“MENTALITY” PART 9 WITH DWAYNE KILLINGS: HIS FIRST 100 DAYS AT UALBANY – EPISODE 507

Dwayne Killings

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

Email – killingsdwayne@gmail.com

Twitter – @CoachKillingsDK

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

We plan to record and release 2-4 episodes per month with Dwayne and/or players, coaches, administrators, media members, and others associated with the Great Danes Basketball Program to get an inside look at what being a first year head coach at the Division 1 level is all about.

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Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @hoopheadspod for the latest updates on episodes, guests, and events from the Hoop Heads Pod and check out the Hoop Heads Podcast Network for more great basketball content including Thrive with Trevor Huffman, Beyond the Ball, The CoachMays.com Podcast, Player’s Court, Bleachers & Boards, The Green Light, Courtside Culture and our team focused NBA Podcasts: Cavalier Central, Knuck if you Buck, The 305 Culture, Daily Thunder, Motor City Hoops, X’s and O’s: NBA Breakdown, Spanning the Spurs, LA Hoops, The Wizards Hoops Analyst, Lakers Fast Break & At The Buzzer. We’re looking for more NBA podcasters interested in hosting their own show centered on a particular team. Email us info@hoopheadspod.com if you’re interested in learning more and bringing your talent to our network.

On this episode Dwayne and I discuss his first 100 days as the Head Coach at UAlbany and how he is preparing his team to succeed both on and off the court.

What We Discuss with Dwayne Killings

  • Getting the UAlbany community to buy into the program and embrace the idea of “Mentality”
  • Creating a culture of work
  • Players putting in the time it takes to succeed
  • Bringing in outside guest speakers like Karl Hicks to address the team
  • The steps he’s taken so far towards putting together his offensive and defensive systems
  • Communication and Conditioning are two important pillars this summer
  • Different ways that players have demonstrated leadership
  • Investing in the individual – putting in time to help players succeed on and off the court
  • Putting players through a Financial Literacy Course, Media Training, and a Leadership Academy
  • Everything starts with an authentic relationship
  • How he and his staff cover different locations and players during the summer AAU season
  • Beginning to get settled in Albany with his family
  • Reconnecting the basketball program with the students and campus this fall post COVID

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THANKS, DWAYNE KILLINGS

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TRANSCRIPT FOR “MENTALITY” PART 9 WITH DWAYNE KILLINGS: HIS FIRST 100 DAYS AT UALBANY – EPISODE 507

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle this afternoon, but I am pleased to be joined on the road by Dwayne Killings, Head Coach at the University at Albany. Dwayne. Welcome.

Dwayne Killings: What’s up, man? How are you doing?

Mike Klinzing: I’m good, man. Thanks are good. I have no complaints.

I am about ready to head out on vacation another day or two. So excited to get out on the road. And not doing any recruiting, unfortunately, but I am going to be heading out to some national parks. I’m looking forward to looking forward, to getting on vacation for a little bit. So hundred days for you, man.

How are, how are things what’s the state of affairs how you feeling right now at this point?

Dwayne Killings: [00:00:35] I’m feeling good. You know, the second to last day of summer recruiting some in-between Jeff Jen’s driving in the great state of Indiana. And I got Bobby Jordan from Wagner riding shotgun with me. Right now it’s trying to maximize time, but things are going really well.

The third week of summer workouts just finished up trying to finish up this recruiting session here, but we’ve been happy with the progression of the [00:01:00] program and just the things that we’re doing as we build our identity. Kind of figure out who we are and, you know, laying the foundation for what we’re hoping it’s a fruitful season.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:09] What’s been the thing that has gone the best to this point. When you look back at your first couple of days, and you’re thinking about what you want to accomplish, what’s gone really, really well, that has maybe exceeded your expectations.

Dwayne Killings: [00:01:21] I think the first thing that comes to mind is buyin from the community.

You know, I think people have really embraced this idea, this of mentality, you know, people have really bought into the program. Just to the things we’re trying to do. I mean, when you think about walking into a new program, you know, you want to give it its own unique look. They’ve allowed us to invest in the resource that we have on campus.

Upgrade the locker room because they’ve done that. I think the people are really bought into who we are that just as people, not just as coaches, which is really exciting, I think they shared our vision. They [00:02:00] bought into that. And then also we got buy-in from our players. We brought in nine new players, seven scholarship to walk-ons.

And I think the thing I worried about the most was when you put them all in a room, what is that going to look like? What are they going to sound like? They’ve all bought into what we’re doing, because I think the kids all share the same mindset, the same mentality they’re like to work. They want to win.

They’re trying to figure out how do they connect the dots to make sure they’re being program and not just build a foundation, but we’re hoping that to be able to win games this year, which is hard to do, but I think we got the right guys. To do that. And it all starts with finding and doing this whole thing together.

So it’s been great.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:38] Sort of go along with that. You mentioned summer workouts. What do those look like? What have those been like? What have you been most pleased about? Just in terms of, on the basketball thing?

Dwayne Killings: [00:02:48] Yeah, I think we’re create a culture of work. You know, I try to the way we do things, our stats on the quarter, about 15, 20 minutes early, just making sure guys are getting ready, ready to rock and roll.

I try to come down on the floor about [00:03:00] five minutes before practice right now, and guys are in there, the ladder of the ready to work, the minutes, the physically engaged and locked in. That’s been really, really exciting. To do what we’re trying to do. And in the American East for our program, and you got to develop, you gotta work.

It takes, you know, the work that we’re going to do with the coaching staff, but also these kids to get in. And, you know, those unseen hours, getting managers and getting shots up, putting peer pressure on each other to play, or I got a thousand shots, I got 1200, you know, those kinds of things really produce a winning culture.

And I think we’re starting to do those things. And then it’s grade the same guy. You don’t get an extra lift, get a yoga session, you know, do the things that are necessary to maintain their bodies. I think that’s been really exciting, you know, as we, as we build this thing out and then, you know, on the court and workouts, I mean, we got guys like Pete you know, we got guys, I think we increase our lettuce as a mineral, like just a lot of versatility.

So we’ve been able to explore our talent on [00:04:00] the defensive side of the game and just try to figure out our identity. I had a speaker come in, Carl Hicks, you know, a guy that mentored me through my career. He’s worked in the NBA, worked at ACC the sec, presently the NCA. And, you know, he said like, you know, the thing that I’d say about the team is the next step is like, who are you?

And I think that’s too, we’re trying to figure out, like, how are we going to make games? How are we going to define, you know, what we’re really about? And that’s, that’s something that I want to be patient about that doesn’t have to be rushed. But I think we’re staking the right steps.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:31] Where are you in that process in terms of putting together what your style plays going to be offensively and defensively.

Obviously you come in with a system and some things that you believe in some core tenants, but where are you in terms of looking at the personnel that you actually have and what you’re going to put out on the floor, and then how that translates into how you want to play? Where are you in that process?

Dwayne Killings: [00:04:51] Yeah. I, you know, I talked to a lot of people about that, you know, NBA coaches, college guys, system coaches, and I decided to at the beginning, not to give us [00:05:00] any offensive structure. I wanted our guys tell us who they were, you know, so if we got a five man, Paul Newman thinks he’s a pick and pop guy, let’s see that you’ve been working on.

I want you to show me. She got you know, who’s a leader on the floor. Who’s going to organize you know, who does sprint to the corners and understand spacing and. I want them to kind of tell us who they were both good, bad, and different, which is fine. You know, we’ll demand a lot defense. A lot of freedom offensively, especially off the defensive rebound.

I had each kid come up and they sat in a chair and I said, you know, tell me two things. Why are you at all part of this hour? You want to ask that question? They would want to dedicate this journey to then like the reasons why they came here. It could be because they’re trying to chase the dream or they’d bought into the culture.

They love an assistant player and I have a preexist. In our goals this summer to be one of the most connected teams in the country. So as a communication and trust, we want to be one of the best condition teams in the country that [00:06:00] starts with what we do and what we sacrifice time and energy we put into it.

And then, you know, we talked about, you know, being one of the best teams in terms of community. You know, that’s just talking openly, you know, understanding it’s hard to communicate in a basketball game. That’d be in great shape though. The things we can control, regardless of where in the big east or America East, we can control those things.

And those are the first steps we want to go towards. And then, you know, we’re teaching guys how to share the basketball, you know, teaching guys, what winning looks like, how hard winning is. And I think as we do those things and learn, you know, what are our deficiencies season for them? One of our strengths, that’s going to help me identify.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:39] Yeah, absolutely communication standpoint. You’re getting guys in and you’re meeting with them. You’re talking with them. And I think when we think communication, at least in that term, when we’re talking about coaching, oftentimes I think people think about you communicating with the players. How do you start to develop.

The communication between guys, you obviously got a new bunch of new players in the program. You’re trying to [00:07:00] build those connections, not just between the staff and the players, but amongst the players themselves. So how do you as a coach facilitate some of that communication between players to be able to build the kind of close knit group that you want?

Not just the relationships between players and coaches, but also players and players.

Dwayne Killings: [00:07:18] Yeah. I mean, you know, we do small things like, you know, call it. I mean, that’s a part of communication. You know, obviously while you’re doing your defensive trills and your fundamentals, you know, you want guys to communicate, you want that to be natural, but you know, we all get the points and practice and I’ll stop it.

And I’ll put a senior over here on one side, the other side, split the team and tell them, okay, here’s where we’re at. We’re doing great. Now we want to keep the standard where we are. How do we do it, coach your team up. And it’s great to hear that, like what these guys are saying, you know, the challenge each other though.

They’ll, you know, say, okay, Hey, you know, we’re doing great, but you know, we got a freshmen who’s gotta get in better shape. Hey, you gotta fight through this. Right. You gotta be mentally locked in. You know, it’s great to [00:08:00] hear them thinking and saying, right, thanks leaders have to be high level, communicate the points at practice where.

Yeah, it was standard that we walked this. Isn’t what we do. So now how are we going to fix this? Whether it’s a TRO, it’s an individual, that’s just not getting it done right now moment. And I’ll tell those guys to figure it out. And I don’t want the assistance for me to always be the voice those guys got to, you know, police and hold each other.

A core because there’s going to be moments, you know, through adversity where we’re not going to be able to call a time out. We’re not going to be able to run up there. They got to do that together. So we’re trying to create, you know, moments trying to create different, small pockets and practice where we just help them think and train their mind kinds of challenge each other, the open communication.

But the thing I’ve loved the most is when they, these guys have challenged each other early on, when you’re talking about they’re getting to know each other on weekends. I mean, there’s been some hard conversations that that’s been embraced because I think the kids are willing to accept it because they know.

[00:09:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:09:00] Have you seen to sort of step forward into a leadership role and kind of take the reins of doing some of the things that you just described in terms of trying to set a high standard and demanding that of teammates. Is there, is there a guy or two that’s sort of stood out? Not that you have to name them by name, but just curious if there’s there’s guys that have emerged at that at this point.

Dwayne Killings: [00:09:22] I think they all have in their own, right. Whether it’s been going to a donor’s house, you know, organizing and getting flowers for the wife, for the donor. Given those ads, that’s a form of leadership. And then we practice the first day of practice. You’re messing up a of joke, which is fine. And, you know, he stopped, he said, Hey coach, can I say something?

He said, this isn’t acceptable. And he went into his reasons and I thought that was great. You know, that he had the confidence to do that. And also the understanding that we have senior

and you know, he comes from a culture of winning at temple, you know, [00:10:00] We were doing some things and we weren’t getting it right. And no, we talked about focusing on important focus was, and that was on day one. So the kids are thinking the right way. And then we got another kid to Mel Horton. Who’s with us in the spring.

We inherited them from the previous staff is really, the player works really hard. You know, the first day he talked about, Hey, this is what this environment’s going to be like, this is what coach wants. And this is what the assistant coaches are going to be like. And that’s a form of communication and leadership because he understands what we’re trying to do cause he’s been through it, he’s bought into it.

And so I think there’s been different guys that have stepped up in different ways. You know, we have another friend from Miami, Florida, just a guy that works. Last one, we’ll leave the gym. Last one will be room first one in the gym. First one in the weight room. He leads by example. And I think it just speaks to the character that she has some we have in the program and you need accurate.

The guys went, you know, in college basketball, you can’t cut corners. I think right now we’re fortunate to have guys that they’re touching every line right now. We’ve got to maintain that standard.

[00:11:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:11:00] Where are you personally at, in terms of your transition from assistant coach to head coach, are you feeling.

More comfortable in the role. Does it feel like it was something that you were always meant to do? Have you slipped into it pretty easily as there’s been some things that have been maybe a little different than what you thought, just where are you at in terms of your adjustment to being the head coach and running your own program for the first time?

Dwayne Killings: [00:11:24] It’s really fun. I mean, you know, it feels natural. I’ve said it a bunch, you know, I feel like I’m supposed to be where I am now. You know, I’m not naive to say that I have all the answers. I don’t, you know, this is the time of year where everybody’s undefeated, you know, everybody’s programs, kids are having a good time.

There’s no adversity, you know, and the adversity that you have, you created so you can control it, but it’s been a ton of fun. You know, the thing I’d say is that. I, you know, we had a bad practice on Friday and, you know, you internalize it. And, you know, you process, what, why? And I [00:12:00] remember I talked to my dad, know I’m a little annoyed.

He was like, well, I’ll tell you this. Ain’t gonna be the last, you know, but I think, you know what I try to do. Okay. Well, why, what can we say? You know, was it the approach? Was it the phone, the drills in each trying to figure it out you know, trying to make sure that you get this thing right to the best of your ability, but.

I love it. I mean, I love the school. I love going to work. I love the challenge of the staff. You know, it’s, it’s everything I could have wanted. I think the challenge of it all is the day to do all the things you want to do. But, you know, my assistants have said, you know, we move at a pretty rapid pace because we’re trying to build this culture, not just on the court.

You know, we do a lot, we have a leadership academy. We’ve invested heavily to the community, to the campus. We’re trying to bring people in to talk to our kids and be around practice and just kind of can peek behind the curtain. So they know exactly what we’re doing, how hard we’re working, that [00:13:00] takes a lot of time and a lot, a lot of people.

It’s not a reflection on other people’s programs, but I think we invest heavily into the individual, which is important for me. I don’t want any of our kids to say that we didn’t arm on for success in society, not just the basketball court. So, you know, we’re doing a financial literacy program. We’re doing a immediate.

You know, we’ve talked about different culture pieces for us. You know, we have what we call mentality to be meetings because it’s not just a word, you know, you have to understand the meaning of it. And that meaning changes for a lot of different reasons, but it’s core who we are and what we’re trying to create.

So you know, I’m putting my own into it. My staff is putting their all into it, our players putting their all into it. And so it was our administration. So I think it’s a great time in our program. So I think that’s why the play’s fun.

Mike Klinzing: [00:13:49] Absolutely. When does the financial literacy, the media training, the leadership academy, how are you carving out time for that now in the summertime?

Just [00:14:00] give us an idea of what that looks like for somebody who maybe is interested in doing something similar. And then how do you anticipate that continuing as you roll into the fall and the school year and on into the.

Dwayne Killings: [00:14:11] Yeah, we so you know, it’s spin in the morning. And some take, in some instances, you know, we’re not taking class right now.

Originally, you know, some of our guys are taking classes I should say, so we kind of build it around, but you know, it’s could be in the morning. It could be an afternoon. We kinda manipulate practice times around it. I think it’s just important that I think that’s part of the buy-in that we’ve gotten because guys understand.

Grow as people and as individuals, you know, that always happens everywhere, you know, for their own personal journey. So you know, we’ll do those things based off of our availability. We have a speaker, Kevin chair coming in town, do some work with our staff and our team you’ll be with the season. So, you know, he’ll, he’ll work with snow the day and he’ll watch a practice in the morning.

And a couple of weeks, a gentleman from Northwestern [00:15:00] mutual was a former athlete who. Is knocked it out of the park, you know, in his career. And he knows not talk to us about success, how he got that discipline he got from sports. And that will be four o’clock in the afternoon. I think you just make it work.

I mean, if it’s important, you can make it all work. Challenge. I’m trying to figure out and balance is, you know, my, my family, you know, fit Nat. And so get my kids over to hanging out at practice or sneak home for lunch to get that time in because I want to make sure I invest in them. Just as much as I am, you know, my team, but it’s been really rewarding.

I think people have been really excited. And I think the thing that want to do next is to happen to the campus community. There’s a great leader on campus and trying to get them to engage and pour into our student athletes and our program. Cause I think it’s an important piece of what we’re trying to do.

And I think we’re trying to separate our program a little bit by doing this kind of work so that our kids know. A high level experience academically, athletically and personally. So those are some of the things that we’re working on right now, but it’s, it’s been awesome [00:16:00] senior to do it. We have a, we’ll have something during fall break in October.

That will probably be the last one that we’ll do in terms of the leadership academy. Not a retreat people. We call it an advance, no preparation for the season where we really focus on our culture. You know, what are the challenges that we face that stop us from winning games, whether it could be personally athletically, distractions, whatever, but, you know, we want to be hands-on and really direct about, you know, the things that stop us and the things that help us win games, not just wall screen.

There’s a lot of distractions. Let me think about college athletes. We want to deal with that stuff right away. So some of the stuff we’re trying to do and you know, it’s just our approach, not saying it’s right or it’s wrong, but it’s the right thing for

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:46] us. Yeah. I was just listening to right before we hopped on, I was listening to a podcast with, I can’t remember the woman’s name, who was a reporter who wrote the book about the honest.

And she was talking about his rookie year that there was a moment where [00:17:00] he really wanted to go home because. His family, hadn’t gotten a chance to come over to the United States yet. And he was just so down and missed his brothers. And you think about growing up in the household that he did with all his family, and then all of a sudden he’s there as a whatever 18 year old kid in Milwaukee with no one around him.

And so many times I think we look at athletes and we just say, switch their performance on the court. And as you said, you know, it’s not just about. How they defend a ball screen or how they’re making the right read. It’s also about getting to know them and what’s going on in their life. And oftentimes that can have a huge impact.

And I think what I hear you trying to do, and what I hear you saying is we’re going to be able to reach the whole person and not just the basketball player and to the point of this whole conversation, when you get kids to. Buy into that part of the program that, Hey, we’re, we are truly a family. We are somebody that, you know, we are a staff that cares about you, not just in between the lines, but also somebody who cares about people off the floor and all the things that you’re doing.

I think that’s something that anybody [00:18:00] who sees that is going to be look at it and go, man, that’s something that. I want to be a part of, and this is was interesting because we sometimes forget when we see athletes, we forget that they have this own whole entire life that’s out of the public eye, whether it’s, you know, you’re a college student and you’re going to class and you got your boyfriend, your girlfriend, and you got this and that.

And it’s just, you know, like all that stuff that we don’t always think about if you’re sitting in the stands, how it impacts kids. And yet we know that those are have huge. No huge impacts. You talked a second ago about your own family and trying to figure out, yeah, I’m doing all this stuff with my, with my team, but how do I make sure that I incorporate my family into what I’m doing?

It’s a challenge for everybody to perform not only in the arena, but you also have to be able to balance that with the things that are going on in real life and then be able to still. Do what you have to do when you step between the lines. I think you’re giving the kids the tools to be able to do that.

Dwayne Killings: [00:18:50] I think the other thing, I think what it is, is I think it’s our duty as coaches, as mentors, as leaders to do this. But also, I mean, if you’re going to [00:19:00] coach the kids in my career, you know, you’re really invested in a relationship you can coach and partner, you can unlock another level of talent that they don’t know exists because they trust you and they become so vulnerable with you.

I mean, that’s why we do it, you know, because I think our, our program really puts an emphasis and a huge investment in relationships, you know, whether it’s recruiting on campus and it’s community, or most importantly with our players, because that’s going to allow us to make sure this thing goes right, whether it’s academically or athletically or, you know, in their personal life, because if they’re struggling, you know, a girlfriend will then only going to open up and tell you.

Struggling academically. And there’s, you know, a deficiency you really got to work on all. They’re not going to let you know that unless they trust you. And you know, when it comes to what’s going on in the court, you know, if you really got to push them, if you really gotta motivate them, you’ve got to track it through a practice or a game, you know, touch the hearts in their minds.

There’s gotta be a level of trust, man. It starts with a really authentic relationship.

[00:20:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:20:01] You’re out on the road. Recruiting. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like being on the road after having not had the opportunity to be on the road and missing out on last year’s live recruiting. Just what’s it like out there for you and Bobby and everybody else that’s on the road, recruiting and tournaments and checking out the scene.

What’s it look like?

Dwayne Killings: [00:20:20] A lot of players, a lot of tired players right now, third or fourth recruiting. I think, you know, guys, when given their all they’re worn out, but you know, it’s great to be back. I mean, you get a chance to get in gyms and see coaches. And I think when you talk about professional development, that’s kind of like our professional development.

You’re in a gym with guys and sharing a meal and sharing ideas. In terms of talent, there’s a lot of talent out there. You know, getting us off duty as the head coach of this program. You know, you haven’t seen some of these kids that were, you know, recruiting beyond films. So now I get a chance to lay your eyes on him, see how he beats.

So he [00:21:00] walks into the gym, see how he carries himself. See I response to a referee. Of CLE moves around with his friends. I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s a really, it’s kind of the biggest piece of what we do from a recruiting standpoint, especially with AAU. So it’s been great to be back. You know, it’s been a lot of fun to see some guys and now you go back and you share your notes with your staff and try to find the next right guys for your program.

And, you know, hopefully for us, we can, we can beat Wagner and Bobby Jordan. Okay.

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:30] He’s throwing down the gauntlet on your Bobbie.

Dwayne Killings: [00:21:33] Where are you sitting here?

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:37] Bobby? You’re a friend of the podcast, man. You can jump in. You’ve been on so many times. You can jump in anytime you want.

Bobby Jordan: [00:21:43] At Wagner, We like our, let the let, let our work, do the talking.

Dwayne Killings: [00:21:51] Okay. Hey, that’s good. We’re going to put it in preseason, but we’re going to wait until it goes down. The spirit just came back, came up to Philly and I’m just came out

[00:22:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:22:00] there. It is Dwayne. How do you split up where you guys go as a staff? What’s the process for, if your guys are going out on the road on a weekend, how do you determine who goes, where, and who’s here and there just what’s that process.

Dwayne Killings: [00:22:11] Yeah, we, we try to our goal was since it’s our first year being together and, you know, trying to figure it all out you know, we wanted everybody to see every kid that we’re recruiting. So every assistant kind of made it through the Nike system or the Underarmour system just to see guys and get a perspective.

So that was kind of our approach. You know, and I think it’s been pretty healthy. So when we come back, it’s not a conversation between me and one assistant. It’s a conversation for our whole staff say, you know, did they like you know, Matt Griffin, so to speak, you know, like, did you like the point or did you like the big man within she like saw him on a good day?

I saw him on a bad day. I think it makes for a little bit healthier conversations. And then, you know, some guys, you know, coach to spend, you know, a number of years working for Albany city rocks, for instance. So he’s been through that. [00:23:00] So, you know, he’s, he’s got a lot of equity, you know, when he walks in the gym there for the Nike guys.

So we send him out there and then Matt Griffin, you know, obviously spend time with Philly. So he went to Atlantic city where a lot of those teams were, but, you know, again, every program does a different, this is how we want to get comfortable, I think, with our recruiting and what we’re trying to do together.

Mike Klinzing: [00:23:23] From a geographic standpoint, is there how important it is for you? How important is it for you to look at? I guess local guys is maybe the right way to say it. How important it is for you to. Recruit well in state in terms of building your program, how do you prioritize that? Obviously talent and character and all those things have to play into it, but all things being equal recruiting locally, where does that fall on your list of priorities?

You

Dwayne Killings: [00:23:49] know, we’re obviously going to put a big premium on the Northeast corridor, our attack stash from there. I think there’s a lot of players in that pocket that can help our program. And I think that’s one of the things [00:24:00] that our university it’s hoping that we see. Kids, you know, from, from that region, but we’re presently, you know, recruiting some kids outside of the region as well, just through relationships.

And I think people have gravitated towards what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to do it. So, you know, we’re never going to turn down good players and kids that fit into our program, but obviously, you know, we want to manage, you know, we have a feel and perspective of the kids and you know, our own backyard, so to speak.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:27] Just personal life, finding a house, getting settled into it, getting your family and getting ready for school. How, where are you guys at in terms of just the transition?

Dwayne Killings: [00:24:37] We got the house. There’s a ton of boxes in the house. We’re trying to get them out, put up where they need to be, you know, make, make the house a home.

And schools, I left that up to the boss lady. She was an educator for a number of years and she’s got the best feel for that. So she’s working on it, but kids are doing great. They’re in summer camps and, you know, in the community, they’re making [00:25:00] friends and my wife’s making friends. So, you know, hopefully.

You know, the fall semester you know, we’re pretty much settled and, you know, start, you know, making it really feel like home.

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:11] What’s the next big thing on the horizon as you look ahead, what’s the next phase in what you’re trying to do as you kind of try to plan it out as you head towards, as you head towards the season.

Dwayne Killings: [00:25:22] Yeah. Perfect question. As we’re pulling into the gym You know, like off the court, it’s probably connecting the student body to our program. You know, you’re talking about coming off. COVID, you know, six guys that played in the program last year that came back. That really didn’t a chance to experience the campus or the community because of the COVID disruption.

So trying to connect our program to that. And also learn the community a little bit more. You know, it was 14,000 students, very diverse school, energy, great place. I want to get to know it more from a basketball perspective, just to get our guys to understand how we’re going to win, you know, continue to build our defensive identity [00:26:00] get our guys to be familiar and comfortable with our offensive system.

And it’ll work day by day. And I think we’ve taken the right steps. And then, you know, we’ll get back in the fall for fall semester. I mean, you know, it’s gonna move. You know, I’ve been really happy with everything we’re doing and, you know, we’re trying to be really, really intentional in the fall for how we plan things out.

And at the end of the day, you gotta be really detailed. You know, details are gonna be the differences as you’re, as you’re doing this whole fence. So I think we’ve been really detail oriented and built a step.

Mike Klinzing: [00:26:32] Season’s on the horizon. I know it’s still a couple months away, but man time is going to go fast and I can just hear the excitement in your voice.

I know that for everybody to be able to get back and have what we all hope is gonna be a normal season. As you said, get some students and get some fans back in the arenas and be able to watch you play. It’s going to be super exciting. You’ve got more recruits to see even Bobby, you’re going to just lock down some guys.

I could tell you I was going to lock down somebody else today. And I appreciate you taking the [00:27:00] time between in between gyms to jump out with us and we will continue to follow your progress there at U Albany and excited to be able to be part of the journey and glad we were able to connect today in between Jim’s on the recruiting trip.

So, Dwayne, thank you for joining us today, Bobby. Thanks for joining us, man. I appreciate it.

Dwayne Killings: [00:27:18] Thanks, Mike. And you be good, man. Enjoy your vacation.

Mike Klinzing: [00:27:22] Thanks a lot, Dwayne. We’ll talk to you. And thanks to everyone out there for listening, and we will catch you on our next episode.

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