Dwayne Killings 12

Website – https://ualbanysports.com/sports/mens-basketball

Email – killingsdwayne@gmail.com

Twitter – @CoachKillingsDK

Welcome to episode twelve of our Hoop Heads Podcast Series called “Mentality with Dwayne Killings – Season One at UAlbany” The series will continue to document Dwayne’s first year as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University at Albany. 

On this episode Dwayne and the Great Danes are on the team bus headed to the University of  Maine and as a result, the audio is bit choppy at times. Dwayne and I discuss UAlbany’s season heading into their final three regular season games as he shares the successes and challenges both he and his team have experienced over the course of the year. 

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Listen and learn from UAlbany Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dwayne Killings as we discuss his experiences heading into the stretch run of his first season as the Great Danes Head Coach.

What We Discuss with Dwayne Killings

  • What a long bus trip looks like for UAlbany
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Making adjustments during the season and figuring
  • Figuring out his staff and how each assistant was best suited to serve the program
  • Managing his time on and off the court throughout the season
  • Getting his family settled in Albany
  • The belief in his program both internally and externally
  • Urgency and execution
  • Two funny stories from this season
  • Continuing to build on success and never being completely satisfied

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello, and Welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason cycle this afternoon. But I am pleased to be joined once again by Dwayne Killings head coach at University at Albany. We are coming into the stretch run. How are things going right now?

What’s a bus ride look like for you guys? What happens on the bus ride?

[00:00:32] Dwayne Killings: It’ll be a lot of sleep we’re just going to try to make it through the Trevor, got a lot of food and about a hungry, tired. So wait a minute.

[00:00:45] Mike Klinzing: There you go. I understand. I remember those days. I remember those days on the bus all too well. So I’ll tell a quick little personal story. So when I was, when I was playing, I could never, as a kid, now, this, my kids will attest to this today that this is no longer true, but when I was a kid, I could not sleep anywhere except for my bed in complete silence and darkness.

So we get done with a road game and have like a four and a half, five hour bus ride home. And it would be two 30 in the morning. I’d be the guy in the last row of the bus with the light on reading a book at two 30 in the morning while everyone else’s had been asleep a long time. So guys that can sleep, I, I give him a lot of credit cause I could never do that back when I was playing.

[00:01:26] Dwayne Killings: It’s hard for me too

[00:01:41] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. So let’s go back. Let’s talk a little bit about just how the season has gone for you guys in terms of sort of what you.were getting yourself into, I know the last time we checked in, we were in game. I don’t know about game seven or game eight was the last time we talked.

And since then you know, you guys started out the season, a little slow and one in seven coming out of the gate. And since then, You’ve got to turn it around and you’re 11 and eight and things have seemed to be heading in the right direction. So just kind of give us an idea of sort of what’d you expect and where are you in terms of what your expectations were coming in?

[00:02:17] Dwayne Killings: Yeah, I get it to be a challenge to implement.One day. I think we lost that first second week. So the adversity

injuries, changing how you’re going to play that was a different challenge, but I think the other thing. How do you guys deal with that piece of that for the guys going through the injuries, new roles and extended opportunities? You know, one thing that I’m really happy with is a lot of times.

As a year has gone on, I don’t know necessarily that was a consideration to meeta level of patience. I love the masses. The other people believe in what we’re trying to do both externally. And

[00:04:10] Mike Klinzing: What do you think has been something that you’ve gotten a better handle on over the course of the season? So maybe at the beginning you were like, oh man, I’m kind of struggling to figure this piece of it out or that piece.

And what’s something that’s sort of come together, could be something on the floor. Maybe it’s something off the floor just in terms of your responsibilities, but what’s something that you’ve got a better handle on today than you had that let’s say back at the beginning of December,

[00:04:42] Dwayne Killings: There’s all these ideas got to figure out what’s missing. Awesome. That’s fits our team. You know, like those things, that from a basketball perspective, you can get based off our personnel and then just managing.

Let me see, and you got to put you to do that. And then also one of the things that our staff everybody’s experienced on some level.

[00:05:55] Mike Klinzing: when you think about how your staff has been able to adapt and adjust right along with you, and you think about how. You’ve given them responsibility, both on the practice floor, sort of the administrative things off the floor. And then during games, has that evolved from what you envisioned it off the start?

Or do you feel like you kind of had that division of tasks among the staff, right from the get-go

[00:06:21] Dwayne Killings: Yeah. I didn’t give a ton of stuff. I wanted to see where people. I think if you give these roles, tell them, then they’re like about.

So the shots and then there’d be other things like that. Streaming.We can do 85 different then. If we’re not a tough group, our hearts and minds are in the right space. We’re not super competitive if we don’t have the right cards. So we have ancillary talent because we have to do that.

That could be a little bit different stuff. I think we’ll be able to go through some moments of that, where we can say, this is how we’re going to plan and meet. Certain things come out in the battle, but he could see it on the floor in certain moments. I mean, we’ve really grown as a program.  Just have more names under our belt. We can follow up.

[00:08:39] Mike Klinzing: How have you balanced coaching this year’s team and being a head coach for the first time with. Some of the off court responsibilities that you may not have had when you were an assistant coach, how have you been able to divvy up your time or how have you found your ability to manage those different aspects of the job?

What does that look like for you?

[00:09:02] Dwayne Killings: I try to be mindful how much did I talk yesterday? So maybe I talk a little bit less than the next day practicing.

I saw the moment from the perspective of all we’ve touched chambers time.  So there’s so many things I’m always a little different are touch enough people for the campus.

Yeah. You know, the hardest relationships.  Trying to get more people. And we have a really good crowd and they try to execute it the best stuff I’m proud of. We’ve done both.

[00:11:17] Mike Klinzing: How’s the adjustment been with your family and just one being obviously in a new place and then to adjusting to you being the head coach and how’s everybody doing their

[00:11:32] Dwayne Killings: No clotting. I don’t have to worry about it. We like it. We feel that group. My wife she’s found friends.

So that works to worry about that. As much, we had a morning, my wife and kids stop by it’s February breaks and came out of that. You know, try to bring my son to the locker room.

It’s just, you can’t make that stuff up. And sometimes you get words in both at the school and. It feels right. I’m happy. They’re happy.

[00:13:06] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. And I think when you have, as you said, when you have the right situation and you have supportive people around you, it makes everything go a lot smoother. Let’s get back to your team on the floor. If you had to describe your team, it just, what you love about this version of your team, your very first team as a head coach.

If you had to put it into one or two sentences, what do you love about your guys? What do you love about your team?

[00:13:31] Dwayne Killings: I love that they believe I think it starts talking about what some of our huddles, the huddle and certain way.

And we talked about that since Versus. Lots of games because of the execution ofhigh load paths and it comes up. You know, guards, I think it’s come up and we didn’t work with.

So the work is rewarded us in seven different ways. You know, again, we’re not where we want to be. Exactly. You know, it takes time.

The work has really paid off to this year. That’s our job.

[00:15:23] Mike Klinzing: As you head into these last couple of games and you. Where you started, where you are now, what’s the mentality. What are you telling the kids? What are you guys talking about in the locker room on the practice floor in terms of, Hey, we want to make sure we finish this season out strong. What’s been the approach that you’ve taken with your guys here over the last.

Let’s say heading into these last couple of games and heading into the, into the conference tournament.

[00:15:49] Dwayne Killings: Yeah. And we’ve been. In checks, there has to be urgency because desperation new and great. But the other word that they don’t have a lot of room for deviation is just so important. Those are probably two words.

[00:16:57] Mike Klinzing: Sorry, what’s the funniest. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened this year that you can share with the funniest inside, inside story that you have, that, that you want to share. You can share.

[00:17:06] Dwayne Killings: Oh, shoot. So we went to

we were talking about the first day or whatever, and everybody’s kind of looking at each other. It wasn’t that you were

just your nerves, anxiety, all that stuff shoots through the roof. And like the first two names.

And then the other one, I mean, it’s funny to me. I think it’s kind of funny when I bring my son. I mean, he’s just so happy. I love that. It’s awesome to have that kind of molding and embracing what, where they do.

Awesome. You know, they love each other,

but they’re really affect.

[00:18:13] Mike Klinzing: It’s really cool when you can incorporate your family and seeing your son and just watching them interact on the, on the bench. And it’s funny because my son’s high school team has his head varsity coach, his son. Who’s probably, I don’t know. He’s been. Six or seven and he’s hanging around the bench and my son who plays JV, mostly dresses of our city.

So a lot of times he’s in one of the last seats at the end of the bench. A lot of times he’s sitting on the end of the bench, having a conversation with ed varsity coaches saw during the game and the son’s got his, got his little board he’s drawn and stuff, and my son’s talking to him. So it’s, it’s really one of those things.

Yeah. It’s fun when you see obviously it’s your own kid. You see them interacting, you’d be able to have that. And then your guys is, I know you and I talked a lot of, kind of heading into preseason how important it was to have that go, that family atmosphere, where everybody buys in and everybody’s pulling for each other and everybody’s working together.

And it sounds like that’s exactly what you’ve been able to create. And that’s why, again, I have no doubt that you’re going to have continued success here as we move forward before we get out. Dwayne. One more thing. If is there, is there anything that you’re looking forward to as you, as you point ahead, over the next couple of games?

Do you think about this first season, you putting a bow on it. And I know you’re a long way from being done, and that’s not really where you thinking about, but just as you look at it and you look back thinking about the success that you’ve had and the success that you’re building, how are you going to define this year in terms of what you were able to accomplish and then looking into next year?

What you’re, what you’re hoping to accomplish moving forward,

[00:19:42] Dwayne Killings: Yeah, for me personally, both as a leader and a motivator. So far unbelievable. So we have, our senior class has a be break. We have a walk watching them. I think the word broke a lot. You could see people paying attention abilities.

I don’t know that no matter what happens as the season progressed. Yeah, the gene there is harder.

There’s just so many things we’re trying to get accomplished. I’m proud of what we’ve done. Maybe do a better job we could do more everybody to remain in place. You got to keep growing, you’ve got to be committed to growth. And I think if we’re relentless about that,

[00:21:19] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. I think that the message there is that the journey never ends, right.

You try to continue to build and you have success and you enjoy those successes. And yet you’re always striving to push a little bit harder to work a little bit more, to get your program to where you want it to be. And even when you get to whatever level that you hope to hope to achieve, you’re still, you’re still going to want more.

And I think that’s what drives successful people. And I think that’s what. Your program is going to continue to have success there at university of Albany. I want to wrap up there, Dwayne again, just say, thanks for chop it out with us, taking the time out of your road trip and join us on the bus to to come back on.

And then we’ll hopefully circle back at the end of the season and we’ll do we’ll do a little longer version and really dive into some of the things that have gone on for you throughout the season, and then be able to talk a little bit more once the season’s finished about where you’re headed for next year.

So again, Dwayne. Couldn’t couldn’t appreciate anymore. And we’ll talk to you again soon and thanks to everyone for listening and we’ll catch you on our next episode. Thanks.