Twitter – @MontyPatel
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Monty Patel is an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Jacksonville High School in Arkansas. Monty also served as the Head Coach for Team Arkansas in TBT 2021.
He coaches the 15U Hooplife AAU team and has worked closely with current Arkansas Razorbacks star Devo Davis.
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Jot down some notes as you listen to this episode with Monty Patel, Boys’ Basketball Assistant Coach at Jacksonville High School in the state of Arkansas.
What We Discuss with Monty Patel
- Striving to become a high school head coach in Arkansas or possibly coach at the college level
- Losing the the opportunity to play in a state championship game as a result of COVID in 2020
- Working with current Arkansas Razorback star Devo Davis at Jacksonville (AR) High School and lessons he learned for challenging high level players
- His keys to success for players – work ethic, competitiveness, good character
- How he got the opportunity to coach Team Arkansas in TBT 2021
- Working with Team Arkansas GM Sonny Weems
- Knowing and understanding TBT rules
- “Everyone needs a coach”
- Preparation has been a key driver of his success
- Why relationships are so important and allow for honest communication
- AAU is an easy way of working on your craft because you play so many games
- Why he loves working with head coaches that empower their assistants
- Remembering that parents are rooting for the people they love. And they want the people they love to succeed
- Keeping updated notes in his phone as he comes across coaching nuggets he wants to save
- Making an impact on players’ lives brings the most joy
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THANKS, MONTY PATEL
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TRANSCRIPT FOR MONTY PATEL – JACKSONVILLE (AR) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH – EPISODE 539
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to welcome back to the Hoop Heads Pod Coach Monty Patel from Jacksonville High School in the state of Arkansas assistant basketball coach. And has also picked up some other duties and has some other news and lots of interesting things that have happened in Monty’s career since we last spoke with him.
So we are excited to have him back. Monty, welcome.
Monty Patel: [00:00:27] I appreciate you having me… both of y’all.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:31] Absolutely. We are excited to be able to have you back talk about all of the things that you’ve been able to do since we last talked. And there’s been a lot of exciting developments. I want to give you a chance quickly for people maybe before they go back and listen to this one.
Maybe they’re going to listen to the other episode, but there’ll be some people who just want a quick recap. So give us a. 32nd bio, who is Monte Patel. And then we’ll dive into some of the things that you’ve been up to recently.
Monty Patel: [00:00:58] Well, I’m an assistant coach [00:01:00] in the state of Arkansas. I’ve just been working my way up the ladder, trying to just get to the pinnacle of my career.
I’ve been to top some of the top states in the school and north little rock and Marion. That was while we were on the podcast together before, and just been just going after it, grinding myself up and trying to get to the next move and get myself to my goals.
Mike Klinzing: [00:01:24] All right. So ultimately your goal is refresh our memory.
I know what it is. You want to be a head coach.
Monty Patel: [00:01:30] I don’t want to be a head coach at the high school level or, I mean, I’m not opposed to college and it just has to be the right fit and the right scenario. And I think I could be good at it, but you don’t know until you’re jump in there.
Mike Klinzing: [00:01:43] So true.
All right. Give us the story of how you get to your current position assistant coach at Jacksonville high school.
Monty Patel: [00:01:50] So I had five coaches in five years. The last time we talked whether they left or whether I left. So I went from cost tied river to Marion. [00:02:00] Had a great two years at Costa Tai and that Marion high school right outside of Memphis.
And then I got to the number one school in the state, north little rock and had an awesome year there. And then once I left there a spot where my family lived, my parents lived and I wanted to get closer to them, opened up at Jacksonville. And the coaches at north little rock knew them. And they were like, Hey, we can help you get that position if you want it.
They made a call or two. And next thing I knew I was there.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:25] What has been the most gratifying part of being on the Jacksonville staff?
Monty Patel: [00:02:32] I mean, I love the fact that I still get to work and, and Coach Joiner. He’s our head coach. He lets me just do what I need to do, do what I want to do. He treats me like a second head coach most gratifying thing.
We were fortunate. We got to the state championship game. Technically we’re not supposed to say we’re coast state champs, but in my opinion, I’m, I’m a winner and loser type of guy. And so we didn’t get to play the game because that’s when the pandemic broke out, but most gratifying part was [00:03:00] getting there.
I just didn’t get to taste what it’d be like being in that game.
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:04] Yeah. I think you were not the only person that unfortunately as experienced that and I’d had to be tough. How did you guys handle that? I mean, I can’t even imagine being a kid who was a senior now it’s bad enough. If you’re a player, who’s going to have an opportunity to return the next year.
It’s bad enough if you’re a coach, because we all know that those opportunities are few and far between, but at least theoretically, if you’re an underclassmen or you’re a coach, you’re going to have another shot at that opportunity. But if you’re a senior. And that’s your only opportunity that had to be devastating.
How did you guys handle that situation with your kids? Cause obviously there’s a ton of disappointment that you didn’t get an opportunity to play that state championship game. I mean,
Monty Patel: [00:03:49] It was just crazy. It’s crazy to think about because when we were going through the season and then the match-ups came out and now we’re working our way through the tournament.
First, the [00:04:00] team we beat is my former team at Marion where the kids that we started developing and playing early in their careers. Cause we knew that’d be special, which I turned out to be very special team is who we have to knock out to get to the state championship game. So I’m like this is bittersweet in a way, but we get there and we, we win that game when we’re losing our 11 miles in the locker room as any other team would.
And. You know, now it’s a week of practice and just, just get after it, get ready, get prepared for who we’re playing. We’re playing west Memphis, who has a kid. That’s an Auburn commit. Chris Moore. We have a kid that’s an Arkansas commit Devante Davis. And then they’re also best friends. So a lot of the storyline was there.
You know, it just made itself up and we’re practicing, practicing. And at some point I know either Devo the kid that’s at Arkansas. Now he’s having one of the better practices he’s had and he’s feeling froggy and throws the throws a, just an underhand [00:05:00] scoop to the Blackboard bounces off there, catches the one hand.
Dunks it. And coaches looks at me. He’s like, you know what, forget it. We don’t need a practice no more. We’re just, we’re just going to go play that before someone gets hurt out here, because these guys are ready. We know what we need to do. We had high Q players on that team. I mean, we ended up having cause that team graduated last year, we ended up.
Five college players on that team. Two division, one, two jucos the one in AIA saw. I mean, we had dudes on that team and so we were just ready to go and, and then we just get the news and actually get it from like a friend in the, in the news reporting world. And she’s like schools in Arkansas about to be shut down.
That’s an, excuse me. She was like, they’re about to be shut down if you need to go to Walmart and get stuff. And luckily I was on lunch, so I just went and snagged a bunch of things to get to my house real quick. And then the news started breaking, Hey, everyone’s got to leave school, call your parents, call your ride.
Right now, this pandemic is getting there and no one knows what to do. And they played the first state [00:06:00] title games that Thursday and Friday, they canceled them. And we were supposed to play Saturday, the one o’clock game and we were toast. And I just, I knew from that point, we weren’t making that game up.
There was just no way that they were going to make those games. I just didn’t know how they were going to award things, which they named, they named everyone to stay champion just who made it from their side versus in versus saying a coast state champ. But me as a competitor, I am, I wanted to play.
And I knew a lot of those guys on the table, but I’ll still see those guys on the man. I think we don’t want it, but you know, it’s just now it’s fun. Hypothetical’s
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:37] You have theoretical bragging rights for the rest of your life.
Monty Patel: [00:06:40] Yeah. I’m telling you, it’s so sad for our kids. I mean they’re, they’re the group message and they’re just losing their minds.
Like, and we’re sitting here trying to calm down, like trying to be optimistic and just, and you know, I even look at Devo was a senior, he was the only one going to college. He’s going to play in the sec. So I was like, tank’s Devo after about a [00:07:00] week. And I said, Devo was about to go get in the weight room.
Like I’ve got a gym it’s private. You can go there. It’ll be other high caliber players like you, but there might be four. But you need to get in the waiting room. And so then I just kind of used my Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, cause I was out of school aside from doing virtual stuff of just taking them to the weight room, taking them back and then just watching a lot of Netflix because you couldn’t go anywhere else.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:26] What were the kids saying to you guys as coaches in that moment? Were they more angry? Were they more disappointed? Did it sort of run the gamut from moment to moment? Just what was, what was the kids feeling like?
Monty Patel: [00:07:42] Yeah, it was moment to moment. I mean this generation and everyone says, and I know I’m old because now I’m saying generations different.
Cause you know, when it happens and we go home, they’re all like, well we’re state champs, we’re coast, state champs. And they’re, they’re pumped like, Hey, when, when do we get our rings? And I’m sitting here [00:08:00] like, yo, I wanna play the game. Like I would rather play the game and lose than not play the game and get.
But, I mean, I was supporting where this ring proudly, like, don’t get it twisted. I’ll be excited about it. But at the same time I went to play, but those kids, they were just like, we want a ring, we’re ready to get our rings fit. You know, they got to eventually do that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:08:19] Yeah. I think as a competitor I’d want to play, I, it would always that that would always hang over me that I didn’t get to finish the job.
And I think there were a lot of people, athletes, coaches all across the country that had that dream taken away, that there was nothing that they could do. And obviously we understand the seriousness of the pandemic and the fact that we’re going on, whatever, it’s been 18 months to this point. And who knows if there’s an end in sight, the way things are going.
But nonetheless, it was just a really, really difficult situation for everybody to be able to [00:09:00] navigate. And it’s. That you then took it once it became clear to you that that game wasn’t going to be played, that you kind of shifted your focus and decided, Hey, I’ve got an opportunity to help one of our players to prepare for that college experience.
So talk a little bit about, more, talk a little bit more about that in terms of what you guys did, what you tried to get him to accomplish in the weight room and just how you, what role you played in helping to prepare him for his freshman year at Arkansas
Monty Patel: [00:09:27] I mean, even me, I don’t I don’t take credit any of this.
He has, he’s a very competitive kid. If you watch the NCAA tournament watching the Arkansas games, you would’ve seen it quick, but I mean, just telling them, Hey, we need to get you in the weight room. And he was saying, okay. I mean, and I hate when kids text her back. Okay. And he knows it, but he knew okay. To like, when he said, okay, was like, all right, I’m ready.
And so I was like, I’ll pick you up. And so took them out there first time. I knew he wasn’t feeling it second time. You know, now he’s kind of being. Now my dude, [00:10:00] eventually you’re just going to fall in love with it. You just gotta give it time because you can’t show up at Arkansas and not have done anything until the move in day.
And then I know he missed a workout and, and I can take them that time. And the gym guy, who’s a really good close friend of mine. He texts me. He’s like, man, he didn’t come. And he no call no show. And you know, I, I kind of went off on Debo about it. Just said, Debo, these, these people are helping you. These people are taking time out of their day.
If you’re not going to make it, that’s fine. But you need to tell him. And he said, he has, sorry, I’m sorry. I texted him. Wait. And I was like, okay, well let’s not let it happen again. And then he went back to a back to it and then one Wednesday or one Monday, one of the days, he’s I didn’t get a text about, Hey, pick me up here to take me.
And Jimmy’s like, Hey, he showed up, where are you? And I was like, oh. And then I knew at that point he fell in love with it. And so he went, he didn’t miss a workout from that point. He finally started seeing it. And then it was funny. Cause like a picture pops up. That the people at the gym [00:11:00] posted of him.
And it was just, it was a really good angled picture, but you knew he got bigger and stronger, but I mean, you would’ve thought this dude added 40, 50 pounds of muscle in a month and a half of just what the picture looked like. I mean, and there were jokes going around on Twitter about his, name’s not Devo it’s Debo and just making little references like Friday.
But I mean, he fell in love with it and he ran with it and I mean, Hey that on top of them, they had a goal there. They had a gun there. They had a couple other high level players in there where they’d play some incredible games of two on two, which I just sat back and watched sometimes it’d be three on three, but we never had more than eight people in there.
And just sitting there watching them do that and just work on his craft and get better and get up shots and just the people he had in his life, helping him find a gym and stay ready. I mean, it was awesome to see it was awesome. It’s, it’s easy to know why he has so much. As much success as he did this year.
Mike Klinzing: Now you have [00:12:00] another kid that’s going to follow in his footsteps, going to Arkansas. So now you’ve got
Monty Patel: [00:12:06] his guys. So he played at our rival school and now transferred over to north little rock. But you know him close. We just knew each other from the conference and just kinda got good with the family and just got just talking ball and told them I’d help out in any way I could.
But yeah, he signed with Arkansas today. It was awesome for him. I mean he invited me and he told me he was like, I’m inviting you because I know you’re a big hog fan. I was like, oh yeah, we got you there too. We got you there. I’m excited.
Mike Klinzing: [00:12:34] Very cool. So when you think about two, obviously high-level players who are going to play major division one basketball, what have you learned from them?
Both as student athletes and just in terms of. Lessons that you can pull from your time when you’ve worked with them, that you can share with [00:13:00] other kids that you coach both now and in the future, maybe in terms of their work ethic or just the way they go about their business, or maybe there’s some other lesson that you’ve taken from them that you think can apply to some of the other players that you work with.
Monty Patel: [00:13:14] So some of it, in my opinion is you can’t teach it. I mean, when you watched him in practice, when you watched him in practice and you’re just like, man, he’s incredible. Like he can go and then the game comes and he takes it to another level. And you’re like, how did he do that? He sees past it sometimes that coaches should see and they might’ve missed it.
He saw it on the court as a point guard. But then like you, you credit his work. Cause you know, a big thing in Arkansas right now that he does is he’ll like snap a picture, put it on Twitter at five 30 or 6:00 AM and says. Or in the gym or in the lab, or is this some kind of something about being in the gym that late, and then there’ll be back in the gym around 11:00 PM that night [00:14:00] on top of the practice.
I mean, this kid literally got up at 6:00 AM high school kid, 6:00 AM went to the gym, worked out, lifted, shot that all those things got out of school at noon would be back in the gym around to taking more shots, doing those types of things, just working on his craft, to practicing with us once practicing it, even me, I would be like, Hey, Debo, if you want to stick around I’ll rebound, we’ll do some shooting drills.
Somebody like coach already got a workout schedule with his trainers like, oh, cool. All right. See you I’m not going to fight you about it. So he’d hop out of the gym, go get another workout. And then by that time, it’s time to go to bed, do it all over again. So I mean, how much work he put in.
Shown on a national level, because even when he blew up, for whatever reason, people are like, oh, well you did it. I was out, I didn’t do nothing. But that kid that came to senior year, the dude was already ranked and everything. Like I came in here and just told [00:15:00] him stories about how athletes have thrown it away to what athletes have been successful that I’ve seen in my life.
And you know, what, what it means to be a Razorback, what, how people are going to treat you what your social media needs to look like. And those types of things that I’m, I know other people have those conversations with. So at the end of the day, I just built a great relationship with him. As I do all the other kids we had, he just got such a focus because he was at the school in the state.
So, but I mean with just that type of kid, man, I mean, just to be honest, he was a freak. I mean, 6’4” point guard that and that guarded at a high level, every scout and report, even, even playing the kid that just committed. Who’s a five star, top 10 in the country. When he was a sophomore by Debo, you got Nick.
He said, okay, put me on whoever you want, whoever we need to stop. And he, and he literally didn’t care. He guarded the best player, every game and carried our offensive load, made everyone around him better. And he was smart while he did it too. I mean, he, he’s one of those kids that knew his stats, the whole [00:16:00] game.
Oh, I got this assist. I got three rebounds here. I got two points here. His nickname was Mr. Triple double in high school. Cause he had 11 of them in school, in high school ball. But he also knew what he was doing. He was bored during games. And I started learning that later because in practice I was like, man, we don’t have anyone that can challenge you.
So how can I make this practice harder? What if coach is talking here’s 10 burpees. What if I only let you play with your right hand? What if you can’t like take any of the ball screens? What if you only have two. And I’m telling you, I got tired of doing it because he was bored. He could do. And I’m like, I don’t know how to challenge this kid.
He’s just, he’s just there. So he just, we just worked on it and made sure no one got hurt.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:42] How did he take to those challenges when you throw those out there?
Monty Patel: [00:16:44] Shrug the shoulders and didn’t care. And he just did it. I was like, Devo, do 10 burpees. Just look at me, shrug his shoulders, do 10 burpees, go out there, kill it.
A possession cultural stop to correct something. Debo. You got two dribbles. Okay. Two right-hand dribbles. [00:17:00] Okay. And I’m like, you gotta be kidding me. And I just, I mean, it was to a point where I was like, man, I’m defeated. Like what do I do? And I even called a couple of coaches. Like, did you ever have a high level kid that, that you just couldn’t challenge?
And I mean, most coaches replied, well, the high level kids, I had thought they were too good to do any of this stuff that you’re telling me. Right. So I’ve already failed at that point. And I’m like, well, he ain’t got no ego like that. Like, he’ll do whatever his ass he’ll get frustrated at times as any other player.
But it was like frustration you can live with because it’s about winning and losing.
Mike Klinzing: [00:17:35] It sounds to me like the lesson that you could pull out to share with other players or with a coach is trying to give more to their players is look, it’s the work ethic, right? I mean, clearly he has an unbelievable amount of talent.
And when we talk talent, we’re talking about running, jumping, being athletic, things that not every player is [00:18:00] gifted with. So there’s, there’s a certain level of athleticism. If you want to play at the division one level, if you want to play eventually professionally, there’s just a level of talent quote, unquote that you have to have.
But I think what I hear you saying and what, when we think of who the best players are, At every level, whether you’re talking about high school players, whether you’re talking about college players, pro players, you’re talking about that ability to have that work ethic and wanting to not only challenge themselves outside externally, but I think that challenge internally to be the best that they can possibly be.
I think that’s what I take away from those stories that it’s not just, Hey, I’m a talented kid and I roll the balls out. It’s no, I’ve got to get in the gym. I got to work. And when you described his daily schedule and you think about what it takes to be a successful division, one college basketball player, I’m not sure everybody realizes what it really [00:19:00] takes.
Monty Patel: [00:19:01] I mean, if you asked me like let’s, I bullet pointed out a competitor for sure. And they like with kids, I tell them what kind of kid he was. Teachers at Jacksonville loved him. And it wasn’t cause he was going to the Razorback. Cause I’ve had plenty of teachers and kids who are like, man, this kid’s really good basketball player.
And I know that, but he just doesn’t act right in class. And you know, you’ve heard that spill and, and with him, they loved him because he was respectful. He did his work. And so, and you know, the smarter you are, the easier things come to you. So concepts were easy for him cause he paid attention to stuff.
So I mean if I bullet pointed it, work ethic, competitiveness good character like phenomenal kid. I mean you, when kids see the dude, like he came to Jacksonville middle school this year, the second day of school to, well like greet kids in the door and half the kids were too afraid to even take a picture with him.
Cause they don’t know him as Devo Davis of Jacksonville high school. They don’t Devo [00:20:00] Davis, Arkansas razor. And he’s just sitting there like, Hey, how are you? Good morning. First period is here. We’re in foundations class. And the kids just like eyes just lit up and saw, I mean, yeah, you’re right. And then there’s just probably 50 lessons.
I like people probably eventually get tired of hearing me say, man, I’ll tell you about Devo. Here’s what he did. And you know, we had other kids that worked hard too by all means, but it’s like Devo just got the recognition in the state.
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:27] Well, I think the thing is too, is when you have that certain baseline of talent, what I love to see when I think about myself as a coach, or I think about players that I played with back in the day, you think about guys who.
Maximized their ability, whatever that ability might’ve been like, how close did they get to reaching their potential and taking advantage of all the gifts that they were given? We all know as [00:21:00] coaches or as players, we know people who compete are competitive, who have a great work ethic who have high character.
And those are the people I think that we tend to respect as coaches. We respected them as players because they got the most out of what they were given. And then in the same breath, I think we can all think of that player who had just an immense amount of talent, but never put it to the best use. Never maximize that talent by having a great work ethic or by having great character.
Instead, they were always willing to kind of go half speed and never put their best effort in, or they were kind of a jerk or whatever it might’ve been. And. I think it’s just important to remember that what it means is that not everybody has the potential to be a high, major division, one player. Some people just don’t have the natural physical gifts that are required to [00:22:00] play at that level.
And yet at the same time, they can maximize what they have and be a very good high school player. Or maybe they’re a small college player, or maybe they’re a player who plays in high school and ends up just playing intramural basketball in college, whatever it might be, but they’re maximizing their potential.
I think to me, that’s the lesson.
Monty Patel: [00:22:20] No, for sure. I was the intermural player by the way, but for sure. And I mean, even with him, I mean, you saw it when, when Arkansas was playing this year, he got there and people are asking what do you expect from Devo? He was the lowest ranked of the four guys that signed.
I think by the end of the year he starts, I think he starts from day one and they’re like, you’re just being biased. I was like, I just know what he is. And, and he ends up leading us if I want to say, if I’m correct, he was our scoring leader in the NCAA tournament at 12 points, a game, maybe second on the team.
And they didn’t run a single play for him. It came [00:23:00] from the defensive end. It came from transition and they didn’t, they never ran a play for him all year. And he had had an 18 point gave a 16 point game. And just like, how do you how do you keep finding ways to fit in? How do you make your team better?
And the whole team loves, played with him. The coaching staff would call and be like, yo, the student’s different. And I’m like, I know, but like, is he different, different, like, does he have NBA potential? And they’re like, like he might only be here to. He maybe has to take a third maybe, but if things work out right, he’s got to take two.
I was like, Hey, like, I didn’t realize you were that good. Just don’t play defense really. I mean, just, just being a locked down kid and J and then everything else you just made. So many guys better,
Mike Klinzing: [00:23:56] That ability to make other players better, I think is so [00:24:00] underrated. And when you look at players who have success, I think what you’re looking at is guys who have an impact, a on both ends of the floor and B, they have a positive impact on the environment where they are, whether that’s the practice environment, whether that’s in a game, whether that’s on the team bus at the team meal or whatever.
I think those are the players that everybody’s looking for. Those are the players that high school coaches love the college coaches love. And eventually if you have the necessary. Ability the code, the players that pro coaches love. And so it’s really exciting. It’s gotta be gratifying for you to be able to see the success that he’s had.
And just to, again, not take any credit for it, but just to feel like you had some impact on who he is and what his career is all about, it’s gotta be exciting. And I think when anytime you can have that, that personal connection to somebody, it just makes everything it’s just [00:25:00] makes everything much more exciting.
And I’m sure for you as a lifelong Arkansas Razorbacks fan to now have somebody that you actually know personally on the team, that’s gotta be even more exciting for you to sit down and watch a game than it would have been in the past. I’m sure.
Monty Patel: [00:25:15] I mean, it’s awesome. And like I helped them move in.
I went up there. Take a bunch of his stuff loaded up the car. We moved them in and all that good stuff. And I said, diva, when you get your schedule, probably the first week of what’s going on here, let me know that. Okay. And so he sent it and you know, it says voluntary work, voluntary work, and it’s got for voluntary work.
That’s the Devo’s first week in college. I’m not telling you what to do, but voluntary in college. Does that mean voluntary? You better show up every single one is that everyone is that every single one until the coaches literally say, Hey, you cannot come to these because you’re doing too much show up.
It’s all you went to every single one and just kept going and kept [00:26:00] going and made himself a gym rat. And I knew, I think the day. Like, like they hit me and I like teared up real bad, probably cried. Okay. Just I’m a man. I said, I got a call from diva and he said, are you coming? And I said to the game, I was like, I’ll get, so it’s a Wednesday game.
I got work said, I’m starting. I said, huh? He’s like, and you know, we had an injury on the team. We didn’t know who was going to start. It was a power forward that actually got injured, small for power for Justin Smith. And he was like, I’m starting. I was like, dang it. Yeah, I’m coming three hours. I got to drive three hours in three hours right back to go to work the next day.
But I haven’t come in yet. And then I was like, man, like he really respects me and I, and I loved it and I was just happy about it. And then I remember once the NCAA tournament stuff around was coming around and selection Sunday happened, he called the gate. He said, you coming? I said, Debo, I’ll come to one game.
I’m there until the national championship. He said, how many tickets you [00:27:00] need for the national championship? I said, all right, I’m talking. I was in Indianapolis at both weekends, which that experience was another whole cool experience. Cause you think about it all 68 teams were in one place that’s never happening again ever.
And so he had me tickets for that. And so I went down there. I literally drove down there, drove right back the next day. Cause I had a, you try out and I was so annoyed because I didn’t think all this through. And so I had, Hey, you try out that Sunday. It had to watch a second round game.
We beat Matt McClung at Texas tech and then just get a call. You make it it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, if you don’t think I’m coming so sweet 16 to elite eight where he’s playing my friends from Baylor and I texted my Baylor buddies and I just sent them my eyeballs just, Hey, what’s the word? Which highly Baylor was good and you know, odds were against us, but try to get them.
But element, it was awesome. It was an awesome experience [00:28:00] it’s near to is here and got to see him not too long ago, came back, gave him the school, went up there and watched them practice. So I’m just, I’m happy for him. I’m happy for what kind of kid he is and how he handles himself. And just everything that’s coming his way is very well deserved for him.
And he did it all.
Mike Klinzing: [00:28:18] You talk about the relationships that you’re able to build and that you try to build with kids. And I think the stories that you’ve told tonight illustrate the value of a relationship with a player and clearly the value of this relationship. You’re getting to, you’re getting to follow him more closely because he’s playing at the University of Arkansas and it’s extremely gratifying for you to see that.
And yet I’m sure you’re building those same types of relationships with kids who aren’t getting the. Same opportunities. And really it’s just to me, when I think about what coaching is all about, I always [00:29:00] say it all, it comes down to those relationships that you’re building with your players and what that relationship looks like after a player graduates after they leave, what does that relationship look like?
Do they continue to come back? Do they continue to stay in contact? And obviously that’s worked for you and it’s a Testament to your ability to build relationships with the kids that you coach. And I know we talked about that the last time you were on, and we’re continuing to talk about that tonight, but from what I know of you, that seems like a huge strength in what you’re trying to do.
So to go along with that, you’ve had a couple opportunities besides the one at Jacksonville to coach at a high level in AAU and also coach in the basketball tournament and coach the Arkansas team. In that tournament for people who aren’t aware, maybe you could just fill them in a little bit about what the TBT is all about.
Maybe let’s start there and then we can go to the AAU part second
Monty Patel: [00:29:59] TBT was a [00:30:00] $1 million winner take all March madness style tournament that 64 teams and whoever was at the end was a millionaire team. It was made up of some could be alumni team. Some could be teams are just really good players. I mean, it was, it was almost in a sense, big boy, AAU and intermural was mixed together.
You got your AAU squad and that’s your alumni. And for us, we were the university of Arkansas alumni team. And then you got your intermural team of guys that were. Hey, we knew each other from this G league time, let’s get us two together. And would these two guys that we played against, or I knew from the state and put our bid in to be a team.
And so, I mean, Tommy was aired on ESPN ESPN, two ESPN three I mean just a bunch of professional basketball players competing out there and showcasing their ability, trying to get a bigger contract or trying to get back in the NBA.
Mike Klinzing: [00:30:55] How did that opportunity come to you?
Monty Patel: [00:30:55] I mean, again, I, I [00:31:00] I’m not afraid to admit it if Devo didn’t play at Jacksonville and I didn’t have that job and he didn’t have that success at Arkansas, I don’t get back.
Cause people still overvalue how much I did in terms of like coaching him up versus like, I got a call and it was just, it was a text. And he was like, Hey, I want to offer you the head coach of TBT. And I’m literally on my way back from this elite eight where we lost. With my, like one of my best friends.
And I was like, Jordan, this is a joke. This has gotta be a prank, like, who is this? And so me just know, like, knowing, I just know it’s a joke. Like I would offer you to be the head coach. And if we win, we’ll pay you X amount of dollars. And I first thought was I going to tell a Jordan on the side, just laughing.
So, cause this is a joke, my man, they can pay me $5 an hour, this but this yes I am in. And so I just literally replied that, don’t know this guy from anybody. And I said, when do I start? And he [00:32:00] was just like, oh, well you just need to do this, this and this. And we’ll get ready to roll. It’s like, you’re joking.
And then he told me the roster and we kind of got into those conversations. He was at work. So he was like, I’ll call you later. And we got on the phone and I was like, who are you? How did you get my number? Why in the world are you asking me? And then like the biggest question was, am I qualified enough to do this?
Mike Klinzing: [00:32:28] How did he answer those questions?
Monty Patel: [00:32:29] I mean, he was just like, man, I’ve had this kind and I’ve had this experience and this, and you know, and some of it was positive. Someone was negative. I was like, okay. I was like, I think I can do it. I’m going to need help. I know a couple of the guys on the roster from, that had played at Arkansas or in passing and then like one of my, one of the guys I’ve known real well for a long time, a hundred bagels, Cindy played at ours.
And so I played at Kansas. I called him, I was like, yo hunter, you’re doing this TBT. And he’s like, yeah, what’s up. I [00:33:00] was like, I’m the head coach? He said, what? And I was like, I’m the head coach? Can I do it? He was like, can you coach? I was like, yeah. He’s like, yeah. You know, basketball. And I was like, can I coach pros?
Hunter? Perot’s like grown men. He was like, yeah. I was like, you’re sure. He’s like, I was like, so if I come coach you, you’re going to take me serious. He’s like, yeah, why wouldn’t I respect your opinions? Oh, all right. This is news to me. And so even talking to him about it, he was just like, cause I, man, I’ve heard your name in the coaching ranks.
Someone brought your name up. I had actually two people, which I’m still thankful for, for, to this day. And they’re like you should get him. And he knows a lot of people, he can bring a lot of value and I’m sitting here like scared out of my mind for the first two weeks. I am just scared. And then finally, like the nerves get out of me, the jitters get out of me.
I’m like, it’s just basketball. And then I was thinking, I just need to find guys smarter than me that want to be on the bitch. [00:34:00] Cause then if I find that I’ll be okay, so started making phone calls to put together a staff. I told them I wanted a staff. I wonder they full staff of guys to help me. I wanted to know how the money situation was set up.
Are we paying guys or are we not? And how the ins and out of that work, and then I’m talking. That was between high school off season, getting ready for team camps, AAU, where I just had tryouts and don’t even know all these guys that we picked out on our team very well, aside from the kids from Jacksonville that we took.
And then this I’m like, this’ll be a juggling act and I need help. And I don’t mind asking for it. And so we just started getting to work.
Mike Klinzing: [00:34:44] So who’d you ask, who was your staff? Who did you target?
Monty Patel: [00:34:47] Well, when I brought it up in the group chat of friends, one of my, one of my coaching buddies, he was, is the assistant for us at Jacksonville.
He said, I want to help you don’t have to pay me. I just want to be a part of the staff. Like, I’ll do whatever he asks whatever. And I was like, man, sure. But I was like, [00:35:00] I need someone to be my like second chair first share. However you look at it. I needed someone to be the associate head coach for this that can help.
And so university of central Arkansas Brock Witters me and him had a really good relationship. He was a college coach. He was actually youngest division one assistant coach. At the time at, when he first got in. So I called Brock and I just remember being at a friend’s house called brothers had brought, got a question for you.
Nobody knows this is going on yet. And so just between us, but I got made the TBT coach. Do you want to be my assistant? He was just like, well, I just don’t know how it’s going to go with recruiting. And he’s like, I’m a find out and I’ll let you know and call me back. He said, I’m in. So you’re in, you’re sure.
Like you’re not lying. And he was like, yeah, I’m in. And you know, thankfully his coach Anthony Boone, a head coach at university of central Arkansas gave him the time he needed to, to do that for us. And on top of balancing his load at a division one university. And so being brought, got on the staff [00:36:00] meetings and started rolling through and, and then we were like, we need one more person and who can we get?
And we kind of bounced around different names and we came to one that he told me it would be perfect for what we needed and what I was looking. And we got him involved. And then just from there started putting together a playbook started putting together rosters, went to meet Sonny Weems, who was one of the GM’s of the team who was also one incredible human being of just how he handles himself, which we can get into that.
But Sonny played for the suns. The 76ers had a great NBA career played in China. So Sonny was back in the U S and I was like, Sonny, you’re the GAM. I want to come to dinner with you. And I want to know what I’m looking at because they’re my, the GM that’s am I like the coach? That’s getting coaching decisions because now you’re looking you read NBA stuff on Twitter and on, and you know, articles, like how does the GM going to want the coach to out.
[00:37:00] And how does he want the roster put together? And Sunday was just like, you got free rein you’re the coach. He’s like, I wouldn’t be where I am without a coach. So everyone needs a coach. So you do what you need. If the players don’t walk in, like, like get in line, then we’ll get rid of them. And I was like, that’s all I need to know.
And so we, we got to work on our roster you know, Keith, our GM, he was a big part of the roster on who we should contact. And, and then we just talked to Sonny as well about guys he knew and what could help, what could her, what we needed and just put together our roster.
Mike Klinzing: [00:37:34] How many guys said no?
When you asked them?
Monty Patel: [00:37:38] You know, I know when I, when I say I was, I was six degrees of separation, I was, I mean, I was talking to guys like Russ Smith. I was talking to guys like Peyton Siva from Louisville eyes, reaching out to Archie Goodwin. That that was a lottery. Yeah. And that’s from Arkansas and aren’t, you was already on a team Darrell make [00:38:00] him another guy that was in the NBA.
He already had some NBA workouts lined up. Couldn’t blame him Peyton Siva and Russ Smith said they were, they were okay. They were going to pass on the opportunity because there the associate head coach from Louisville is the head coach at Arkansas state. So kind, kinda just use my networking skills to get to these people.
The one guy had from a high school coach in Arkansas that I called, he had turned us down and said he wasn’t going to play at all. Apparently he got offered a good amount of money to actually play guaranteed that we didn’t have, and his team actually won it. And he ended up signing to the patient. So I’m like, man, like we were close to getting him, but I mean, we still had Jaylen Barford who played beat in the G league and, and dusty Hannahs who’d been in the G league got called up to the Grizzlies Markel Crawford.
Who’d been at the G league, got called up before Kavian Pippin, Scottie Pippin’s nephew. I mean, Josh Hagans was on that [00:39:00] ULR run with Chris beard. And then Chris Beard left for Texas tech. I mean, and then obviously hunter Mickelson and then we had the Chris Coffey in AI, national player of the year that grew three inches.
I mean, we had a team of dudes that, or like bought in, I mean, and just went to going at it. I mean, I I’m still getting excited even thinking about it cause I don’t know how it happened.
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:23] What does the prep look like? So how many practices do you have before you head to the tournament? What are those practices look like?
Just, how do you go about organizing that when it’s for a one-off tournament with a bunch of guys that haven’t played together before?
Monty Patel: [00:39:42] The first thing I knew is I did not want to be the guy that got caught with his pants down, not knowing roles or things going on. We were playing college basketball rules.
So we went through all the rules that they sent out the TBT did. You had to know about the , which is they, they add a, [00:40:00] at a certain number, which for this was eight to the winning team score when they shut the clock out and everyone’s target score is that number. So they added that. So how did that operate?
What special situations came out of it? And then me just, I know how I am and I went stuff done. I went to calling the people at TBT cause they only have eight people on staff we learn and our GMs had their numbers, so we’d call them. And I was like, listen, I just want the game films. I want the game pills from the last four years.
My last four years, I guess I I’m going to watch every single team that went to the finals and won it. And so then knowing I had a staff and I was like, y’all watch these, I’ll watch these. And we just try to figure out what they did and what, what strategies there could have been to be had to do that.
Then, then in our staff meetings, we talked about what plays work for pros. Like what, what quick hitters went off? It’s how to how did we want to do our blogs? How do we want to do our slobs? Just [00:41:00] things like that. And I mean in our staff meetings, we put them together. And when we said what we liked, what we didn’t like we got together for three days.
We add a fourth day as we had a first day, which was more open gym, get into town. Cause a lot of these guys don’t live in Arkansas anymore. So they’re coming in and you know, we’re putting them up at hotels, which I’m going around getting sponsorships for. So can’t just kill all that money.
So they came in to open gym if they wanted to. And then the next day we had our first practice and we did that for three days, putting in installing everything. And at that point of first practice where you’re a little jittery of just, I’m a high school assistant. I don’t coach pros. What is this going to look like?
How am I gonna know these guys are bought in? And this was some of the stuff I was very vulnerable with the staff we put together, which, which ended up being Brock Witters and you know, Carter rants. And they were just like, Do what you just said, be the most prepared [00:42:00] person there, how to answer, have the correct answers to everything, but don’t be afraid to admit that you will find out later.
And so when guys had questions, I had the answers to all of them. I’d already looked them up. I’d already went through the scenarios and I earned their respect because we already knew who we were playing. We used the synergy from college that broccoli had access to. We used FIBA stuff that these guys were playing overseas with.
And we put together scouting reports and we sent it out two days before the first practice on a PDF to every single person’s phone, including the GM’s here’s the scouting report. Here’s what we believe. They’ll try to run. Here’s who we believe they’ll try to play with. And we were playing TCU alumni team, the Fort worth font with Alex Robinson and Willie Warren from Oklahoma.
And I mean, we knew them by the back of our hand at the time. Cause we’d, we’d had everything down. We knew their shooting percentages. Coby rando or Curry. I [00:43:00] mean, we were, we were on top of it. And so we are in the players respect quick because they knew we were organized. They knew we, we were trying to, when we were trying to run the right way, we were trying to treat this like a professional team.
And, and we went through our scout. We, we sent them clips on their phone. Cause again, we respect their times as professionals that, Hey, watch this on your own time. Whenever you want this isn’t high school, we’ll have to have you in the film room to watch. But you know, we could have done that. And we’re like, Hey, here’s Phil three minutes, tops.
Watch it. Here’s the guys we’re going against. And you know, we believe that every single player watched it, whether they did or did or didn’t can tell you, but the way they responded to us, we assumed they watched it. So little stuff like that. I mean, just add it all up so quickly that by the time the first practice started, I had the whistle and, and we started going through shooting drills, just kind of getting the guys like warm.
Team offense defense and implementing the Eli mending strategy and what we were going to do [00:44:00] it it just, it just started going together. And I just felt like I was back in my natural element of man, this is basketball. Why am I overthinking stuff? Just coach and have fun because at the end of the day, I mean, I told my close friends, I’m not afraid to tell anyone now because I’m way more comfortable with the situation.
I’m not even supposed to be the coach, but I, I’m not supposed to be here. So I have nothing to lose. If we win, I have things to gain. If we went in the whole thing while I have a lot of, I have a million things to gain, but if we lose, like I wasn’t supposed to be in this spot in the first place. So give it everything I got and let’s see what happens.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:37] Absolutely. I mean, I think you want to put yourself in the best position to succeed and what the theme that came through there for me is just the amount of preparation that you were able to do to. No, the rules inside and out to know what you wanted to do on offensively and defensively, what your philosophy was going to be.
And then I’m sure, just as [00:45:00] we’ve talked about your ability to build relationships with these guys was important. You’ve talked a couple of times about, are they going to respect me? And I think that that’s something, those doubts are things that creep in for all of us. Maybe it’s in our profession, maybe it’s in our personal life in some way.
I think we all have that quote imposter syndrome where I’m not sure is this really what I’m supposed to be doing. And I think you overcome that by being prepared. And if you’re prepared, you can go into something being excited and nervous to some degree, but more about just the fact that you’re in a, you’re in a high stakes environment, you’re going to perform you want to perform well you’re going to perform well because.
You’ve prepared. So if you’re unprepared, then you go in with a completely different nervous feeling. Had you just walked in there and not studied the rules [00:46:00] and not understood and took the time that you did to build a staff and meet together before you get together with the players that you had your plan in place, you knew what you wanted to do, and you knew why you wanted to do it.
To me, that seems like a critical piece of why you were able to have success. When you think about that, how did you, or how long did it take for the players to come together? Because as you said, it’s not like they’re all living together in the dorms. Like you have in a college environment, or they’re not all living in the same city.
Like you have in a high school environment where they’re seeing each other all the time, every day in school, these are guys that are living all over different places, come together to try to form a team with one common goal. So when did you see them starting to come together? How did that happen and how long did it.
Monty Patel: [00:46:51] Well, it was the thing was because of the requirements for an alumni team, we had to have seven guys minimum [00:47:00] that were affiliated with the university of Arkansas, meaning they had played there for at least a year. So seven of the 10 guys we carried, played at Arkansas. So when these guys saw each other, it wasn’t a first-time thing.
They’re like fam what’s up giving each other hugs. Ain’t seen you in a while. How’s the family has the kids. So like that made it easier for us. These dudes knew each other. They knew what each other could do. That was, that was the easiest part. You know, we didn’t have to do any team building. We did, we all went to a big dinner, invited the family, kids, JJ, his grill paid, it, paid the tab for us.
But I mean, these guys already knew each other. So that made it easy for guys to know what each other like, and each other’s. And then we, we had told them on, cause we had watched all the failed them. These guys again, went through the statistics, went through their bios where they’d been and all that good stuff, just to get a, more of a stronger feel for these guys versus we just know you played at Arkansas.
And so we [00:48:00] knew what I Kavian and hunter, we, we can’t hedge screens with those guys. It’s they’re just a little too slow. Hunter might be able to just cause he’s a higher IQ player and he could, he’s a little more believable than gave y’all, but y’all too, we’re going to ice with you every time, any five to one, five to any guard picking roles are going to be iced for one through four, we’re going to switch lights, we’re going to switch everything and we’re, we’re versatile enough to do it.
And, and those guys knew that and it was so it was easy to just say, okay, they’re all nod their head in agreement. Like, yeah, we’re on board. That’s easy. That’s simple. So putting that together was great. And then again, just going back to even the respect for us that they had, I mean, I, I remember the first text I got back and I actually pulled it up.
I was like, Hey, this is our first round opponent who we’re projected to play and or who we believe to starting. And this was the biggest thing to me. I wanted these dudes to know that I had no ego. And so I was like, if you know anything more valuable than tell me and Dustin Thomas played at [00:49:00] Arkansas, I think he’s a phenomenal person, a phenomenal father and husband.
And he, he literally just said, man, that’s a great scout report. I know a lot of these guys, this dude can do this. This dude can do that. And I mean, he’s like, I played against this dude in 2015. I don’t know how much effective he is anymore. We gotta be aggressive in physical. He was just like, man, that was a great scouting report.
And I was, I’m lucky. I got a great staff. He’s like, man, I’m glad y’all are invested as y’all are. Then he’s like, when’s open gym. When do I get to get there? When do I check into the hotel? And you know, we’ve got, we’re going through all this stuff again. Being prepared then, then when they, these guys saw each other at the hotel, I’m sure it was more like, yo, what’s up, let’s hang out in the room, let’s catch up.
Let’s grab a drink. You know? I mean, that made it easy for us. The new guys that mixed in, they also already knew a couple of these guys from different avenues of basketball. So then they just made friends. Cause I mean, I remember dusty brought up the NAI, a kid, Chris Coffey that they didn’t know. And then [00:50:00] on man, she’s a grown version of Adrian Bailey who also played at Arkansas.
He just loves to sing bebop dunk on everybody got too much energy and just loves to have fun. And you can just tell those guys got along quit. I mean, it was grown in AAU. That’s all it was.
Mike Klinzing: [00:50:18] What’s the experience like in the tournament itself, obviously with the money there’s high stakes, these guys are committing time.
You’re committing time to be a part of it. What’s the experience like of actually playing. And the basketball tournament.
Monty Patel: [00:50:35] It was wild flight. I mean, just this first, let me, let me just go to where we get to the hotel. Okay. Me. I know who I am. I’m comfortable. I’m a, nobody like I’m like I have an assistant high school coach at Jacksonville.
Doesn’t nobody here know that aside from the people with us. Right. And we walk in with the team. I’m like, there’s Archie Goodwin lottery pick there’s Derek Williams, lottery compete. There’s Darren Collison [00:51:00] played in the NBA and he’s coaching one of the teams and all these guys just know each other while we’re all checking in and Dapping each other up.
And yeah. Again, she’s a big boy, a you all these guys are friends where they’ve got all the teams stand up the same hotel in Wichita. So I’m like, this is going to be either really good. Or this is going to turn into a big war zone if somebody loses or when somebody loses. But I mean they, they do all that.
The TBT staff was awesome. They got to shake them. We had to go through COVID protocols and stuff. We, we check into our rooms school down there, the ha the Heights high school, they had gave us their gym through a connection we’d had to where we can just privately go in there and shoot as much and stay in the gym as long as we want.
So we went through our walkthrough that day. Sorry. Again, incredible person. He was like, let’s, let’s do this. Right. Let’s take these boys out for a dinner on me. Pay like a $1,500 tab for our dinner as a team and a staff. Everyone got nice steak [00:52:00] dinner before we played a one o’clock game. Just kind of sent them little notes of, of the guys that they were having on their final roster.
Got up at 9:00 AM. Got everybody Chick-fil-A at 10 count mini. And then we said, Hey, we’re gonna there’s they’re giving us the gym at Wichita for an hour. We can go if you want. It’s optional. It’s early in the morning. If y’all want to rest. So some guys came, some guy arrested and they just did what they needed to do as professionals.
And we treated them as such and man, we walked in and getting metal to take them. You’ve got security, you’ve got parking. And I mean, in high school, I’ll walk in the back door, straight to the bench if I have to. And so here, they’re like, Hey, you can’t go on to the court till this time. Hey coach, we want to mic you up for ESPN.
Hey coach, can we interview some of your guys? I’m just like, how did these guys handle this? And then there’s cameras in our locker room. There’s there’s other like projects in the work that I can’t necessarily just get into, but there’s things going on in the work. So there’s other cameras in our locker room [00:53:00] and now.
I don’t say nothing stupid. Don’t say that just to make sure I know what I’m talking about. Don’t cuss, just little, little things like that, that I’m just trying to be very self-aware of, and then they’re like, you can get on the court at this time. We’re going to do the national Anthem on this style and one of the first game, and I’m telling you, we botched all of it, the national Anthem we’re going on, we’re facing the wrong way compared to what they wanted.
The team pictures missing two or three guys. So they had to redo it later. And but you know, the, the games came on. The they’re telling us, Hey, the media timeouts are very, very long, so just be ready for that. And you know, I’ve never had a media time outs. I’m like hit a wall minute 30, maybe full time out, submit it.
And they’d probably give us a minute 30 at a time. I was four minutes, five minutes, which feels like an eternity. So luckily Brock with his experience in coaching college basketball, he would keep me over and say, Hey, we got a while. Talk through your thoughts, then I’ll tell you mine. But you’re the head coach.
You’ve got thoughts. I know [00:54:00] you do smart guy. So I’ll tell him my thoughts is that good? I’m thinking the same thing. We’re good. Let’s change this. What do you think about this? And we talk out our thoughts and I try to go over to the huddle to tell these guys that I, no, no, we still got time. And so I’m like, okay, well what about this, this and this.
And then finally, I’d go over there. We talk, we get up and then they’d be like, no, no, no, the media timeouts still going, oh my goodness. I can’t even get a media time out. Right. And I mean, but in the game we started off on an eight oh run and I’m sitting here. My heart is already pounding. I mean, I think I’m about to just have a heart attack.
It is pounding out of my chest. Finally. I’ve kind of calmed down and now I’m ready. Like just in my thought, the game’s going, I’m yelling out ice, ice, the ball screen, Hey, send him left, send him left. Just whatever we need to. That’s a Colby, that’s a COBie. And and we go get to roll in like that. We go into halftime with the lead.
We make a few adjustments, we take a small run and then we get to the Ilan part. Well, now we have a three point lead going into Ilan. So [00:55:00] we had to get to, I want to say the final score was 68. So the score was a 57 to 60, the first one to 68 wins, CJ Jones, who in our rotation, which was another thing that we did that we that professionals do is we had rotations based off of time in the game, like, Hey, at, at the start of the first quarter, we’re starting starting lineup is this media time out.
Here’s the team we have on the floor, two minutes left in the quarter. Here’s the team we have. Here’s who we’re starting the second quarter with. And so and I’m sitting here like trying to stick with this rotation, cause we know we’re trying to get these guys in because they’re giving up their time to be here and know CJ Jones played at Arkansas.
Didn’t have the career. He was wanting their transfer middle Tennessee ended up having a great career. And just graduated. He’s running hot, but I don’t even realize how hot he is. I didn’t, I didn’t even realize he hadn’t missed a shot yet. I just knew he’d hit a couple threes. And so they’re like, do you want to sell them out or do you want to keep us at [00:56:00] run CJ?
Who’s hot. We’ll play the hot hand. Let’s roll with it. Timeout happens with three points away from the ILA meaning and it’s it’s three, two possessions for them. So regardless we could score and we still have a chance of score again. If we, if we take it to I’m telling our guys, Hey, it’s to take it, don’t pass it up for three.
But if there’s a three hit the shot and w you know, go in Hagen’s drive, lose the ball a little bit, and then smacks it right over to the corner. CJ catches it, shoots it, drew. The bench malls and for the game, like, cause since we won I’m over here shaking the coach’s hand, try not to be overly excited, trying to act like I’ve been there.
Like I tell my kids and then I’m getting mauled by the ESPN people. Hey, you got to interview here, get, get Barford and get CJ. And I’m like, Hey, he’s had a really good game. And so the box will gets in front of them. Like CJ was six, six and a plus seven. I was like, geez, do did miss a shot. The whole game he was as plus minus was a seven.
Like, [00:57:00] we’d go with it. And I mean, we were thrilled. And then after the locker room starts clearing out and I’m sitting there with Brock and Carter, I just let out a big side. They’re like what? I was like, get ready for game two because it’s in two days. So how do we do this? But luckily again, even even my know how of college.
We already had the scout ready, at least personnel-wise we just had a plug in which one we were taking and we had to watch their film that they were playing because now we have a one game sample size of what they look like saw. I mean, by the time dinnertime came around, our scout was done and we played at one, got done at three of this, about four hours, sent it down to the players, had a walkthrough the, the next day.
And then next day went and played again. Result. Didn’t go our way. We went on an eight, oh, run ha. We were up eight with a minute 30 Eli was a minute 30 away. We didn’t [00:58:00] execute the way we were talking about it. The timeout took a couple of shots that we needed to wait longer than the shot clock. And they came out and hit three, three in a lay up to tie.
T how to burn a timeout for it going to Ilan. Momentum’s their way. And after the game ended and kind of looked at the runs and it was a 16 three run, they’d beat us on at the end. And so ended up getting sent home that day.
Mike Klinzing: [00:58:26] So what was the overall experience like coaching professional players compared to what you do day to day at the high school level?
Monty Patel: [00:58:38] To me, it was the biggest high of my life. I mean, if I, if I compared it to the guys on the way home, cause it was a nice six hour trip back to Arkansas with the coaching staff where we just talk about the, what ifs and I’m like, man, I imagined that game, those games were what the state championship game would have been like except doing it [00:59:00] consistently by how does, how does a pop of.
You know, not get overly excited for 82 games and I’m sitting here like, man, I only played two and I’m just ecstatic. Right. And, and so the experience was awesome. I mean, I learned so, so many things. I mean, I know I learned way more than what the players learn from me. But I mean just how, how pros operate, how, and even, even in, and not in a negative way, but just how much we overvalue the word pro like in terms of why they still need coaches, how we can not execute a scouting report perfectly at times, or how we miss our ball screen coverage with who we’re in, or we forget to communicate.
And those are the things that you’re like, yeah, everyone needs a coach. Cause you would even assume Hey, I had a guy on the team he said, coach, I don’t know what I seen the screen is. We’ve never done that. I said, oh, okay, well I’ll walk you through it. Now we walked through it and [01:00:00] go through it a couple of times.
I, okay. I got it. And I was like, man, like he played a college program that never I used to screen. And then you just makes you think like still basketball is still simple. It’s just the higher up you get the better these guys are that you just have to execute a lot finer in a sense. But just, I mean, overall experience was just ridiculously fun.
I mean, I haven’t even brought who who’s coaching college basketball at the division one level. He was like, I didn’t want to leave. He’s like I wanted the next game. He was like, I did not realize that I have this much fun. Like he was, I knew I had fun, but this was so fun to be around. Like he he’s ready for round two of it.
And luckily, luckily, Sonny is giving us the opportunity for around two. He loved everything we brought to the table. He loved how professional we were towards everything. And so right now we’re lobbying with putting a, putting a bid in, in Arkansas to get it. So we can get some names [01:01:00] from Arkansas that that want to play.
And so, I mean, I had the best experience of my life. You know, when kids, when kids asked me, I’d tell them how these pros operated and what it means to be a pro and make money versus what high school and 16 year old thoughts are versus what, even six years later to eight years later, 20 to 25 to 30, 30 year olds, thoughts on how to approach the game of basketball.
So, I mean, it was, it was just awesome.
Mike Klinzing: [01:01:28] What’s the number one thing that you take away from the experience that when you think about yourself in the future, and you think about the opportunity to be a head coach, let’s just say at the high school level, what’s the number one takeaway from your experience as the head coach of this TBT team that will benefit you when you eventually get a head coach?
Monty Patel: [01:01:56] Just again, like we talked about in the beginning of the relationships, [01:02:00] it’s so important even with these guys knowing him for a week, but you know, talking to them up every other day or every couple of days about just different things going on and keeping them updated and communication. I mean, even, even dusty Hannahs who was a great player at Arkansas played in the G league you know, he had told me he loved the way we approached everything.
He loved the way that we took their inputs and, and some, we threw out some, we kept just depending on what we thought best as a staff and how we carried herself. I mean, another one of the players said Hey, you can coach pro like you, you have the personality you have the want to, and you are prepared.
And I think I had enough of a relationship with him because, but like before the game started, I said, Hey, I I’m just telling you, honestly, cause this is something I just got off queen side or what he does with the jazz. I don’t know how many minutes I have for you. This game. I’m tightening up the rotation [01:03:00] and I want you to be ready in case we need you, but there’s a chance you may not go in.
And if you do, I may need the best two minutes you’ve ever given. And then that’s all you might get. His response was coach. I’m a pro I’ll do whatever you need. And then even in that game, we did the second game. We didn’t get to play. And I hated it because he worked so hard. He was awesome around the team.
He does his role, but just skill-wise we just, we needed someone had to be the odd man out and it ended up being him and I, after we lost, I pulled him to the side. I said, Hey, man, I just want you to know. I truly do understand why you’re professional while you’re making money doing this. I know I didn’t get you in the game.
And I apologize. He said, coach, stop there. He’s like you’re you’re coaching. And you have to do what’s best for you. I’m a professional. I’m ready when I, when you need me. Do I agree with it? No, because I also think I can play, but I understand how coach and work and he’s like, I respect the heck out of you.
And I’m [01:04:00] telling you, I was just, I was just amazed at how these dudes operated. So for me again, it was just relationships and give these guys enough communication to where they could tell tell me, I mean, how many coaches do we even listen to and talk be around? They won’t even tell a high school kid when they’re wrong.
Just be like, oh no, I’m right. And I’m like, tell our high school kids, man, I’m going to be wrong at times I might miss a scout. I might miss a play. I might miss this. I’m not too big to admit it, but I’m going to get myself so prepared where it’s going to be very hard for me to, for that to happen or it’s going to be happening at a less percentage of a time.
And so, again, just, just that, that was so important to me, just how to operate. And I, and really at the end of the day, I was just making. And I know that’s just who I am as a person, as I’m central relationship guy, I want to check in with people and keep in touch. I still text some of the guys just to if I see something on Twitter or something like that, that about them.
And I’m like, Hey man saw you, you just got to this country like [01:05:00] good luck this year, or, Hey, how’s it going over here? There’s little things like that to let them know that, Hey, I don’t know what our TBT roster looks like next year, but I do have an immense amount of respect for you that I still want to have a great relationship.
And so those things were so important to me. I mean, basketball wise I had a different type of play card that I’ve never used versus like I have the plays on a sheet, but had extra quick hitters for the Elam part, had different ball coverages on their different lineups on there for what I thought were kind of like on 2K your, your best line up your three point line, I’d be free to throw that.
I had the worst free throw percentage shooters on there. I mean, I had just a full piece of paper. I folded in half, it was front and back and it had information that I needed that I could find quickly. And so just again, being prepared, just, it just showed me just a different way. And I credit a lot of it to Brock and Carter who had me that prepared and also helped me put it all together in a way that made sense to everybody [01:06:00] on snap.
I mean, yeah, there’s not just one thing, but there was, that was the, if you ask me the biggest thing, that was probably it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:06:08] I think that communication piece and building relationships is so, so important at every single level of the game. I love how you said that before games, you go and you talk to a player and you say, Hey, I love what you’re doing out there.
I don’t know how many minutes I have for you. I respect who you are. I respect what you’re doing. And I think. Too often coaches think that players just know those things that players know that they’re appreciated or players know that they’re not going to play. But I think too often coaches make that assumption.
And it’s not true because players tend to be a little bit delusional. Right? Everybody thinks that they’re a little bit better than they are. Everybody thinks they should play a few more minutes. Everybody thinks they should get a few more shots than probably what [01:07:00] they really should. And if the coach doesn’t communicate that clearly, then I think that’s when you start getting that difference of opinion.
And that’s where problems lie, where a player thinks they should be playing 30 minutes a game. And instead they’re playing 12, that’s a big game. And that big gap, if there is a communication to fill it and it ends up getting filled with things that aren’t nearly as productive in terms of the types of thoughts that a player might have, or that the player’s family might have and the problems that might eventually cause a coach.
So I think you’re a hundred percent soft spot on that if you can take from your experiences, the communication and the relationships, and making sure that your communication is proactive rather than reactive, I think you’re always going to end up with a better outcome. All right. So we’ve touched on your assistant coaching at the high school level.
We’ve touched on your now head coaching [01:08:00] experience in the TBT. I want to talk a little bit about your AAU experience, how all three of those kind of come together, and then we can talk about what you think are your next steps. And your career based on where you are now and the experiences that you had.
So just talk a little bit about your AA. You experienced that you had this past spring, and then we’ll dive into sort of what your future plans may or may not be.
Monty Patel: [01:08:25] Okay. So the organization was hoop life got tagged in gray guy, played basketball. The division two level was wanting to finally just find some teams and get people involved in, get kids that might be getting overlooked a chance.
And so there just connections I’d had during COVID re I’d hosted a bunch of zoom clinics of coaches around the country that I’ve been fortunate enough to know. And, and then any high school coach or anybody, if they wanted to, could be on it. And one of the coaches on [01:09:00] there, he was a coaching at the school right down the road.
Well, he ended up leaving to be a full-time direct, direct hoopla. And so we had gotten close and he’d asked me if I wanted to do it. And I was already with the YBL organization in the state are slated to be, and then things kind of half of the URBN organization where I was like, yo, I have a chance to be the head coach here.
And I don’t want to burn any bridges. Like, you’re crazy if you don’t take it. I said, okay, I’ll see you. And so I took it and asked him just do I have full anatomy, autonomy to go get whoever I want build this Raj? And they’re like, yeah, we want to find kids that are given, getting underlooked and they can still play college.
And on top of that, while I was like, look I was doing their 20, 24 team, which was our 15 youth. I was, I got three kids, at least at Jacksonville, maybe up to six, but I know I can’t take all six. So I’ll invite all those kids and try outs. I’ll let our the coaching staff that y’all are gonna, like, they were gonna let me put together.
They could pick out the team [01:10:00] and I would keep my biasness away just in case I overvalued what our Jacksonville kids work. Cause I would see them every day. So like those guys can pick out the roster and then they can ask me if I’m cool with it. And I’ll just say yes or no, that way I’m not getting a vote on my kids.
Just to keep it fair. Cause you know, I mean, heck if I could, if I could just, I would just take it my whole high school team, because that benefits me the most for the year. Right. And so we had tryouts the Sunday of the round of 32 games and went through that, had about 35 kids try out. And I went through and called, I’d say, I bet almost every high school coach in Arkansas that I knew.
And asked about who the best ninth grader was in their conference, who the best ninth grader was on their team. Who’s the best ninth grader they’d seen. And when I started getting the consensus names over and over and over, I started reaching out to those families through the coaches and just saying, Hey, I want to talk to the family about this kid coming to try out and just kept an [01:11:00] Excel sheet of who they were and all that got all these kids there.
And we picked out ended up having 12 on our roster, which first time doing a new 12 is a rather large number, but took 12. And we started practicing and had the facilities that hoop life had. And then just, we started to grow the organization through social media, through having gear and having presented in word of mouth and now getting to go to live periods, which I’d never been to, which are awesome because I see just so many of the college coaches that I talked to, some, I might see once every four years and just seeing them on the road and just it being a big coaching best.
Cause of course, I’m going to sit there and ask them what they think about a kid and, and hear a little tidbits that they say, Ooh, I, ain’t never noticed that. And I need to pay attention to that because you know, the older you get the easier it is for you to see stuff as a coach and, and just things like that.
So we were able to put this team together and we had a phenomenal year. I think we were somewhere around. I want to [01:12:00] say our final record was 32 and 12 or something like that. I played a lot of games. But I mean, while we were on the road, wherever the tournament directors had texted and said that extra game, I was like, we’ll take it.
We got 12 guys. We need a. And then learning through those 42 games or so we played what I did good. What I did bad because it was short-term memory. Cause there was another game in 30 minutes or two hours or whatever it was. And so I got to work on my craft. So much more. I got to work on quick hitters that I wanted to draw up during time out and see if we could execute and see how I could teach it and see how my terminology can be so precise for kids.
And then just different strategies. And then how are we running two a day practices? How am I getting my assistant coaches involved? How are they going to have ownership to where they’re not bored for being here on their time, on their free times in the summer where they’re not even getting paid aside from on the weekends where they’re not paying for [01:13:00] anything.
And so just figuring that out, balancing that out with, on top of getting ready for TBT and our high school team and it was, I mean, it was a fun experience. It was, it’s an easy, easy way in terms of working on your craft because you play so many games so quickly that if I play on a Friday night and something’s on my mind, like I should have done this.
Well, I don’t have to wait until Tuesday. I just have to wait.
Mike Klinzing: [01:13:26] That’s a great point. And I think it’s one that I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast that I spent the first, I don’t know, 13 years of my career as a teacher and as a coach, as an assistant. And during that time, I never had to call a time out.
I never had to figure out what my substitution pattern was going to be. I never had to make a play call. I never had to do any of those things. And not that I didn’t get opportunities to occasionally do those things from my head coach, but ultimately I wasn’t a person responsible. So I wasn’t [01:14:00] making those decisions.
And I think for assistant coaches who are out there listening, if you do get an opportunity, if you’re a high school assistant or even hack, if you’re a college assistant, just starting out in your career and you haven’t been a head coach, but you aspire to be at one time, I think getting out and coach an AAU basketball, like you said, Monty, like, that’s a great piece of advice because you do get lots and lots of reps.
As a coach and just like any other profession or any other skill, the more reps you get, the better you’re going to be at it. And when you’re an assistant coach, you don’t get to take those reps of when to call time out of when to sub somebody in of when to call this out of bounds, play versus that one, or when to switch from a man who was on defense or whatever it is.
And by getting an opportunity in AAU, I think you get those reps and it’s going to make you better. And it’s going to help you to prepare for eventually, what’s going to be an opportunity for you to be a head coach on the high school level. So to go along with that, as we’re heading towards [01:15:00] I guess we’re coming up close here to an hour and a half.
When you think about where you want to go and your career, and you mentioned it off the top, that your goal eventually is to be a high school head coach. And or possibly move into the college ranks if the right opportunity presents itself. So when you think about all three of these things that you’ve been able to do over the last couple of years from being a high school assistant, being a head coach for the TBT, being a head coach for a 15 U a U team, how do all those things combine to prepare you for whatever that next opportunity lies?
How do you look at what you’ve done in totality and how it relates to what you hope to do in your career?
Monty Patel: [01:15:47] I mean, to me, all of it was like, Hey, how similar each level really is and just teach you. The verb, the verbiage you’re [01:16:00] using and then how you’re handling the off court business, which is more important than anything.
I mean, like you even said getting the reps for, for AAU, the bigger thing was like, like, I think a good head coach empowers their assistant. That’s why I love the guys I’ve worked for. They’ve empowered me to like, Hey coach, we need a time out here. And I can say that uncomfortable and coach and be like, all right, well, let’s take a 30 and then he’ll say, well, tell him what you need to tell him.
And you know, I get that, but my name’s not on the dolt. Right. If we lose that, doesn’t go on me. That goes on him. But he empowers me, I’ve had it even Clayborne when we were at Marion, he coached Claiborne was our head coach. And we needed a quick hitter to win the game and a double overtime game birds, Paragould, and to avoid the third overtime.
And I was like, Hey, I got a quick hitter. And you know, I’m just telling him if he needs it, then I’ll tell him what to do. And he gives me the clipboard he’s I do it. Oh, okay, cool. Like I get to do this. I mean I think good head coach do that, but for me [01:17:00] the biggest part, like, well, this is dealing with.
The families, the, the off the court issues. I mean, even a, it’s hard to make 12 people happy. It’s, it’s hard to get these kids the exposure they need and the playing time they need, when you add that many. So how do you manage players? How do you manage the parents? And then you got to do that off the court.
You can’t do that during the games. That’s the horrible time to do it, obviously. So off the court, what do you say to the players? Hey, I value you for this. You’re helping me do this. Your opportunities may come here and, and even, even off the court with TBT one of the players I’m not going to say their name, but their wife was hammering me during the game.
I felt like she was hammering me and, and I’m sitting there just ignore it, ignore it. Hey, this dude is like six years younger than me. So we’re about the same age. He’s And his wife is just killing me and I’m ignoring it. And I’m like, I don’t hear it. I’m not saying nothing about it. I’m [01:18:00] leaving this alone.
And after, after we win and the celebratory stuff and the player pulls me aside, he said, that’ll never happen again. I was like, what are you talking about? I was waiting. And he was like, he was like, Daryl, I know you heard that in this crowd. And me knowing, I heard it played just dumb as I could. No, I didn’t.
What are you talking about? He’s like, coach, I know you heard my wife. I appreciate the respect. It’ll never happen again. And I was like, man, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal. He’s like, no, no, no, no, that’s not right. That’s not how I operate. And that’s never happening again. And, and literally the next game I heard.
And so just see how one person operates with his wife off the court versus how kids’ parents operate off the court and the differences there are, and still the similarities where they’re rooting for the people they love. And they want the people they love to succeed. And like, we forget that. I think a lot of times this coach is like, man, this kid just sucks or whatever however hard you want to put it that he [01:19:00] doesn’t need to play versus just saying, Hey, he’s got to get better.
I do love your kid. I have a relationship with your kid. I wouldn’t have him here for this or without like if I didn’t care about them. So I think those things like I took from all three, cause I mean, even my high school kids that some of the TBT players came and taught. And probably like three of them practice with them just to move up and down and run around.
And then one came and just offered to talk to the kids and kind of tell him about his career and, and things like that. It sounded like man, like, this is awesome on how they’re giving back to, and then, you know how we’re giving back as coaches to go do, Hey, you celebrate just how it all just comes full circle.
And it was just, it was such a big year of basketball for me. I mean, 2021 was the best year basketball I could have asked for with, for my career sake. And then just what I can learn and what notes I took. I mean, [01:20:00] I have a, I have a note in my phone and I urge a lot of people to do this. I have a note in my phone where anything, I type it.
Like I type it in and I save it basketball wise, or if I see it on Twitter, I copy the link and put it in there. So when. Whenever I had that first head coaching job, the first thing I’m going to do after I signed the contract and take care of all the other stuff and just sit down and go back through those notes and copy down the stuff I wanted to implement in the, in the, my philosophy as a head coach.
And so those are the things that I learned from there. I’ve got like bullet point list of like 30 or 40 things from each team throughout the year that I was like, man, this is actually really smart. Or like Brock said this, or coach, coach Salazar, coach Welch said this to me on the bench during the AAU where I’m just like, yeah, like, oh yeah, that’s smart.
I’ve never thought about that. And, and so, I mean, there was way too many things I learned and it was, it was a learning year for me. It wasn’t anything special I did aside from sitting there and just be a student of the game. That’s [01:21:00] cheesy and cliche as that sounds,
Mike Klinzing: [01:21:03] It’s a hundred percent accurate that if you’re taking notes, if you’re observing, if you’re paying attention.
There’s so many lessons out there in any experience that you have, and you obviously got to have three very unique and very meaningful experiences over the last couple of years that are going to only add to the value that you’re going to bring to the table in whatever position that you end up in. And I think that’s a Testament to the type of person that you are.
I think it’s a Testament to the type of coach you are. And I think it’s a Testament to the fact that you are continuing to grow and improve and get better every single day by doing the things that you just described, which is paying attention to people around you and trying to learn the lessons that are going to make you a better coach going forward.
I want to wrap up with one final question Monte, and that is when you look ahead, let’s say over the next [01:22:00] year or two, what do you think is the biggest challenge that you’re going to face? And then the second part of the question is what’s the biggest joy. That you have everyday when you wake up and you get out of bed and you think about what you get to do for a living.
Monty Patel: [01:22:15] So the biggest challenge I’ll have to face is just getting that first opportunity. And I know it’s coming and I’m an impatient person when it comes to stuff like that. Cause I’ve, I feel like I’ve been ready for four years now, five years now, I was just like, okay, I can handle a program, but it’s just getting there and then staying positive and just reaffirming that, Hey, it just hasn’t been the right place for me.
Like, although they passed me up when I wanted to be there. They didn’t want what I could offer. So who who does and how do I sell that to them without seeming like I’m going to be some person that comes in to cause problems versus someone that comes in to solve problems and to help bring value to their school, [01:23:00] their organization, or, or anything of that.
So I mean, I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for me is just getting one and getting the right one and then doing every single thing I need involved to, to prove anybody wrong that, Hey, I’m ready. But you know, it’s always head coaching experience. You don’t have it. Well now I’ve got 44 games with a pro team in high school kids.
So I’ve got head coaching experience. It might not be high school head coaching experience, but if you’re talking about a head coach experience, I have all of that. So just. Trust me. Listen to me, ask me these questions. I’ll, I’ll share with you and we’ll figure it out. But I mean, that’s, that’d be the hardest part is just convincing someone to give you that first shot.
And when that challenge does come and someone does give you that first shot. Now the challenge is to prove them right. For hiring me. And the biggest joy I have. I mean, I love the kids we have on the basketball team. I love the kids that we have played in college. I mean, [01:24:00] you know, this isn’t a brag by any means, but I mean, I’ve got a kid at Arkansas kid at Nicholls state K that Logan community college kid at Mid-South community college kid Oklahoma west land, a kid at Albany tech.
Like I love that these kids are all going to play college. I mean, I can keep going on. I’ve got a list of the kids and, and what schools they’re at. And so when I get, when I basketball season starts coming around, I can sync all the websites like calendars to my account. To my own personal once I know their playing, I would just send a little good luck texts.
If I remember to do it, I might miss games here and there, but I try to, Hey, good luck. You know, do what you do. You know, and just those types of things. Those are my joys. I mean, my joy, it was two days ago. It was my birthday or yesterday was my birthday. And one of my players calls me and we’re in a co-ed softball game, just a bunch of coaches.
And I missed the call. And one of the coaches daughter’s like your phone’s blowing up. Cause the kid called back and FaceTimed me this time, that coach, why didn’t you answer? I was like, I’m [01:25:00] busy, I’m playing softball. He’s like, ah, coach, I’m just calling to wish you happy birthday. And I’m like, y’all just had your first college practice.
I know you’re worn out. I mean, you’re, you’re at a new school. You’re at SIU II and, and you’re calling me to tell me happy birthday and just to catch up. And I’m like, I I’m glad I made an impact on each way. You’re there to tell me happy birthday, you’re there to tell me a funny memory. So those things those, those things keep me going all the time.
Whenever I just hear these kids tell me an impact I made on them. I mean, even former soccer player that, that I don’t know anything about coaching soccer when I, when I got the job, but she’s telling me what an impact I made on her life and how she’s teaching now and asking me for advice to just things like that.
I mean, those are my joys. Those are my why’s. Those are, those are forever be, cause I’m, I’m in it for those people and just helping them get to where their goals are.
Mike Klinzing: [01:25:57] I can’t say it any better [01:26:00] than what you just said it in terms of what coaching’s all about and being able to have an impact on the young people, that you’re fortunate enough to be able to use the game of basketball, to impact and make a difference in their lives.
And that’s really what coaching is all about. I cannot thank you enough for taking an hour and a half of your time tonight with us to jump back on and give us an update, share some of the exciting things that you’ve been able to do. And we’re going to look forward to continuing to follow you and wait for that first opportunity that you get to be a head coach.
So again, Monte, thanks for jumping on with us tonight. Really appreciate it. And to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.