central Catholic. The game was at Central Catholic. And so I ended up going and the head coach of Central Catholic was John Harris and I was coaching.
And I was a young fiery, I’m still young, but I was a very young fiery you know, coach and learn all the things that I learned and all the things that the coaches taught me and we were winning and everything. And he stopped me and said, Hey where do you coach at?
And I said, oh, I just coached AAU right now. I’m kind of giving my time to John Hay high school in the winter, but you know, it’s nothing serious. And so. He’s like, well, I want to meet with you about being maybe a freshman assistant at my school.
So I was like, okay, like, let’s meet about it. You know? So it was a paid position and I wasn’t being paid to coach at that time. So I was excited about it, you know? And so I decided to be a program. And I knew what Central Catholic was about because we played them twice every year at Chanel.
And I knew they had great tradition and history and all of that stuff. And I was excited about it. And so I took the job. And as that year I got in there and had great relationships with guys and ended up being moved up to like the JV assistant. And went from there a year in a year out.
The head coach after like my third year, I think it might’ve been, the head coach ended up having some issues at the school and midway through the end of the year, he was having more issues and they ended up you know, parting ways with each other.
Right before the playoffs. And at that year I was the lead assistant and I was 22 and the lead assistant. And they ended up parting ways a day before, like the districts in my final game. And it was my turn to step up, I guess I went into the Athletic Director’s office.
And as coaches, we all voted on who should take over and they, everybody voted for me. And so I did it. And as I took over we ended up going to the regional semi-final against Poland Seminary and lost by, I wanna say six or eight or something like that. And it was a tragic year for everybody, man, you know the coach was a real big relationship guy.
All the kids loved them and you know he was he was a tough coach, but all the kids loved them. And so it was a lot of tragedy for those guys. That had to go through that, that transition. And so they opened up the job afterwards. I thought I was going to get the job. I really wanted the job.
And I thought I was a shoe in for it because we had went to the regional semi-final game. And I’m thinking like, man who else could have took them to a regional semi-final game? They gotta give me the job. Right. And so they ended up, I ended up meeting with athletic director and he just goes like we’re going to open the job up.
And after that I kinda was like I was young, but I wasn’t dumb. So I’m like you saw that writing on the wall and I saw the writing on the wall for it. And. So I went through the process cause I had never really been through the process of being a head coach. And I went through the interviews and it came down to be the last person that you know, it came down to me and another guy and they ended up giving the other guy the job and wanted me to stay on with them.
And I ended up not staying on and going over to Cuyahoga Community College and starting to coach them. But and then after I left there for a year, they ended up calling me back and asking me to take the job at Central Catholic. And you know, I interviewed and got the job and at 23 and started to kind of take off I kind of knew exactly what I wanted.
I knew exactly what how I wanted to do things. I reached out to my assistant coach when I played Chuck Russo and Anthony Gabriel. And those guys came over with me and kinda was a backbone for me to progress through that, through your my early years of coaching and I think I had success because I had those guys and, and as I had those guys continuing to help me, we had success because we did things the right way.
It was a tough place to be at, to build and win. But we did it and with a Testament to my staff and to those players that are like family to me today, you know it was because of them, they bought into a 23 year old and what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. And I’m successful today because of those guys.
[00:26:25] Mike Klinzing: What’s something that, right from the beginning, you feel like you were pretty good at, when you think back to that first year as a varsity coach at Central Catholic, what’s a coaching skill or some aspect of coaching that you feel like right from the beginning, you had a pretty good handle on,
[00:26:42] Jordan Duke: I think it goes back to what I said about going through like a rollercoaster of my years in high school of starting, not starting wanting to do more as a basketball player than what I was able to do.
And we were extremely structured where we were adding which is not a bad thing, but Yeah, as kids, you always want to do more and you always want to be the guy you always wanna be that guy that’s averaging 20 and all of that stuff. And so like, those were realistic things for me in high school.
And so as I was going on the rollercoaster in high school I went through some of the same stuff that kids go through today. And me being 23 at the time, taking over a program, I understood what kids were going through. I was able to relate to those kids on a level for them to understand that that I understood and I’m trying to help them as best as they can to reach the things that they need to reach and to buy into being a part of something bigger than themselves.
And because it was coming from me at such a young age and imploring those guys to buy into those things. I think they were just like, okay, well, he went through to some of the same stuff like he’s done some of the same stuff and had success you know, buying into a system buying into what a coach says and playing as hard as they possibly can, playing for something bigger than themselves.
And because they saw in a, they were able to hear me and relate to me. I think that’s the biggest thing that I was able to do when I was first starting out was just relate and have open lines of communication. The one thing that I don’t think that I had when I was in high school was an open line of communication to my head coach, to be able to express how I felt.
And I always knew that I wanted to have an open line of communication with my players whether it’s good or bad and be able to have tough conversations with them, even when they didn’t want to hear it. I always told myself that I was going to tell them what they needed to hear and not what they wanted.
[00:28:59] Mike Klinzing: That’s a really good answer, especially when you start talking about as a young coach and your ability to relate to those guys who you’re only 6, 7, 8 years older than some of them, maybe even less it’s at a certain point. And being able to have those connections means so much, and it continues to need so much, no matter whether you’re a young coach starting out in your career, or you’re a veteran that’s been around for 30 years.
I think those relationships, like we talked about earlier are really, really important. So to follow up on that question of what were you good at? What’s something that you feel like, man, I’ve gotten a lot better at that since my first year.
[00:29:38] Jordan Duke: I think it was, it might’ve been just like, if we’re talking basketball, like I think game managing and knowing what to do in situations that are turning points in games.
When I was 23 sometimes I got caught watching the game instead of coaching. And I think that now I, I do a better job of just staying locked in and focused on every single possession not letting possessions go with me, not being locked in and knowing exactly what I want accomplished every single possession.
And back then, I think it was more. You know, I was giving possessions up because I wasn’t managing them and I’m not saying that I’ve got you when you overcoach, you can overcoach some time and, and be overly coaching in the game. But like, I wasn’t as focused with you know, every possession and knowing what we wanted to accomplish and having a game plan for every single game and I think that I do a better job of that now is making sure that no matter who we played, there is a game plan and how we’re trying to attack them and what we’re trying to do against them to be successful.
And back then, I was just hoping the players were good enough to get me a win. You know, I mean, we had our structure, we had what we were doing offensively and defensively, but I don’t think I did a good enough job being detailed in game planning.
[00:31:10] Mike Klinzing: How did you develop that philosophy of play?
As a young coach, where are you getting stylistically? The way you want to play offense, what you want to do defensively. Are you building that from the coaches that you played for? Are you building that from the coaches that you worked with? How are you incorporating the things that you’ve learned heading into that opportunity until you feel like, Hey, this is really the way we want to play.
How long did it take you to kind of get a feel for that? And where did your initial thoughts on philosophy come from?
[00:31:42] Jordan Duke: Yeah, so I’m really big on changing year to year with who we have. We have some core values in what we do defensively and some things that we may do offensively, but I’m really big on changing year to year.
You know, like a lot of people are, are like, and it’s nothing wrong with it, but a lot of people have their offense and how they want to run it and what they want to do. And. They’re putting kids inside of that like, and that’s all cool like if it works for you great. But for me, I think I’m more so of a person that wants to change yearly with who we have.
And if we have some of the similar guys, then maybe we don’t need to change that much, but you know, stylistically, when I first started coaching, of course I heavily relied on my coaches that coached me in high school. Coach Russo was huge and he still is huge and, and what we were doing offensively and how we wanted to attack teams offensively.
And I was always a pretty good defensive player. So I kind of was able to spearhead a lot of what we did defensively. And as I went through my first couple of years, that’s kind of how we did things, but as I grew as a coach and, and continue to grow as a coach, I really become, like I said in the beginning I just become I want to do things the way of what we have as far as kids.
So if we have a certain type of kid, then I want to play you know, that style that’s going to help us bring out the best in that kid like, and I want to put it. So be able and I want to be able to change to be able to change every single year if I need to. Depending on the type of players we have and I think this year at west I wasn’t able to play the way I wanted to play, but we were able to change and do things that were able to help the style of players that we had.
And that’s just who I am. I mean, offensively now, I’m a real big studier. I watched basketball daily all day long. I study college coaches and I study NBA coaches and I study other high school coaches and a real big you know, influential person for me is Coach Sendy at Kent State.
And he does a great job, different things every single year with his guys and being able to watch those practices and go, go and watch how he implements different things and how he emphasizes different things every single year. And his practices, and how he gets things done has always been influential to me.
And I’ve been able to do that yearly and built relationships with those guys and kind of tweak it to what we have to, to what we have, but be able to use everything that I learned from picking up on different concepts and with different coaches, believe to what I see. Like I said, from Coach Sendy and how I played when I was at Chanel, when some of the things that, you know that the new school of basketball is doing, trying to incorporate all of that every year into what we have.
And I think it kind of builds up to your style.
[00:35:06] Mike Klinzing: In order to be able to do that, obviously, as you said, if you’re going to be changing styles and doing different things, you obviously have to be educating yourself all the time. And that’s what you’re talking about when you’re going to a college practice, when you’re watching and study game film of other high school coaches, when you’re watching games in college on TV, and you’re trying to pick up little things that you can add and incorporate to me, that’s kind of a fun way to coach where you obviously want to tailor what you do to your personnel to a large degree.
And you, as you said, there are some coaches that maybe make some tweaks, but they have their system and they have the way that they play. And they kind of just put the players into that system. And then you have other coaches where. You look at your personnel and you say, okay, this team maybe is going to be a team that can play pressure, man, to man defense.
Oh, this team we have, I’m not so sure we can do that. Maybe we need to play a little bit more zone. Maybe this team’s uptempo and maybe the next team you have, we’re better off walking it up and playing half court or offense. So I think to be able to be that flexible, you have to be able to get out and educate yourself and make sure that you have a wide array of knowledge so that you can look at the X’s and O’s look at your talent that you have on hand and figure out, okay, what’s going to be the best way for this team to win.
And one thing I will say about that, and I’m sure you’d echo, this is, it makes year to year. It makes things more interesting, right? Because you know that, Hey, we got to figure this thing out and really tailor what we do to our personnel. It’s not just coming in and being like, all right, we got the first four weeks of practice plans already written because we do the same thing every day.
When you’re coming in and you’re teaching different things based on your personnel. To me, that would keep coaching fresh and interesting every year, every single year. I don’t know if you feel that way or not?
[00:36:47] Jordan Duke: Oh, absolutely. And I think it gives me a little anxiety almost, but it’s fun for me every year to try different things and, and take that into a season and make it work because you gotta, you have to continue to learn about those things that you’re trying to implement and how you’re going to practice it and how you’re gonna drill it every day and, you know get better at it.
So you can be as effective as possible. And I think that is the fun part every single year is that you’re able to have something new that you want to try. So you have to learn it and you have to be able to teach it. And then being able to give it to the kids for them to carry it out.
It’s a fun thing. Every single year training. Get your coaches on board with it and get them to believe in it and get them to want to teach it with the same passion that you have. And, and I think that like you said, that’s the fun part that’s of continuing to learn every year and continuing to want to try different things and be confident to try different things.
We go at it with our COVID. And with different things that we want to try, but that’s good. Our coaches have their own mindsets and they have their own things that they want us to do. And it’s always funny coaches meetings because we challenge each other and some of the things that we want to do and at the end of the day, it makes it tough for me because I’ve got to you know kinda sift through all of the suggestions and all of the things that we should do and try to take everybody’s advice and make it what’s best for our kids.
And I think that’s the fun part too, is, is getting everybody on board to one common goal of what you’re going to do every year.
[00:38:36] Mike Klinzing: Definitely a huge role as a head coach, right? You want to have those arguments behind closed doors. And as soon as you step out of the coaches office, everybody players, parents school community has to see everybody on the same page so that everybody’s rowing that boat in the same direction.
If you have situations where, and I’m sure that we’ve all unfortunately heard about those where you have. Coaching staff. We’re kind of at odds with one, another things can go south really, really quickly. So you had an opportunity at central Catholic. You have a, you have a great run there and you’re having a tremendous amount of success.
How does the opportunity at Lutheran west come to you? What’s the internal thought process? Like when you start thinking about leaving central Catholic, taking the Luthern West job, what was attractive to you about that job?
[00:39:25] Jordan Duke: Well COVID was a killer for a lot of different high schools like I think it was a downfall for a lot of different high schools and when I was at central and you know, I, and, and it wasn’t just COVID, but COVID was kinda like the last straw, but I think you know, when you’re there and you want to have a certain level of success, you need.
Everybody in the whole community in the whole school to be on the same page as you have the success that you want to have or you can become stagnant and you can become a place where you get content with what you’re doing. And I’m, I’m still at an age where I’ve got aspirations of what I want to do on the high school level and, and how I want to build certain things and what I want to do with certain things.
And some it didn’t align for us at, for me and central after a while. And you know, at that time you know, I stepped down and I was looking at different places and I got a call and about if I was interested in being a part of. Luther and west and, and hearing them out and everything and, and going from there.
And I did, I heard them out and I didn’t know if I was going to take it because I didn’t know the level of success that they wanted to have. And once I met with the superintendent, Chris and I met with the principal, Mike and R a D Ryan their, their vision for where they wanted Lutheran. Aligned with what I wanted in a program and what I wanted in the community.
And Lutheran west gives me the same vibe that I had when I was at Chanel, as far as a community that has kinda everything that, that you want. You know, you have all walks of life. You got all backgrounds, all ethnicities in the school and you, you got And administration who wants to be successful and those things aligned to success.
And it’s something that I wanted. And once I found out that they were serious about winning and serious about you know, building their programs up to, to be equal with their academics, I was extremely excited. And then I I took a tour and saw the campus and it was beautiful and the things that they have you know, working to enhance the campus and build on it I’m super excited about those things.
And you know, it’s just the support, the support factor in it all like having a principal and an AD and a superintendent who are super supportive in what you’re doing and, and have your back a hundred percent in every situation is Unheard of almost in some places and for us to have that alignment it’s a perfect situation for me.
[00:42:26] Mike Klinzing: When you say that they’re as serious about winning as you are. When I hear that I’m thinking in my head. Okay. What does that mean? So when you’re in the interview process and you’re going through and you’re on the campus tour and you’re walking around with them, what are some of the questions. You’re asking them, or what are some of the things that they’re sharing with you that make you know that they’re going to be on the same page with you when it comes to building a winning high school basketball program?
[00:42:52] Jordan Duke: Yeah. Well, I I’d say it’s resources, I’d say it’s the support and being able to build your kids and being able to have the resources, to know where to go and to talk to families about Lutheran West, and being able to be a part of those meetings in the admissions rooms and, and being a bit able to be a part of the grinding and accepting the right kids for the programs and, and things of that nature that I wasn’t able to be in the room with, at Central Catholic like, and we accepted who they wanted us to accept.
And we were just kinda like, okay, well, we gotta deal with this. You know, like for a while it worked but I wanted to be a part of the decision-making and when it comes to bringing in kids and being, and being able to, to have kids come to your school and be successful there and the resources that they have to be successful.
And the things that they’re willing to, to, to do as far as for the growth of those kids, that we have to get better all of those things aligned. With what my vision was for a program and I think it is a great school with a great academic base to be able to attract people to our facility and then it’s about winning.
At that point, you gotta be able to win and continue to attract kids to this school. We’re a private school. So as a private school, our job is to bring kids in and, and be able to get kids to want to be at our school and that’s how we survive. That’s how we are able to have a check when it’s time to get paid is by having those kids want to be a part of Lutheran west. And that thing that comes from winning and more kids want to be a part of a winning culture and they see that. And you start to build and have the relationship with different people around the communities.
And they have relationships with other parents and they recommend Lutheran West to other parents. And I mean to their friends and you have those resources like that by just having the support from your administration.
[00:45:22] Mike Klinzing: Thinking back to those first few days on the job after you decide, Hey, I’m accepting the job.
Now I’ve got to get to work. What were some of the first steps that you took to build that winning culture that you’re talking about? Conversations with players is the conversations with parents. What did you see as the most important things you had to get done in the first couple weeks? After you took the job?
[00:45:45] Jordan Duke: Well, the first couple of weeks, when I took the job, I knew we had to we had to build depth in our program. We had to build depth in, in getting better basketball players and getting more skilled basketball players, more athletic basketball players with what we already had and the first part was is, is figuring out how we were going to do that and then putting a plan together to do that.
But then the other thing was, is that I had to build trust in our community, in our kids that we already had, that I’m here for, to be able to enhance their game and to make this into a positive situation for them as well. I think building trust is always hard because you never know what people’s real intentions are.
And I had to do that with a lot of my players that I work that that I grew and have grown to love now is that I just had to build trust with them. I had to be in the gym with them. I had to show them what I knew and show them that I cared about them and show them that I’m here to build the best program for Lutheran West.
And I think once we were able to do that as a staff, that’s when our success started to take off. And I think that’s the reason why we had the success we had this year is because we were able to build that trust with the current players that were already there that came back.
[00:47:17] Mike Klinzing: When you talk about trying to improve your talent base and.
Better players be a part of your program as a private school. It’s not like when you’re at a public school where you have this built-in feeder system where you can get involved in your youth program as a varsity coach, and I’m going down and I have influencing the coaches who are coaching my third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders.
I’m getting to know those kids from the time they are in elementary school as a public school, varsity basketball head coach. So from a private school standpoint, just talk a little bit about how you try to identify players that might be interested in. Attending booth and west. And just what that process looks like of making sure that you have a program that’s attractive that makes players want to come and attend school at Lutheran west and be a part of your program.
[00:48:03] Jordan Duke: Yeah. So like you said, like we don’t have a feeder school to where we’re able to kind of just sit back and, and let kids come through and, and build with the kids that we have in our middle schools or whatever the case may be. So we actually do have to kind of go out and seek kids to be able to come to our school.
And I think the process in that and how we’re able to do that is we have to work through our admissions team like when I talked about being aligned, our admissions team does a lot of the work when it comes to bringing kids in like they, they talk to kids, they are They are influential in getting the paperwork done with kids and everything like that.
You know, OHSAA puts so many rules on us as far as recruiting and stuff like that, to where it makes it difficult. But when you have an admissions team that is very invested on the school being the best school, it can be. It makes it a little bit easier like you’re able to have, you’re able to send you know, your admissions team that represent the school.
Into middle schools that have the better talent into places that have the, that has the better talent to be able to put your school on display and not only you know speak on athletics, but speak on all of the other great things that Lutheran West has to offer like, a lot of the time, parents pick schools off of what the basketball program is, which is completely fine.
But if you really want your child to have a holistic experience in high school, you have to look and see some of the things that the school has to offer that’s outside of athletics. And I think that Lutheran West has so many different things and has such a good culture of things that keeps kids engaged.
It’s easier for us to bring kids in and people want to be a part of our programs. And it just took for not to pat ourselves on the back as coaches, but it just took for us to put the program on display and put them in the right places, the right tournaments, the right summer leagues, have us have a social media presence like, and as we see more and more kids that want to be a part of our programs and our admissions team is able to handle the load of kids wanting to be a part of it.
And they do a good job of communicating to us who wants to be a part of it. And we’ve had some success in this year it looks like it’s going to be an even better year than it was last year.
[00:50:49] Mike Klinzing: All right. So once you have those kids in the program, and now you start talking about building success on the floor, What does it look like for you in terms of practice design?
How would you, how do you go about putting together a practice plan? What’s a typical practice look like for you? Do you have some favorite go-to things where you have like a set routine at the beginning of practice, or just when you’re putting together a practice plan? What does that look like?
[00:51:16] Jordan Duke: Yeah, so no matter what, this is one thing that stays consistent for me no matter what, and no matter who we have, we always try to make our workouts and our practices as competitive as they possibly can be.
So we try to make sure that we are putting people in as many uncomfortable positions as possible coaches, players, no matter who it is, we try to put them in uncomfortable situations to see who who’s able to, to be focused and be locked in, in any type of situation. And when I am constructing my practice plan, I always want to make sure that I have a lot of competitive things on our practice plan to be able to establish that mindset of being able to compete in hostile situations in hostile environments.
And I think those things from the starter practice gives the practice a little bit of energy and, and, and the, the practice kind of takes off from there. So I just like a lot of other coaches or any other coaches, we have our practice plan planned out by the minute in a 120 minute practice.
We have it planned out by the minute. And it’s on our scorers table and it’s on the clock and everything like that. But we make sure that we spend a lot of time competing. We make sure we spend a lot of time. Putting guys against each other. So not our starting five going against other people.
I mean, our other you know, guys, the whole game or a starting five going against our JV, the entire game of the entire practice. Like we want to split our starting five up our starting. I mean, our rotation guys up to make those guys leaders on their own teams and compete every day against other players and see what we can get out of them.
And sometimes it’s. It’s practices that go great. And sometimes there’s practices that don’t go so great, but it’s all the experiences and the moments and the, the uncomfortability of being in those moments. And I think that is what makes for a successful team in a successful program is, is being able to construct your practices to compete in everything that you do, whether it’s team D individuals, practice, drills, whatever the case might be.
If there’s always a competitive win, lose aspect in whatever we do.
[00:53:56] Mike Klinzing: So are you keeping score in most drills? Offense against defense. Is that help to instill the competitiveness that you’re talking about?
[00:54:03] Jordan Duke: Yeah, we, we keep score. Losers run and we keep score. Sometimes some days we keep a running score for the whole day the whole 120 minute practice we keep we keep the score tally running home in a way like black you’re white or red and white, whatever you know, whatever the day calls for. And sometimes we keep a running total of what it is, and at the end of practice we run or those guys got to bring water for the, the other team or they got to clean up or whatever the penalty may be for losing.
We have it and I think always competing and wanting to win helps you. Being able to be in any moment in games.
[00:54:58] Mike Klinzing: When you think about that minute by minute practice plan, there’s usually two different philosophies that I think about when I think about coaches, when it comes to practice design, you have the coach when you have it, minute by minute, the coach who were going for 10 minutes on this drill, and when 10 minutes is up, we just sort of move on because we’re not, if it’s going great.
Great. If it’s not, we’re going, just going to move on to the next thing, or are you aware, let’s say you have 15 minutes planned for shell drill and it’s not going away that you wanted to, do you extend beyond that 15 minutes or are you, Hey, the buzzer goes off at that 15 minutes. We’re moving on to whatever the next thing is.
We have on the practice plan, which one more closely fits sort of your approach to that.
[00:55:41] Jordan Duke: Yeah. So I’ve been both of those guys. I like, I get. Really engulfed. That’s why it has to be on the scores table on the clock because I’ll stay in a segment, the whole practice, if they let me because it’s kind of not, what I want is not how I want it done is the energy.
Isn’t where I want it to. And sometimes my guys have to my Chuck Russo, my assistant coach has to say, all right, let’s move on coach. Like, or one of my coaches that I coached when I was younger at John, Hey, he’s on my staff now he’ll come behind me and say let it go.
You know, like, and you know, I’ll, I’ll snap back into reality and move on like there, then there’s some times where. You know, I just know in my head, I’m just like, we don’t have it today. We got to just get through this practice and get something out of it. And try again another day but it’s a collective mindset when it comes to that piece of it like, and more often than not, it’s my assistants telling me to move on.
[00:56:54] Mike Klinzing: All right. Let’s talk a little bit about your staff when you’re working with your staff. When you’re putting together the plan for how you’re going to approach a practice, how are you gonna approach the entire season? How are you going to approach a game? How do you figure out what you’re going to delegate or how you assign roles with your coaching staff?
So there’s obviously some coaches out there that they have. And assistant coach who’s in charge of the offense and wanting to start in charge of the defense, or maybe somebody who handles special situations, then you have other coaching staffs where everybody’s kind of coaching everything and can have a hand in different things.
So how do you approach how you organize your staff for lack of a better way of saying it?
[00:57:34] Jordan Duke: Yeah, no. I think you have to know your, the strengths and weaknesses of your coaches and you have to know what they’re capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing. You can’t give someone a job and they’re just not capable of doing that right now doing the job that you want them to do.
So when you look at every year and what you give your coaches to do you have to look at what, what their best attributes are. And we’ve got some. Strong minded coaches on our staff, which I love. And we’ve got some guys who don’t want to say much on our staff and we’ve got some guys who are gonna be there to help him, whatever role that they, that they’re asked to help in.
And I think for the most part, when you are given roles out, you have to be able to give roles out with the understanding that it’s their role to do it, but it’s my role to make sure it’s done the way I want it done like, and so you can give you, you can give them that that role, but you also have to make sure that you oversee it because at the end of the day it’s you, who’s on the line for it.
Right. And so when I give out roles to my guys are always let them handle it, but I oversee it to the point where they know that I’m overseeing it and you know, like I’m not a big, you’ve got the offense, you’ve got the defense, you’ve got this, you’ve got that. kinda handle offense defense of what I want to put in and I kind of get those guys roles to make sure that they are paying attention to the details of what makes that really good. So if you’re, if I’m giving a, you might the defense, I want you to make sure that you are looking at the details of the whole entire defensive, whatever we call, if we’re pressing our guys applying to be able to shoot gaps.
If we’re half court, man, and man and we’re applying our guys pressure and a ball the right way are we’re on the right rotations. If we’re in pack line, man, to man, our guys in gaps like, so like I give those guys maybe they may be the defensive coach, but they’re more so in tune with the details of how to make it the best it can be and vice versa with offense as well.
[01:00:11] Mike Klinzing: That makes a lot of sense when you have, everybody goes to, again, your role as the head coach to make sure. And you mentioned it off the top. You want to make sure that your coaches understand what it is that you’re trying to teach and how you’re trying to teach it. And once you have your staff with that in hand, then they can do what you just described, which is they can be focused in on those details, but they first have to understand what it is that you as the head coach want to have taught and then the methodology and the vocabulary and all those kinds of things that go along with that to make sure that you’re teaching that part of it.
When you think about hiring a staff and you’re looking for somebody to be a part of it, what’s the most important characteristic or one or two characteristics that you look for that are you say, Hey, these are, these are, must have things for a guy who’s going to be part of my staff.
[01:01:03] Jordan Duke: Yeah. I’m looking for loyalty and loyalty, not in that aspect of do what I say, do loyalty like, but loyalty in the aspect of just being upfront and understanding, you know everybody’s roles that are on staff and understanding, you know what we’re trying to accomplish and not have any ulterior motives of, of being on staff and stuff like that.
I’m looking for energy and I’m looking for knowledge of the game and I’m looking for you to have aspirations. I want you to want to be a head coach one day, unless you just don’t want. You know, like at this point in time in my life, I’m really not hiring anybody else who just wants to be an assistant coach.
I have two guys who just want to be assistant coaches and they’re my assistants on the varsity level and they’ve done what they wanted to do with basketball and they just want to be assistants. Anybody else that I’m hiring. And I want you to want to be a head coach because I want you to wanna learn.
And I want you to want to have the passion to be at practice every day as if you are a Head coach like, so I do a lot of hiring of young guys of younger coaches or coaches my age that have aspirations to be a head coach and run their own program. Not so much so that they can learn from me.
Maybe they do learn something from me, but with the aspiration for them to get the opportunity to be in situations to have to make decisions. And that is the biggest piece of running a program is you have to make decisions every single day quickly. You have to make in-game adjustments.
You have to make decisions with practices, decisions with kids, decisions with coaches, you have to be able to make those decisions. And I want aspiring coaches to be able to have those opportunities. And when I’m looking for coaches, I don’t want anybody that just wants to be there.
I want guys to have goals and dreams to one day run their own program. And one day be their own head coach and want to whether or not learn from me or learn from somebody else that may be older than me on staff, or just learn from being in the midst of making those decisions.
I think that is what I look for when someone says, Hey, I want to coach and those are the questions that I ask in the interview. I can care less about your X’s and O’s of what plays you like to run, or what style of defense you like to run, or what play you would call in the last 10 seconds.
And all of that stuff. I don’t care about that stuff. I really care about what that person’s dreams and goals are when it comes to the game of basketball
[01:04:02] Mike Klinzing: To go along with that. And it kind of goes to the roles that you assigned to your coaches and kind of how you utilize your staff.
When you think about the off season and summer workouts and the different things, how much responsibility do you give to. Your assistant coaches, as you’re kind of overseeing your off season program. Describe for us a little bit of what you guys do in the off season to help your players get better individually, and then to help your team obviously hit better for next year.
[01:04:34] Jordan Duke: Yeah, no, I I’m still young. So like I am still extremely hands on and I probably, that’s probably something that I could probably get better at is allowing them to take more of more initiative in the summer to be in control of those things. But like we said earlier, there’s so many new things that I want to try whether it’s technique, whether it’s terminology, whether it’s concepts that I have to be there to teach.
I don’t really have give them enough opportunity to really run things the way they want to run it. And I think that’s the benefit of doing things the same way over and over again, you’re able to give assistants a little bit more power in running things. Cause it should be the same thing over and over again.
I do have a few of our guys, they are in control of workouts or open gyms and how we structure our workouts. And I’ll meet with them about our guys and, and let them know this is what I want to see them get better at. And this is what I want to see them excel at a little bit more next season.
And then it’s up to them to kind of construct their workout plans, to get better at that and taking over the responsibility of reaching out to our guys and having conversations about what I want and what I need them to get better at and giving them the ownership to hold them accountable of getting better at it.
So when it’s time for the season, I can say, Hey coach did this guy get better at this? Was he in lifting? Was he doing skill development with you? What did you guys work on? What do you see him getting better that he’s gotten better at? Can I move him from a forward to a guard now?
Or can, can I put him in a post and throw the ball inside? Does he have post moves now, like those types of things that I give my assistants in the summer to get better at and to want to do. And in the summer is it’s our time to suggest you know, our assistants time to suggest what to do offensively and what to do, defensively, what the new group coming in and that’s their time to really show me concepts and show me what they’re thinking and what we could have did or what they thought we should have done And kind of go from there.
[01:06:59] Mike Klinzing: So how do you split your time between skill development and running up and down and playing five on five during the summertime?
[01:07:08] Jordan Duke: Yeah, open gym’s always bad basketball. You know, like, so, but you, you also have to have it like again, OSHAA has so many rules to you coach in and all of that type of stuff throughout the year you have to have it.
And I think open gym serviceable for the competing aspect of it like I try to make open gyms as hostile as possible. You know, like we don’t have files in our open gyms like the coaches are the only people who call who called calls in open gyms like we you could call it cheating, but we give an advantage to certain people to see the reactions of certain people, you know and just make it competitive and give them Give them again, a hostile environments to be a part of, to be able to have to deal with and navigate themselves through.
And you start to see people’s mental toughness and because they can’t win a game that day or you start to see you know kids break down and have attitudes and, you know kinda fizzle out, spazz out and you have to really, it gives you an opportunity to teach those kids when it really doesn’t matter.
And so I think open gyms are serviceable. And I think skill development is serviceable, but I’m always going to choose competing over having hundreds and hundreds of days of skill development. You know, like too many times we got our kids going to trainers and paying for trainers and there’s nothing wrong with trainers.
Don’t get me wrong, but like, I’m just a huge Competitor. I want you to play against somebody always and I think that helps you more in game and for college, more than anything else
[01:08:51] Mike Klinzing: That makes a ton of sense. I want to ask you one final question here before we start to wrap up. And that is a two-parter part one, when you look ahead from right now over the next year or two, what do you see as being the biggest challenge you have in front of you? So part one, your biggest challenge, and then part two, when you think about what you get to do every day, waking up as the head, that head basketball coach at Luther west west high school, what’s your biggest joy that you get from what you get to do day in and day out.
So your biggest challenge and then your biggest joy.
[01:09:25] Jordan Duke: My biggest challenge moving forward is to continue to work through the community that I’m in now, it’s a brand new community. It’s a brand new area. And to continue to try to bring back some of our alumni and get them on board with what we’re doing and continue to bring in kids who help our culture and help our school.
And yeah. Going out in the community to be able to show my face and that, that the community of you know, Rocky River and Fairview and all of those cities that are surrounding cities know that w what we’re doing and know that we are a program that wants to be in the community and wants to be the face of our community.
And you know, working through that and getting to know different people and getting to know different connections that, that may be in that city and in those surrounding cities. And I think that is going to be my challenge to figure out how to go about doing that and getting Lutheran West basketball to a point where everyone knows about it and getting it to the point where everyone knows where the school is and what the school is about. And the faith of what we believe in and how hard we work to get our kids to understand and tap into their faith and tap into their abilities to do the right thing on an everyday basis.
And I think that is my biggest challenge of what I have to do and what steps I have to take next. It’s not just about winning basketball games is more so about continuing to win the community over and continue to try to be the face of Lutheran West and try to be the face of our community and be the standard for programs at Lutheran West and other schools. And I think that is my challenge. Those are my goals. Those are my aspirations of what I want to do next. And they’re attainable. It’s just putting in the work and doing what I need to do to tap into those things. So it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m up for it.
And I can’t wait to continue to do it and to take this program to where I know it can be and where it deserves to be for the second part of your question. My biggest joy is just being able to, you know praise God that. I am able to wake up every single day and do what I really love to do.
So a lot of people in this world that don’t get a chance to wake up and do what they really want to do. And I’m blessed to be able to wake up every day and worry about coaching basketball and worry about what my next steps are to you know, coaching basketball and where my life will be with coaching basketball.
And I don’t know what else I would, I could do what I be good at doing. And I just thank God that I have the opportunity every day to be able to work with people who care about the same things that I care about, who care about the same things as far as impacting the youth like I care about. And I think that that is my biggest joy is being able to wake up every single day, go to a community where they want to impact kids’ lives, whether it’s through athletics or academics, or just interaction with kids every single day .
And I don’t think I can say it enough that I’m blessed and I praise God for being able to do those things every single day. And I don’t plan on doing anything else for the rest of my life, besides impacting kids and coaching the game of basketball or being around the game of basketball.
And I thank Central Catholic and Lutheran west for giving me the opportunity to be able to do what I’m passionate about and, and what I love
[01:13:15] Mike Klinzing: Being able to get up and do what it is that you love every single day. There’s nothing better than that. I think you said it well, when you said that you’re able to coach basketball and you’re able to use the game to be able to have an impact on young people’s lives.
And I think that’s one of the things that’s most satisfying. When I think about what I’ve done in the game as a coach, it’s always, it always comes back to what impact have I been able to have on the kids that have come through my basketball camps for the kids. Coach when I was a high school coach, the kids that I’ve coached in AAU, you always hope that you’re able to have an impact on them beyond the basketball floor.
And I think that’s a really, really good answer. And one that I think most coaches out there can certainly relate to before we wrap up Jordan, I want to give you a chance to share how people can reach out to you, how they can find out more about your program, whether you want to share email, social media website, whatever you think is the best way for people to connect with you and find out more about what you’re doing at Lutheran West.
[01:14:17] Jordan Duke: You can follow my social is my Instagrams and you could follow the school’s Instagrams or under school, social media, as far as Twitter. And if you want toyou can email. If you want to be a part of our program, you can email. If you want to connect with our program to have us do something in the community or be a product, be a part of events, you can email me.
I’m going to give you those emails and those handles right now. My email is jDuke@lutheranwest.com is very simple. I’m glad that they made it that way. And my Twitter handle is I’ll give you my personal and I’ll give you the schools. My personal Twitter handle is @JDuke__And then my schools basketball handle is @LW_mbball. I’ve given you my email again, that is firstname.lastname@example.org.
[01:15:46] Mike Klinzing: We will have all that in the show notes.
Everybody will be able to find it there Jordan, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to jump out with us tonight. It’s been a pleasure getting an opportunity to have a conversation with you. I’ve talked to you here and there at AAU practice, but it’s always fun to be able to have an hour and 20 minute conversation and really get the chance to dive in and know somebody.
So I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to be a part of it and everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.