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Nick LoGalbo is entering his 14th season as the head boys’ basketball coach (17th total) at his alma mater Lane Tech High School in Chicago, Illinois.
Nick recently returned from Hungary where he led the Team USA U18 Men’s and Women’s Teams to Gold Medals in the FIBA 3 x 3 World Cup. He has worked with USA Basketball as a lead clinician for their youth development clinics and regional camps, serves as a regional coordinator for USAB 3×3, and he has also spoken at USA Basketball’s Coaches Academy to other aspiring coaches from across the country. Coach LoGalbo also works with USA Basketball’s Junior National Team as a court coach.
Nick played his high school basketball at Lane Tech and then played four years of collegiate basketball at Benedictine University. He has been working at Lane Tech since graduating from college as an English teacher, basketball coach and now also serves as the school’s athletic director.
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Be prepared with a notebook and pen as you listen to this episode with Gold Medal Winning Coach Nick LoGalbo, from Lane Tech High School in Chicago, Illinois.
What We Discuss with Nick LoGalbo
- How he got connected with USA Basketball and the influence of Coach Don Showalter on his life and career
- The 3 on 3 event he ran in Chicago after his cousin was shot to raise awareness around gun violence
- Getting the call from USA Basketball this summer about coaching the Men’s and Women’s U18 3 on 3 teams
- Meeting his USAB players on zoom and working with his assistant coaches Kelly Carruthers and Todd Muncie at Training Camp in Chicago
- “If you’re not a great defensive team, you’re not a gold medal team.”
- The process for selecting the 3 on 3 team rosters
- Utilizing a “select” team to compete against during training camp
- The physical nature of international 3 on 3 competition and helping players understand how to adjust
- The importance of free throw shooting and not fouling in FIBA 3 on 3
- “We’ve got to defend without fouling and we can’t let the physicality get us emotional.”
- What he learned from not being able to coach during the FIBA 3 on 3 games
- Preparing the players in practice so they could figure things out on their own during games
- “There’s going to be times where your players have to figure things out. You can’t hold their hands.”
- “We’re trying to give players tools and we’re trying to equip them with the ability to figure things out and make decisions and be a part of a unit.”
- His emotions as the National Anthem was playing and the players were receiving their gold medals
- The bond that formed between the men’s and women’s teams
- The Janiah Barker “Bee” story
- Breaking down film and preparing the players with limited practice time once they got to Hungary
- Actions and sets he saw that he will bring back to use with his high school team
- The evolution of the game and the importance of the three point (two point in 3 on 3) shot
- His vision for Chicago Glow Basketball School and why he started the program
- Helping youth coaches get better at their craft to better impact kids
- How he and his team have coped with covid and what he hopes will happen this winter
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THANKS, NICK LOGALBO
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TRANSCRIPT FOR NICK LOGALBO – LANE TECH (IL) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH (& GOLD MEDALIST) – EPISODE 527
[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. And tonight we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast. Now, not only as a basketball coach and a guest, but a friend Nick LoGalbo from Lane Tech High School in Chicago, recent gold medal winning coach with the USA basketball men’s and women’s U 18 three on three teams. Nick. Welcome back, man.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:00:28] Oh, thanks for having me. Thanks for having me guys really excited to be on and catch up. And, and like you said, now we put a face to the name and we’ve got a blossoming friendship here snow valley. And so yeah, man, excited to be back on.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:44] Yeah, no question about that. It’s one of the most gratifying parts of the podcast is just having an opportunity to build relationships with great people and get a chance to. Develop an honest friendship and develop something that again is not just about what [00:01:00] we do here on the podcast, but being able to get to know one another outside of that.
And it’s been a lot of fun working with you on a couple of different projects and then get a chance to actually connect in person twice. And like I said, feeling like we’re developing a true and honest friendship was what which is what it’s really all about when it comes down to it. So let’s jump right into your gold medal when he experiences with USA basketball and the three on three under 18 teams.
And maybe let’s start before we dive into the actual experience when you went over to Hungary, just give people a quick refresher on the story of how you got connected to USA basketball in the beginning. And then that can kind of lead us into how you ended up with this opportunity to coach the 300.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:01:48] Yeah. So again, I’m still, I mean, you just talked about, and I’m just smiling ear to ear because obviously just the experience of a lifetime. And I, I talk about all the time with my players and, [00:02:00] and you know, my students and people I work with, but you know, you never, you never know who’s in a room who can directly change the trajectory of your life.
And you know, for me, it’s, it’s my mentor and you know, now a great friend, but a true mentor coach Don Showalter. And I just think like most of us for me, Years ago when he first, I mean, he was coaching, obviously he’s a hall of fame coach and state of Iowa and very successful. But you know, when he first got on the scene with USA, when he started coaching the junior national team, he spoke at some Nike clinics and I’ll never forget it.
I was kind of at a time in my life where I was newly married you know, wanted to start a family young coach. And you know, I just, I just kind of had some people in my life that I don’t know if they just had their own perspective on it, but a lot of people were telling me being a family man and being a coach didn’t really mix.
You’re never home for your kids and you gotta make a decision. And I don’t, I just didn’t buy that. And it kind of, it started to. [00:03:00] You know, get me down a path of like, is this really what I want to do? Because if I want to be a successful coach, I mean, not just wins and losses, but really impacting lives.
Like, am I going to be able to juggle family and everything? I don’t know, man. I’ll never forget. I saw coach show. And you know, I think a lot of times when you go to these Nike clinics and you’re a young coach and you guys probably correlate, relate when you see some of the big time college coaches speak, yet you go down, you, you try to get a pick with them pick their brain for 10 seconds before the next person in lines waiting.
But I just remember like when after coach Show spoke, I remember the first thing he did was he had his wife Vicki there and his grandkids where there, we were in Wisconsin Dells and he was talking about how he turned this into a little mini family vacation. And I don’t know what it was, Mike, but like.
And I was like, this is the kind of guy that I need to be around. And the guy that kind of guy that I want to talk to and learn from like everything that I want to be as a man, as a coach, it seems like this guy’s kinda got it figured out. And you know, I went right [00:04:00] down as soon as he’s done speak.
And I was the first one there. And he had mentioned he’s running a camp called Snow Valley and that was it. You know? And, and I told him, I’d love to work camp. And from there over the past close to 15 years now, we’ve just built a really strong relationship and anything he’s ever asked I’ve, I’ve been happy to do.
And I’m not saying that that’s all that happened because it was also meeting other people with USAB it actually kind of the three on three stuff started. And I think we talked about this last time after my cousin was shot I wanted to try to turn a negative or positive. So I was like, Hey, let me, let me do some youth clinics in the city, just for free like in, in these different neighborhoods in Chicago, go to the park districts and do these for youth clinics.
And then maybe do like these little three on three tournaments and just get the community together. You know, our, our city kind of fragmented, like let’s bring people together through basketball. And I had this idea and that got me in touch with some people with USA, be on the three on three side about, Hey, I’d like to put on some three on three events and they were looking for people [00:05:00] to help do that.
And I think that’s kind of how that conversation started. And seven or eight years later fast forward and I’ve, I’ve done a lot of work with them putting on tournaments and then work in the national championships, kind of on the op side of things and helping them run events. And then.
Right before COVID hit in February, all star weekend, they had the teams in Chicago that they were considering for the Olympic teams, both the men and women. And it was kind of like the trials, if you will, of, of people they were considering for the, the final four of their rosters for both men and women.
And they asked me to help run some of the workouts and practices and just kind of be on site. And I got to work with some of the women’s team that won the goal Kelsey plum and you gray and stuffed Olson and all of them. So it was a, it was pretty cool. And I never really thought anything else would come from it from there.
You know, and then this summer, actually, Mike I had snow valley, I got the [00:06:00] call to, to be the coach. And I couldn’t really say anything at the time, but that’s how it all shook out. So, yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I kind of jumped around there a little bit, but I think I answered your question.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:12] No, you did. So what’s that call like, it’s just, Hey, this is the opportunity. Are you interested? Is it just, what did that call sound like?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:06:19] Yeah. Pretty much like I think USAB had a lot to figure out and it’s still COVID is, has changed everything for everybody. And I think they were still figuring out what they can do with their protocols and what was happening.
And, and to be honest with you, obviously there was a lot that went into the Olympics and then there was a lot that went in to our junior national teams, five on five teams playing this summer and, and truth be told it didn’t they didn’t really even officially know if the FIBA world cup for the 300, three side was going to happen.
So it was kind of not, not thrown together, but there wasn’t a whole lot of time. So we, I like I [00:07:00] got the call in, in July. About the, the tournament, those happening end of August so you know, we got things pieced together and it went really well. And obviously we got the results we were going for, but the process along the way, it was really special.
And obviously I’ll never forget that moment. And it was very special for me. And obviously with an opportunity like that, it’s not really a yes or no question. It’s just whatever I got to do to make this work it’s going to happen. So that was the next step in the process.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:31] So what does that look like when you are the head coach of a national three on three team, where are the practices? What does it look like? How do you structure and approach a practice compared to how you might structure a practice with your high school team? How do you get to know the players? Just let me know.
Again, there’s a million questions in there, but just kind of [00:08:00] talk us through the beginning weeks of how you kind of got things going.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:08:04] Yeah. So you know, the nice thing we, before we even got together, we did have a few zoom calls and got to talk to the players and their parents a little bit, obviously with USAB leadership and just touch base that way.
And obviously we had another coach with us, Kelly Carruthers from Texas, who’s amazing and successful in her own. Right. And she just stepped right in and was, was such a valuable asset. And then we had another guy on site when we did training camp in Chicago, Todd Muncie from also from Texas, who was another just was just a wonderful asset onsite.
But you know, once, once USA. Kind of gave us the freedom to speak to the players. We had our zooms you know, put together kind of our, our handbook and, and what we were looking at in terms of expectations and standards started piecing together our first couple of practice plans. And obviously just like with coaching five and five, you’re not going to, you’re [00:09:00] not going to do every practice plan for the whole for in this case for training camp, we’re going to take it one day, see what works, what we need to cut out, what we need to fit in.
And we were actually really fortunate. You know, anyone who’s worked with USA be three on three I actually was on a few calls with Joe Lewandowski, who was the men’s coach and Kara Lawson, the head coach at duke who was our women’s coach and got to pick their brain quite a bit. And you know, from there it just came down to, I mean, just the same way you’re approaching five and five.
You’re thinking about how are we going to be successful? What are we going to need to do really well? What are some of the nuances that we’re going to need to figure out obviously sooner, rather than later, before international competition. And that was it, you know we, we structured our practices a certain way.
We had a few kind of DNA drills that we did every day. When we worked out, we got a lot of shots. Out of the actions that we were going to try to attack out of. But you know, honestly, Mike, like when you’re thinking of [00:10:00] putting a five and five practice plan together on the defensive side of it, you’re thinking about your coverages, you thinking about how you’re going to play ball screens.
That was a huge part of what we did. Obviously you’re thinking about what your rotations are and 303, there was no help side. So it really became down to us owning the idea that we were really going to guard our yard. And if you’re not a great defensive team, you’re not a gold medal team.
And that was something we really sold both teams on early on. And on the offensive side with, with three on three, you have your dead ball sets and then you have your live all actions. And what was great, both the men’s and women’s teams a lot of our live well actions and stuff we’re doing at five on five.
Some of the angles are going to be a little different, obviously you get to clear out. So you’re going to have a lot of uphill DHO’s, a little uphill pass and chase ball screens. You know, conceptually it’s stuff that our players were familiar with. We just had to get them to buy into how we were attacking and the angles in which we needed to play.
So that was really the big emphasis in training camp. And then obviously, like you said, [00:11:00] creating chemistry and, and not a whole lot of time. I think some of the teams that we were playing, if not all of them, I mean, these are professionals. I mean, they’re under 18, but they’re playing this game year round.
Some of them probably even getting paid to do it. So we knew coming in that we had a little bit of a learning curve and I thought we did a really good job of attacking those, that, that learning curve and practice and getting ourselves ready.
Mike Klinzing: [00:11:24] Tell us a little bit about how the roster gets put together for a team like this. What’s the process of choosing who’s going to be on those teams.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:11:35] Yeah, so I didn’t really get to have a big hand in that. I kind of walked into a situation where the rosters were pretty much already set and, and legitimize before we, we, we, I even really got on that first zoom call.
You know, I know from the past, obviously they, they do these tournaments throughout the country, which leads to a national championship and at the national [00:12:00] championship, typically the. You know, the team that wins the tournament is, is a part of a pool and a process that you know, selection committee kind of then deems as the national team getting into competition.
You know, what this year not having, because of, COVID not having the opportunity to host the national championships. I think a lot of the selection came down to the committee just based on what they’ve seen from players playing some of them playing in other three on three events. But most of them really from there five on five resumes, you know?
So I think one of the big things, the committee and, and just talking to the people that were in the room, making these decisions obviously there’s a premium, you gotta be able to shoot the ball in three, on three players that are versatile, you know that can guard bigs and smalls cause you’re going to have a lot of switching.
You know, a lot of the European teams are gonna have very skill sets, similar players. That are really going to want to shoot it. And, and I think that, [00:13:00] you know, USA did an amazing job in putting the teams together and, and in this selection committee, having players ready to go, that that would buy in that were just great teammates, but also that fit the bill for what we were trying to do from a philosophical standpoint and how we were going to attack.
Mike Klinzing: [00:13:15] So when you’re practicing, is it like, how is it just the four players that are part of the team? Do you have other players who aren’t part of the competition team that are there as part of the practice? How does that work?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:13:31] Yeah, that’s a really good point. So we did training camp in the States before we left for Hungary.
And at training camp, we had essentially like you would with the Olympics or with international competition, we had a select team of players that had three on three experience which, which really was great. I mean, we’re not the players that we have. When I say three and three experience, I mean, three and three experience in our country playing in these different events over the course of the past few [00:14:00] years you know, they were all college level kids that were playing either playing at the college level now or whatever what they were it was nice to have that.
Cause there was some three on three acumen already in training camp. When we were obviously we can, we can drill things to death, but at the end of the day, you’re, you’re learning how to play three on three. You actually need to be playing alive, which was that’s, that’s the way we’re going to learn the quickest.
So we had that select team. We we’d kind of talk them through what we’re trying to do. We really put a kind of in our scout plans with them, the, the, the whole focus with the scout team was really trying to get clear outs quickly. You know, shoot a lot of twos. Cause that’s what we were going to be seeing.
We knew with, with the international competition. And I thought our our team, our select team did a wonderful job in getting us prepared.
Mike Klinzing: [00:14:50] What are some of the quirks of the FIBA three on three game, some people that are in the audience may be familiar with it. Some people may not be, [00:15:00] and I don’t want to go through the entire rules and break that all down, but just what’s one or two things that maybe you felt like you really had to focus on that could give your team a little bit of an advantage when it comes to, I don’t know if exploiting the rules is the right way, but just taking advantage of the way the rules are set up.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:15:19] Yeah. That’s a really good question. I think a few of the things, well, one, it was really just you can’t, you can’t replicate the physicality and you know, maybe lost in translation when you’re watching it on those YouTube live streams, but. Those teams are physical. It’s, it’s a very different style of play internationally than what these are players playing five and five in the United States.
And I mean, the last competition, all of these players were wearing was it was during AAU and in July, you know what I mean? And I’m not knocking any, any kind of product out there, but AAU is very free flowing. The premium is [00:16:00] on getting up and down the floor.
And I mean, we just, we all know that that that’s what the model is and as much as we try to replicate it and training camp those first two games we played, we, we noticeably felt the difference. The referees aren’t going to call it super tight, right? Because it was a fever rules.
What we learned very quickly. And as much as we talked about itfouls change everything. You know, I mean, they do five and five, but with FIBA after you get into the bonus. So if you if you end up falling a seventh time, the opponent gets two shots automatically. Right now it’s ones and twos.
And in the three on three, and you’re playing to 21 or the end of 10 minutes expire. So you can have there were times we were up four or five points, but all of a sudden, now we’re in the bonus, they’re shooting two shots. And if you get the double bonus, if you get to 10 free throws, they’re shooting two shots and getting the ball back.
So you’re talking about potentially anywhere from a [00:17:00] three to four points swing, every time you file. So you know, the first two games we played, the teams were very physical with us, but they understand. What being physical without getting calls for ticky tack fouls looked like, and I don’t think we did.
But after our first game, I thought we really adjusted well and kind of started figuring that out and what we released, so will our players on was if we make this a basketball game and not you know, a free throw shooting contest I think we’re going to, we’re going to do what we set out to do.
We’ve got to defend without falling and we can’t let the physicality get us emotional. And I think that those are the two of the really big things that we focused on that really got us to where we wanted to go.
Mike Klinzing: [00:17:39] So I didn’t realize as I was pouring over and researching for hours and hours to prepare for this interview, I did not realize that you were not allowed to coach at all during the games.
So clearly as a coach, that is a completely different and [00:18:00] unique experience, unless you’ve been a tennis coach, I guess, where you can’t coach during a match. So what was it like. To sit on the sidelines and watch your players, obviously, from a development standpoint for the players, there’s tremendous benefit to them having to work their way through it and figure it out on their own and go back and think about what they had worked on or what you had talked with them about previously.
But sitting there as a coach, it had to be extremely, I’ll just use the word challenging. So just tell us what that was like.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:18:32] Oh yeah. I mean, come on, like we’ve all coached and we all know how much we care and put into this thing and, and then you get to the chance to compete and you’re not able to make adjustments with your team.
Like it’s frustrating, but I remember seeing Kara Lawson and after they won gold, she was on an interview with NBC and I mean, she’s a hall of Famer. She is an unbelievable player. [00:19:00] She’s won on the college level she’s won gold medals as a player with USAB coach with the Boston Celtics she’s head coach at Duke.
Like she’s a five on five player, five and five coach, but she mentioned the area. She was like coach and 3 on three as much as we’re preparing and pouring in at practice. But when the game starts, it’s like, you have to trust that your players are prepared and they’ve, they’ve, they’re, they’re going to rise to the level of their training and that they’ve, they, they are going to handle it in the heat of the moment and you have to kind of just trust it and it’s kind of liberating and you know what I mean?
Don’t get me wrong. Obviously when teams made a little run or in a, in both of those gold medal games, we were down early. Obviously if I’m coaching, there’s a timeout and we’re refocusing and, and, and getting us kind of back bought into the game plan. But you can’t, you just can’t do it.
And I, I guess, I guess the moral of the story is as frustrating as it was in both of those gold medal [00:20:00] games, when our players did figure it out and the light bulb went on and it clicked, like, I don’t know that I’ve had a more cathartic experience in all my years of coaching. Like, it was just like, wow, you saw it click, you saw all the work that we put in.
Just kinda like we, we figured it out and we did what we needed to do. And we got, we got them to to the task at hand, winning a gold medal and talk about rewarding, you know? And it’s like, They got it. They bought in all the things we had been talking about. They figured it out for themselves.
And it reminds me as a five and five coach. Now I hope I can have that same mindset going in coaching my teams here in Chicago, like there’s going to be times where your players have to figure things out. You can’t hold their hands. Like and it’s I hear coach show talk about how basketball is the most over coach and under-taught sport.
Like we, we earn our, [00:21:00] keep in practice as coaches, right? Like we’ve got to pour in and practice. We’ve got to prepare and practice that’s when we’re going to be at our best. But when we get into the games we’re our players, the ones making plays. And as much as a timeout or adjustment helps, like the players got to know how to handle things.
And I don’t know, like it was kind of a cool moment. I’m not going to lie to you. It was really cool when that happened. So I think I answered your question, but still don’t get me wrong. It was frustrating.
Mike Klinzing: [00:21:27] Absolutely. I can only imagine. And yet at the same time, I think. A tremendous lesson to be learned in that I think so often, and I’m going to equate it to not only coaches, but you think about parents in the stands, directing players at all levels.
And you think about coaches and different styles, obviously for different coaches, but the fact that ultimately really what we want to do. And I think you said it pretty well is that you want to be able to equip [00:22:00] your players through practice with the tools that they need to be able to make those adjustments and learn the game and make good decisions and figure things out on the fly.
And that’s when you really, really have the type of team that anybody would love to coach. Now, your hand was obviously forced, as you said, if you had the opportunity to call time out and get in there and make adjustments, you obviously would have, but at the same time, when you weren’t able to do that, It’s sort of forced the player’s hands of, Hey, you’ve got to figure out what you need to do.
And obviously there are things that you’ve talked about in practice and that you’ve prepared them for in situations to look forward. Hey, you might want to try this, if this is happening, or here’s a situation where we might want to call a time out and change the momentum, or look at something different.
And I think that ultimately speaks to what a good coach really does, which is empower their players to make those kinds of decisions. And it sounds like you felt like your kids were able to do that. [00:23:00] Your players were able to do that and make the kind of adjustments that they needed to make in order to have the types of successes that kind of how you looked at.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:23:08] Oh yeah. I mean a hundred percent and you know, I think, I don’t know. Like, that’s what this is supposed to be all about. Right? The idea of getting our players to figure things out. And I mean, obviously we even get into the bigger picture, right? Like the life lessons that go with playing high school, causal, basketball, whatever level we’re coaching, we’re trying to give players tools and we’re trying to equip them with the ability to figure things out and make decisions and be a part of a unit.
And, and I mean, when, when you’re able to see them talk through something, when you’re able to see them the light bulb click and realize, Hey, like this is our game plan. We’re not executing and this is happening. But if we actually do what we’re supposed to do. Good things are going to happen.
And then you see them find that confidence. And it’s like, it’s [00:24:00] almost like when you get to watch them do it without you. Like, I think I have one more coach and it’s five and five and you’re able to scream and shout and call outs. Like you don’t see that unfold as much. You’re kind of like, so in the moment, I mean, again, we’re in the moment 303, but you know what I mean?
Like you’re, you’re, you’re not kinda like seeing it, whereas in 303, you’re seeing it and you’re seeing it unfold and it’s, it’s, it’s again, it’s special. So a hundred percent, man.
Mike Klinzing: [00:24:26] What’s the moment like when the Anthem’s being played and you’re standing there with your team, I know that whatever words you come up with, probably aren’t going to be able to do it justice of how you felt, but can you give us 30 seconds on what it was like to stand there with the Anthem, playing with the players after all that you had gone through to be able to win the tournament?
Just describe that for us.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:24:56] One of the things you [00:25:00] talked about with the players like this, wasn’t just, I mean, as much as it was like this two to three week process, this was a lifelong dream realized for all of us. You know, the players, the coaches, Jan, Andrea, who worked with us with USAP and the whole staff, like our trainer, Laura, like this was, this was something that and for me personally, like, I mean the lifelong dream, the biggest dream I’ve ever dreamed.
I mean, outside of being the husband to my wife and the father, to my children you know, on that side of things, the greatest dream I’ve ever dreamed in my life That almost seemed like it could never happen because it was such a lofty dream, was getting a chance to rubbish, represent USA, basketball and international competition.
And I’m, I mean, just now talking about it, getting emotional, because it’s, it’s the greatest dream I’ve ever dreamt. And when we got to stand there and again, it wasn’t about me, it was about those players and their commitment, but just to get to be a part [00:26:00] of it, when you hear that Anthem and you got the they got the gold medals around their necks.
I mean, I don’t know, Mike, like I can’t even start to put into words. It was the greatest honor of my life and outside again, outside of being the father to my children and the husband to my wife. There’s, there’s really nothing else like that. And You know, I mean, I don’t think I could really say anything else about it.
It was, it was pretty special, man. You know, it was, and then, you know what I mean, not to, we got to hear it twice that night, which that was with the men and women winning it. So it was a, it was a pretty cool experience, man.
Mike Klinzing: [00:26:36] Well said, well said what was the relationship like between the two teams in terms of their comradery and how you handled that piece of it on the trip?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:26:45] Yeah. Yeah, man. I mean, Mike, that was too, that was too like holy cow. Like I mean, again, I don’t really have a basis for comparison. I’ve worked with the five on five men’s junior national team at camps, but I haven’t traveled. So I [00:27:00] don’t know what that experience is like. I mean, and again, I mean, even just coaching five on five here as a high school coach, and you know, you’re with your team, you’re with your men’s team and there’s whatever, 12, 15, 16 guys.
And that’s it and, and that’s the bond and that’s the, that’s the whole deal. But like with this 303 thing, we’ve got four women and four men coming from all over the country coming together. And it’s like, you don’t just have to worry about the dynamic of the men’s team or the women’s team and how they’re going to gel.
Like we’re traveling together, we’re eating meals together. We’re, we’re doing team bonding together. We’re watching film together a lot of times. And I don’t know, man, I loved it. It was one of the coolest things like to not just get one team bought into a game plan and the way they’re going to play and accomplishing their tasks, [00:28:00] it kind of became like this thing.
I even heard one of the players say it after it’s like, well, we want it and you didn’t or you want it. And we didn’t, it’s like, we didn’t even, we wouldn’t have won. You know what I mean? It was kind of like the women wanted so badly for the men to win and the men wanted the women so badly to win. It was like they were all in this invested together and they just wore USA across her chest.
So proudly that it became like this joint effort, you know what I mean? And it kind of became like a brotherly sisterly thing. Like we’re all in this together. We all have one mission. And again, it was like, there was really 13 of us traveling together from the A-players. And the coach is coaching staff and myself and Kelly, and then Laura, our trainer, and then Jay and Andre.
And it’s like, as a unit, like we, we, we were, we did everything together and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. Right. Like, and it was kind of fun. Like when there was like a, a tough moment for the guys team the women’s team was there to kind of [00:29:00] get us going. And when there was kind of a tough moment for the women’s team, the guys were there to have their backs.
And it was like, man, this is special. Like, this is different. This is unlike anything I’ve ever really been a part of. And I loved it. I loved every second of it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:14] What were some of the fun highlights away from the court? Just in terms of the international travel to Hungary? I dunno. What kind of experience.
The players had traveling internationally. And how much of them, how many of them had been elsewhere, but just, what was it like from a cultural standpoint of the travel piece of it and just some of the things that you were able to do off the court?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:29:38] Yeah. So, we were really quarantined and kind of in this bubble and masked up and in the hotel and really didn’t get to leave the hotel.
You know, and we really, and again, kudos to USA basketball, and again, Andrea and Jay Demings, I know he’s been on the podcast before their leadership and keeping us [00:30:00] on task and making sure we had everything we needed and keeping us safe and making sure we’re upholding all the protocols.
Like they were rock stars, man, you know? But I think the players, most of the moment, I’ve never been out of the country. There was a few had and. You know, I think one of the first things we talked about, like at our first kind of meeting together, like we’re going to be gone away from our families for quite a bit.
We’re going to be in another country, we’re going to be doing this together. So we really need to make sure that we’re sharing this experience and we’re there for each other. Some of us might get, oh, I told them I’m going to be homesick. I mean, this is the longest I was going to be away from my kids and wife, my whole, my whole experience as a father and husband.
So we talked about that, but it was kind of like, we kind of soaked up everything together from the airport going through customs getting into Hungary in the long bus ride. And then we get to the hotel. Well, and the first day we get there, it’s kind of like, we have to be quarantined to our room until the COVID test [00:31:00] clears.
And we do like a game night and just had a blast with that. And then we’re eating all of our meals together. And like there’s so many highlights. Like we had a lot of fun off the court figuring things out, but I don’t know to me. I don’t know, I just I hear it all the time, the idea of like breaking bread together and having meals, like there was just a lot of jokes over our dinners.
And just a little Hangouts in the lobby that were kind of priceless, a lot of inside jokes, just like you get with any team, you know? And, and those are things that we’re all gonna remember and there’s little text threads going back and forth with some of those jokes still and that’s kind of what makes it all worthwhile.
And that’s what makes the experience so gratifying is when you get to know people really for who they are, and he kind of dig beneath the surface and, and real relationships form. So yeah, there was, I mean, I would probably say that the funniest thing that happened, I think you guys, I saw it live in a game.
One of our players Janiah. She just was scared of bees. And there was so many bees in the stands and around [00:32:00] like chasing us. I felt like at times, but she was getting you with the three on three, you saw every dead ball. And she was checking into a game after McKayla made a really big play and Janiah was checking in and a beast started chasing her.
And it looked like Janiah was almost like doing a tick tock dance. And it’s like, I guess we, I I rewatch all the games multiple times after to break down film. And the knots are saying like, what is wrong with Janiah it looks like she’s doing some kind of dance and McKayla was cracking up and Janiah just left the court and subbed herself right back out.
At least she just came in because she was just like, I’m not dealing with this B. And like, it kind of, I feel like it kind of became a meme like FIBA three on three, posted it and made a big joke about it. And then from that on every team in the tournament, that was kind of like our way to break the ice.
Like everyone was kind of joking. Oh, that’s the way to be team USA. We got some bees ready to, you know you know, so it was, it kind of became a thing. And and that was kinda, it was kinda cool because that broke the ice. Like I go over there. I don’t know [00:33:00] what to expect like, are these other countries, are they going to want to talk to us by the end of the tournament?
You know, we were you know, talking and sharing stories with the Hungarian coaches and the German coaches. And I mean, it was just, it was pretty cool. And I think Janaia being so afraid of bees is kind of like the, the start to all of that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:20] That’s a very, that’s a very cool story.
And again, it’s one of those things that it means even more to all of you who were a part of it as anybody who’s ever been on a team, whether you’re a player or whether you’re a coach, there are always those little. Quirks and those little things that happen that for whatever reason you latch onto, and they kind of grow in stature over time.
And there things that it’s like those girls and the guys on the team began 30 years from now. They’re just going to be able to say that we’re B send somebody a text and send them a little be emoji. And [00:34:00] everybody’s going to know everybody’s going to know exactly what that means is going to take you all back back to exactly where you were in that moment.
And that. Is something that can never be replaced. And I think it sounds like that you were able to generate that with, as you said, this diverse group of players that came from all over the country didn’t necessarily even know each other very well. If they knew each other at all, prior to coming together.
And yet you were able to have this unbelievable experience, you mentioned breaking down film. What, what did the scouting process look like during the tournament and watching film of three on three, compared to watching film of five on five as a high school coach is just, what did it look like? How did you do it?
And then how would you compare the two, if there was any similarities or differences that stand out?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:34:51] Yeah, that’s a really good question. I feel like after we got out of training camp, when, when you know that the focus there was like getting our stuff in and getting them [00:35:00] competing and learning the rules I kind of felt like my hat kind of switched once we actually got to Hungary and started competition.
That was a week long process. But it really, I thought the players are gonna show up and they’re going to play the games, but I kind of really felt that between myself and Kelly. We’re going to like our job is to get into this film and to have some edits ready for our players and to make sure we’re getting edits of ourselves and ways we can improve, but also getting scout of our opponents and really getting to know who they were and how they were going to attack us.
What was really cool. One of the big things that I actually ended up speaking to some of the coaches about after, and just some different people, like you’re breaking down a five on five game at the high school level in Illinois. Anyway it’s a 32 minute game, you got the 48 minute quarters and that’s, that can be an arduous process at times.
With Lane, we use a software system and we send our film when we get the edit back and it’s like, okay, now let’s clip it out. [00:36:00] It saves us some time, but it’s still you’re going through a hundred, some a hundred, some odd clips and really trying to put reels together.
And so. And then you got practice the next day and they had another game another night later. So it’s, it can be time consuming and you kind of need a, I think a group at the high school level to each kind of share the load with the three on three games, obviously, number one, I’m getting these games right off YouTube, just like anybody else’s.
But it’s a 10 minute game, right? So pretty much all of our opponents, I try to get as many films as I could scrutiny and what I had to do again, working with just my laptop and not really having access to a whole lot of things. Just screen recording clips. And then putting together an edits for our coach or for our players.
And then we would I would end up messaging them a bunch of clips. I wanted them to kind of look at before. And then the morning of game day we’d have our practice, like just we, we got 15 minutes or 20 minutes on the court. We do just a quick walkthrough, get some shots up. And then we [00:37:00] come back and have film edits of our opponent that day.
And then usually after the night of competition, we would have some film of our game. So now like we get there, it was like the girl, the women played Tuesday, men play Wednesday, Wednesday, Thursday meant played Friday. Saturday was quarters. Sunday was semis and finals. So there was obviously film in the morning film at the night for the team that, that played that day.
But then also a film session for the team that was waiting to play. You know what I mean? So in-between games in between practices. It was me locking myself in the room and Kelly locking herself in the room and even Todd back home, who was one of our core coaches in, in, in training camp, looking at film, getting stuff, clipped out and broken.
And having these edits ready for our players. And I I’d like to think that these edits did prepare them. And I think that them seeing some of the things that our opponents were going to do gave them some confidence going into our games because I mean, obviously you’re going into five and five in the states.
[00:38:00] Yeah. You’re going to play a really good high school, you know? Some of these guys play play AAU or whatever, but you’re, there’s a little familiarity, right? You’re going in some of these players already, you’ve seen them some of the stuff they’re going to run, even if you haven’t seen a whole lot of film, there’s just some things you’re familiar with us going to a whole nother country and us coming together in such a short amount of time.
Like there was a lot of uncertainty and I think that the film they always say people lie, right. You know, film never lies. So I think the film really gave them confidence heading into competition. I think you, if you did watch her teams over the, the, the week long games that we played, there was some definite growth over that time.
And obviously it was the players buying in, but I think it was the familiarity and the the picking things up so quickly. And I think the film did help.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:49] How much practice time did you get when you were there?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:38:51] When we were there? Like I said, man, we only had so what would end up happening the day of a game?
Right? So like the women will play two [00:39:00] games in the afternoon. They would have essentially a 20 minute. Sometimes it was the first day I think we had 30, but most of the days it was between 15 and 20 minutes on the on the court to get shots up in the mornings. And we would do just a couple of drills where you get a lot of shots out of some of our actions.
And then we would do some basic prep, scout prep for our upcoming games that day. So then like a typical day would be like wake up early. You know women have breakfast super early between 7, 7 30. They get taped. They get to see the trainer, whatever we had over to our practice from whatever it is, 8, 15, 8 45 come back.
Watch film. While that film’s happening, the guys are at breakfast. Girls go back, they, they rest up a little bit into their uniforms. We walk over with the men to their actual day off half hour practice, go through half hour practice, come back, potentially watch some film. They get some [00:40:00] lunch. We head over to the women’s game.
We’re watching our women’s game. Then we’re staying in scouting the teams in between. Then we have another women’s game. Then we come back and then it’s more film and dinner and then film with the guys. And then the next day just do it all over again. You know? So like as much as I talked about, like we were we were all kind of missing our families and.
Like you didn’t really have time. You know what I mean? Like every day was so jam packed and it really did kind of fly by.
Mike Klinzing: [00:40:30]What did you learn strategically that you might be able to bring back to lane with you? Is there anything that you saw either that you guys put together or something that one of your opponents was running or a defensive, whatever defensive style, something that you saw from an X’s and O’s or a strategic tamp standpoint or a skill development standpoint that you could bring back that can benefit you as a high school coach?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:40:59] Yeah, [00:41:00] honestly, Mike, there was, there was a lot, I mean, I have a whole notebook of stuff. And, and honestly, like some of these film edits that I have saved, we’re going to be watching. Some of this with, with, with our team to prep, because obviously even before I was doing any of this stuff with USAP, I think we’ve all talked about this.
Like you used 3 on three breakdown in your practices. Like, I don’t really care where your coach and what you’re doing. You do some three on three work, whether it’s your ball screen actions, your post actions, your post splits, you know three on three, just to play in and see who our better defenders are three and three rebounding drills.
Like you do a lot of breakdown with three on three three on three shell breakdown. You know, we do w I was doing that stuff when I first started coaching back in 2005, 2006, and it was stuff I did when I was playing in college and I think. One of the big things that I took away in terms of strategy and, and again, the game has evolved to a place now where obviously the premium is on in five and five, [00:42:00] the three point shot in three and three, we call it the two point shot, but there’s a premium there.
And when you have shooters you’re trying to design your offense to get those shots force long close outs. And some of the, actually I think some of the stuff that we put in was, was pretty good. Some of the stuff we were running, but there was some things that, that our opponents ran and not to put everyone’s scout out there for the world to hear, but there was like a, this post split action that Astonia did that I really loved typically just like talking through it, like your, your, your pass would be made to the post and that pastor would then have a read either kind of cut or set a screen for another player and get a post split.
And what Astonia would do is like that low man who would make the entry, the top man would come and. Kind of come and change the angle and pin him the pastor to the dead corner. And it was very hard to guard cause it happened so quickly and they were [00:43:00] getting that look very cleanly. The first time we played them.
And I think we made some really great adjustments. We ended up playing in the gold medal game for the men, but that wasn’t it, Tufts Lincoln, a steel you know, it worked really well. It was hard to go. And there’s a lot of that kind of stuff. Like it was crazy how like, because again, it is, it’s a different points per possession deal too, right?
Like in five and five. You know, you’re, you’re shooting threes for twos, you shoot 10 threes, you get 30 points. You shoot, you know 10 twos, you get 20 points. But in, in the, in the 303 game, you shoot 10 twos, you get 20 points, shoot 10 ones you’re getting 10 points in a games. It could be over at 21.
You know what I mean? So like there’s such a premium on the two point shot. And I think a lot of the teams that we played knew, their only chance of really being our talent was to make a lot of twos or to get us into foul trouble or a combination of both. So the way we defended the three-point line with there was a lot of things that we did that I’m definitely going to bring back home with, with our teams and also the way we, the way [00:44:00] to generate those, those three point shots.
And it was almost like some of the teams that we played. They’d run a ball screen action and, and the roll man, even if we gave the roll up, they’d hit the roll for a kickoff for two, they’d have supposed to action. Just even if we we, we, we wouldn’t dig down. Right. But even if we did, it was the whole idea was to post up, to get an action for it to, right.
So there was a lot of good stuff. And again, like I said, there’s gonna be definitely some stuff that I steal.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:32] So you think about that and the way that the game has evolved, and obviously as you said, three on three places and even greater premium on that two point slash three point shot as a coach. And you’ve seen the game evolve from when you started, where there wasn’t nearly the emphasis on the three, as there is in the game today.
And as I’m hearing you talk, what I’m picturing in my head is the things [00:45:00] that when I’m watching basketball today, that still as an old school player slash coach, when I see a three on one, and it’s an automatic layer, And I see guys fanning out to the three point line. There’s still a part of me that even though I understand the math and I understand the analytics, there’s still a part of me that cringes, when I see that.
And yet when you’re talking about the three on three, it’s almost like conceding, a one isn’t that painful. When on the other side of it, you’re going to come back and shoot it two, if that makes any sense. And so how do you think about that from a coaching standpoint, whether that’s, how you thought about it in the three on three or whether, how you think about that as a high school coach in terms of shot selection and what you’re trying to generate from your office?
Nick LoGalbo: [00:45:54] Yeah. That’s a really good question, Mike. And you know, it’s funny, like, come on, man. [00:46:00] Like I’ve never coached a team like this in my life. Like both the men and the women. All eight of those players were the most talented player. I mean, I mean, holy cow obviously I’ve gotten to work with the junior national team and coaching those guys in that setting.
Right. And, and that’s obviously those experiences and then this experience, that’s, that’s the most talent I’ve ever been around. And those players are able to score at all three levels and in a variety of ways they know what they’re good at, and they’re good at a lot of things. But I think, I think what I kind of saw happening was like every team that we played, if they try to play us M talking to with FIBA, with the 3 on 3 experience with USAB, if they try to play a straight up and play basketball, they knew they weren’t going to beat us.
Right. Trading ones, they weren’t going to be those trading ones. We were going to score more efficiently. Any game we played, we just had more, we had an [00:47:00] unbelievable amount of talent and we had guys at different levels. I mean, obviously when you look at both teams, we had players who could score on the block and they really couldn’t stop us.
We had players who can, who were really good and pick and roll players who can, could knock down the open jump shot. And it really all they players were able to do that. So I think when I was thinking about like scout, like a lot of these teams, like you just said, like they wouldn’t, they don’t want to concede ones with us, but like at times they were like, okay, they, they beat us in that action.
They’re going to give a one and follow them. We can’t follow the United States. Cause then, then we’re really trouble. And they would, they would leak out to try to get a quick two from it. And they actually even had designed actions to get those shots. But you know, on our side of it, like we really stress.
We’re not falling in love with all twos. Right? Like. We don’t need to do that. Like, let’s be efficient. Let’s take the ones where we can get them. Let’s put the emphasis let’s put the [00:48:00] pressure on them by attacking the rim. They’re going to have to follow you or, or give up a bunch of ones. And that’s gonna open up a lot of things.
But you know, to your question, as a high school coach here in Chicago, like we’ve, we’ve talked about this before. A lot of times I’m coaching the team in our league. That is and I’m not saying anything bad about our school. We’re playing very talented teams in our league. Most of our teams in our league have some high major division one players, and we have unbelievable kids, but we don’t have that talent level.
And just naturally, so we are the team. Philosophically that that are, we’re trying to make more threes than our opponent. We’re really like that’s our goal. We know we need to try to make eight to 10 threes a game and we’re driving a kick in and we’re doing all those things. No, we’re not conceding to is it’s, it’s a different game, but to your point and then like in the transition though, I still get where you’re coming from.
Like we gotta, we gotta clean lay-up and you’re leaking out for three. Like, unless it’s our and [00:49:00] again, who has a Steph Curry no one has a Steph Curry, you know? So it’s, it’s hard for me still to can see that, like when we know we’ve got a basket, let’s get the basket. We always talk about it, our own, getting back to lane real quick, like conversion offense, like we’re trying to get a layup, a free-throw opportunity.
We forced a file or a puncture three, right? Like we’re not just fanning out. Like, unless there’s a paint touch where we’ve collapsed the defense, we’re not shooting at three and transition. So that’s kinda like our. You know, that’s kinda my OCD way of dealing with the fact that they’re going to shoot threes in transition.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:32] No, it makes a ton of sense. It’s just, again, like I said, it’s always interesting when the evolution of the game has gone in a direction that is different from the way that I spent the majority of my playing and coaching career dealing with it. And it’s just, you look at the math and you say, well, we can give them one.
If we’re going to get two on the other end and in the three on three, it skews even [00:50:00] more where I think about the old Paul Westhead run up and down Loyola, Marymount teams in a lot of ways, that’s almost, they were ahead of their time in terms of, Hey, we’re just going to, we just want to get you into this tempo and we’ll give you a quick two, cause we’re going to come down and work.
Shoot threes on the other end. And we’re just, we just want to get you tired and get you running and playing our style of play. And it’s sort of the same thing here where you could see where these teams, if you’re not as talented and it’s not as easy for you to score and you look at it, you say the only way we can win is to stand behind the line and have an exceptionally hot shooting game that sure.
We’ll give you ones because we could just shoot twos. And then that three on three game, obviously it’s the math is even more skewed in favor of shooting two. So it’s really, to me, I find it to be fascinating, just the whole interplay between what conceptually may have been a good shot 15 years ago, versus what [00:51:00] conceptually is a good shot today.
It’s completely different shots. That shots that coaches that I might’ve played for 30 years ago would have been cringing just to. In a nice way. If some of the shots that go flying all the time today are taken. So it’s just interesting. It’s a, it’s amazing the way that the game has changed. And I think that the three on three is taking it to a whole nother dimension.
I know you and I have talked about it before. And you mentioned it in, when you were talking earlier about coaches incorporating three on three into their practices. We know that’s something that’s always been done and breakdowns and whatever, but I think the game, when you see the FIBA style of three on three, and you look at the fact that now it’s an Olympic sport, I think you’re going to continue to see more and more and more of it.
And it’s just fun because if you played it or watched it or coached it, players get so many more touches. And I think one thing that I’d love to see, and I’ve said it on the podcast a [00:52:00] couple of times is I think if you could, I think you could make a pretty coherent argument that if kids played nothing but three on three, until they were in seventh grade, that our basketball skill level.
As a country would be way higher, just because of the number of touches and the. Actions that every player has to be involved in both on offense and in deep and on defense. Right.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:52:22] I couldn’t agree more, I think. And I think we’re going to start seeing some of that trending. I think it’s going to take time, but I mean, if you’re someone who really is around the game, obviously, like you’re watching these kids in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, going to these leagues, playing five on five, running up and down the floor.
Like, I mean, how much basketball do they really get in, in that 30 minutes that they were playing a five on five game. Right? You may have touched the ball for 10 seconds. Like, what did you learn? Did you learn spacing when you’re that young? Like, no, you’re not, you’re not getting these concepts, you know?
And I think as you said, even through middle school you know, with three on three, like we talked. You’re getting a lot of touches. You can’t hide [00:53:00] defensively. You’ve got to know what kind of actions you’re running and how easy that can just translate into the five on five. Obviously you’re adding an offense.
Ultimately, let’s talk about a lot of these actions are happening. You’re adding the two guys in the corners as your shooters, or you’re adding a post or whatever you’re going to add. A lot of the actions are going to be the same. And now defensively, you had to guard your yard for it until you’re 12, 13 years old.
You know what on-ball ball defense looks like what kind of stunt recovery potential looks like, and now you add the help sign the rotations, right? Like, I don’t know. It makes a whole lot of sense to me as well. But obviously there’s a lot of layers to that too. So no, no,
Mike Klinzing: [00:53:38] Yeah, yeah. We can leave that for a whole nother podcast, but I would love, I would love to see it.
I would love to see it happen. Let’s put it that way. Yeah. All right. Any final thoughts on. The gold medal winning experience before we move on and talk about a couple other things and bring you back closer to home.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:53:54] No, I mean just thank you for letting me relive it here for the past. However long we’ve [00:54:00] been talking about it.
I mean, maybe it was special. Obviously we can’t take it for granted. It’s, it’s an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life and it was just the honor of a lifetime and incredibly, incredibly thankful for the opportunity and for the experience. So that’s all I really got, man. Thank you.
Mike Klinzing: [00:54:18] And congratulations to you. Congratulations to the team both teams and it’s obviously special and it clearly comes through as you’re talking, how important and special it was for you, not just to win the gold medal, but to build relationships with the people that you were able to build relationships with relationships with over the course of this time, let’s bring you back to Chicago and I want to talk two more things.
First. I want to talk a little bit about Chicago Glow and it was something that you and I. After the first time we met and you kind of had a vision and we’re talking about this, or we’ll give you a chance to talk about that in a second. And then at the end, just want to let you share with coaches out there, what your experience has been like [00:55:00] in Chicago at lane through this whole COVID process.
And we thought maybe two or three months ago that we were going to be almost through it. Now it looks like we’re headed back to who knows what? So we’ll leave that for the very end, but tell us a little bit about Chicago, glow your vision for it, where it came from and what you’re hoping to do with that program.
Nick LoGalbo: [00:55:22] Yeah. So I think when you and I first started talking, I kind of had this vision for awhile and I really wasn’t moving on. It was getting a little frustrated. And I honestly, again, I still do. I remember that that phone call we had I remember driving home from work and I just kinda stayed in the car on the phone with you for quite a while, because it was I think when you hear other people like you, what you’re doing with your podcast and your camps, people who are going after their passions through the game, it’s inspiring.
And I just, I just love being in the gym. You know, I think like a lot of coaches, I, I have a, I have a passion obviously for coach and basketball and trying to impact lives through something that I’m passionate [00:56:00] about. I think that’s what purpose is using your passion to serve and as much as I get my fix coaching at lane, my Alma mater, and now obviously getting to work with USAB a little bit, whenever that happens, obviously it’s incredibly rewarding and love it.
But I really wanted to say, Hey man, in the summer months, Like, I’d like to really give back to our community. I’d like to coach more, I’d like to be in the gym with kids who really are passionate and a gym rats. And, you know for a long time I would just I we’d do our youth camps at lane, but I just go, I go to, I remember going to an outdoor park and just working out and like little kids being there and just like, Hey, just wanted to like anything Hey, you play basketball.
Can you help me? And it’s like, what a great feeling. You know? I mean, truly, I just kinda wanted to do some more of that too. When I could find some time. As you know, we know three young kids at home, it’s kind of hard to find the time, but finally, this summer, I finally I reached out to a local gym [00:57:00] space and got a pretty good deal on some court space.
And I just put something together where we did in the spring. We just did these kind of one day pop-ups just to get the name out and kind of show what we were doing. And then finally this summer, I we’d launched our first. We call it Chicago Glow basketball school. The idea, it’s not just a camp, you’re not just showing up in your t-shirt and leaving.
Like there’s a curriculum involves there’s a report card at the end, obviously not trying to steal every, I mean, Coach Showalter and what’s well, Bailey has, has, has done. That’s obviously kind of. The nspiration and snow valley has meant so many, so much to so many different people from valley California, Snow valley Iowa.
Snow valley Missouri, but I just, I, I’m not in a position where I’m gonna try to bring a whole snow valley to Chicago. I don’t have a college on the dorms on that, but I figured in my own little way and, and the idea of the name [00:58:00] Chicago glow, like the idea of being light in our city, like the game can unify.
I think Chicago has a, has it, it’s beautiful. I think it’s the best scene in the world, but unfortunately there are a lot of kids who get lost in the city and a lot of kids who basketball is a tool for them. So I, I, the idea is that we’re going to use basketball. We’re going to provide opportunities for kids who really want to get after it and learn the game.
And slowly but surely you’ve to a place where I’m hoping right now we just did a couple of sessions where it was the school and the kids do went through the curriculum, got the report card. But I would like to get out into other communities and branch out and even offer some free workouts and camps and even potentially get into the, to the the, the helping youth coaches get some developers.
You know, I think a lot of coaches that are in middle school, high school, college coaching, they’ll go to clinics, they’ll go to workshops. But what about some of those coaches that are just on the front lines with the kids at the park districts or at the Y that are just good people that want to help kids, but [00:59:00] maybe don’t have the basketball IQ meant so really relate to dive in deeper to that as the years evolved here, but that’s kind of the vision and I’m really happy.
We got it started this summer and we’ll see what once this basketball season ends, what a year or two will look like next spring and summer.
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:18] So I think that youth coach piece is really something that just like the three on three it’s. I think it’s not always easy to do, to be able to get to those coaches who coach are.
Second, third, fourth graders. A lot of times they’re often parents, as you said, there are people that are good people that maybe. Basketball centric for lack of a better way of saying it, but by giving them the opportunity to, to help them to understand better how to be a coach and not just from a basketball standpoint, but just how do you connect with kids?
Because I think of all the [01:00:00] conversations, Nick, that we’ve had on the podcast with different coaches and sure. We talk a lot about different X’s and O’s stuff. We talk a lot about specifics when it comes to, how do I teach this? Or what’s that all about when you’re out on the basketball floor, but so many of the conversations ultimately ended up coming back to how do you connect with the players that you’re coaching?
And I think that’s something that a lot of us who are in education, whether we’re teachers or coaches or both, I think you sometimes take it for granted your ability to. Develop relationships with kids and manage kids and figure it out. I don’t even know if I’ve told this story on the podcast, but I think it’s one that’s relevant here.
I remember one time I went to my kid’s field day when I was there, they were younger. So this was when my two of my older ones when they were in elementary school. And there was a [01:01:00] group of whatever 25 kids. And there were two parents, there was one dad and one mom and they had a group and they were trying to organize the groups into like three teams.
And I was kind of walking towards them and I see what’s going on. And somebody had told me, Hey, can you go over and help this group? And, and you’re just watching them and they’re trying to organize it, you know? And you’re just watching them going. I, I, I can’t even watch this. Like, I don’t know. I don’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish.
And I walk over there and you just forget that because you’re in that kind of environment with kids all the time and you interact with them that just getting a group of 25 kids into three teams, like I had it done in five seconds, but those other parents would have struggled with that for another five or 10 minutes.
And then it still probably wouldn’t have gone smoothly. And that has nothing to do with whether or not you can coach basketball or teach a skill or whatever. It’s just a [01:02:00] matter of how do you organize? And I think there’s such a value in helping. Our youth coaches, our volunteer coaches forget about basketball.
I mean, I’m talking about any level, the people that spend time with our kids, especially I’m. Sure. And again, I’m not as familiar obviously with inner city, Chicago as you are, but I’m sure. The people who are there working with kids in that environment, if you could help them forget about the basketball specific techniques, but just how do I build better relationships with kids?
How do I better organize this group that has a ton of energy? How do I get them into teams? How do I organize them into this so that we can get whatever it is that we’re trying to do? How do we get that done? And to me, if somebody could figure out how to do that, I think we’d have, I mean, the impact you could have on the youth of the United States would be, would be incredible.
Nick LoGalbo: [01:02:53] Yeah, no man. Mike I’m with you. And I see it all the time. You see it, like there are, there are a lot of good people [01:03:00] who care about kids and just getting them a little know-how or like you said, they might even have, like you said, the, the management skills to get people organized to get them in groups.
So maybe you need a little basketball acumen or on the other side of it, maybe you are a former player and you’ve got all the acumen in the world, but maybe you don’t know how to relate to, to the younger kids. Maybe like, you always understood it as a player, but the little guy you’re trying to cook, don’t know, I think it’s just such a, a good space for that.
And I’m hoping that whether it’s with three Chicago glow or just other opportunities, I, I just have a passion for that. And I’m hoping we, we can do more of that, especially in parts of our country that can really use it because basketball is such a unifier.
Mike Klinzing: [01:03:44] Well, I’m excited for you because I can think back to that same conversation that you referenced earlier and you and I both kind of talking about what we hope to be able to do through the game of basketball and the impact that we hope to be able to have and just [01:04:00] bouncing ideas back and forth.
And I’m excited for you that you’ve got this thing off the ground and based on your track record, I know you’re going to do great things with it. And we obviously, Jason, I wish you the best of luck as it moves forward, and I’m sure we’ll continue to keep an eye on it. All right. Last topic. Let’s just briefly give us a rundown of what it’s been like at lane through the period of COVID, how you’ve been able to adapt.
What’s been unique to the situation there in Chicago, in Illinois for maybe coaches who are in other states that obviously everybody had it different, but just tell us a little bit about what the last. Year and a half has been like, and what you anticipate this season, how it’s looking at this point.
Nick LoGalbo: [01:04:46] Yeah. So you try to unpack covid and go through what your past year and a half looks like. You know, I always, I make the joke and I dunno, it’s probably a cheesy dad jokes, but I think we’re our, [01:05:00] family’s a big Marvel Avengers family, and I can’t help, but keep thinking about like, after, if you’ve seen any of the movies after Daniel’s happens and everyone kind of they, they disappear for those five years.
Like in one of the Spider-Man movies, everyone kind of reappears. And everyone’s trying to like figure out what normalcy kind of looked like. And that’s what it kind of feels like. Like I remember last year, right after so for, for us in Chicago, public schools we ended up getting some of our seasons, very condensed, whatever, but the kids didn’t have the option to come back to school until April.
Right. So we were virtual the entire year. And then even when we got back to school in April, it was like your classes split in section eight and section B. And you’d only have eight kids on Monday and Tuesday and be kids on Thursday and Friday. And then from that half the class, maybe, maybe five of the 15 opted in.
So you’d have five kids in your classroom and the other 25 at home virtually, or not just, just taking the day off, [01:06:00] whatever. Right. But I’ll never forget it, man. The first day back. Inlay at lane, which is you know this, I mean, it’s my second home. I went to school there, myself. I’ve geez. I met my wife at lane.
Like it’s, it’s a very special place for me. And I remember walking down the hallway that first day back and I heard a student say another student, like, oh my gosh, is that you you’re a foot taller? Like, I didn’t even recognize him. Like, like, like it was like, we just got out of the blip. Like we hadn’t it’s been like five years and it’s like, we’re different people.
And I don’t know, like, that was really hard for me to, I think that was hard for everybody. But I think we try to have a basketball season. We ended up getting nine games in our season span less than a month total in terms of duration. And it was kinda like, Hey, we showed up. It was over before we even kind of knew what started type of a thing.
And I’m really happy we had something for the seniors, but in all honesty, it’s like, I said, we had a meeting today after school for all the returners [01:07:00] about like what our fall conditioning and weight training’s going to look like. And I told the, the now sophomores that like, Guys like, truthfully, this is your first year of high school basketball like you didn’t have a full year, you had three and a half weeks of practice, and that was shared gym space and like very limited interaction.
And you know, you’re really getting your, your hands sunk in you’re really diving into really what’s your first full year of high school basketball. So there’s a lot that you’re going to have to learn very quickly, you know? So with all that being said one of the things about Illinois, like all indoor sports, you still have to wear a mask.
So in our workouts, in our weight training, in open gyms, well, I shouldn’t say workouts. We’re not doing any coaching. That’s the rules in Illinois and our open gyms and our weight training. Our guys have masks you know when we start our season, we start playing, our guys will be in masks and that’s hard they’ve, they’ve all played a U and travel and in the private sector, they’re not requiring those masks [01:08:00] and then have to go back to that.
Even with you know, even if they’re vaccinated, even with a negative test, there’s still a mask. So I’m not saying I’m necessarily like raw for, or against it. I understand the health protocol. They understand why we’re doing it, but it’s hard to get guys to keep their medicine and try to play basketball and focus.
And I, I still need to find out does that mean they’re going to work in the, the mandatory timeouts in between quarters? Like they did like. Like, it was almost like immediate time out every quarter, last year. Cause he had to give mass breaks. Right. So those are some of the things, I mean, we’ve been dealing with a lot on the aid side, we’re trying to plan like a pep rally and coming dance.
And it’s like, what the heck is that going to look like? You know what I mean? So there’s just a lot of things, but on the basketball side of it, man, I’m so excited. I’m just excited for a full year, excited to kind of get back to that flow and the grind of a season and scouting and playing the level of competition we’re going to play and trying to get prepared for that and whatever [01:09:00] man mask, no masks, you can make us wear parkas and snow boots, like as long as you’re like, I’m ready to go, man.
Mike Klinzing: [01:09:08] Yeah, absolutely. I think anybody who had a season, like the one that you experienced, so we were a little bit different here in Ohio. It was. It was still hit or miss in terms of scheduling because teams would be quarantined and this, and it was kind of like you’d call once a week are, and who’s available to play and okay, we’ll play you on Friday night.
And certainly the schedule was a lot more fluid, but we did most teams here were able to get in their full 22 game schedule which was great for, for the kids here in Ohio. You had to wear masks on the bench, but they didn’t have to wear them while they were playing. And I would anticipate that that’s probably going to be the way that it goes this year.
It seems like, and maybe I’m wrong, but it feels like there’s not, there’s not a [01:10:00] tremendous amount of will or desire to go back to. Schooling. I think they’re going to keep everybody, I mean, we have a lot of cases in our local high school here where my kids go right now and it doesn’t seem like there’s much momentum to send everybody home, which I think is the right decision.
I think, I think kids need to be in school, but at the same time, it’s definitely a challenge. I mean, there’s a lot of kids that are quarantining and there’s a lot of cases and obviously health is the most important thing. And yet you could make a really, really good argument as many people did or through the last 18 months that the mental health of our students is probably as important.
That was probably as negatively affected by being home and being isolated and not every kid has the kind of home situation that you or I would probably dream of for them. And so that makes it even more of a challenge. So [01:11:00] going forward, Fingers are crossed that you guys get a normal seasons or at least as normal as we can be in these crazy times.
And hopefully we’ll get the same here in Ohio and we’ll just keep plugging away. And one day we’ll have, we’ll have this to look back on and hopefully just like your story about, Hey man, I you grew up, you grew up, you grew a foot since I last saw. Hopefully we’ll, hopefully we’ll have some more stories like that to be able to be able to remember.
I know I have some, some that stand out for me, of things that students said to me and just having an opportunity to sit in the stands and watch my son play basketball and watch my watch, my daughters do their thing. So it’s, it’s been, it’s been challenging. And yet at the same time, I think that going forward, there’s going to be, we’re going, we’re going to get through it.
And I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t know when, but, but we’re going to get through it and hopefully we’ll come out the other side stronger and. Nick, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time tonight to chat with us. [01:12:00] Again, I look at where we were when you were on the first time where it’s an hour and a half conversation between two people who had never met, didn’t know each other.
And now to be able to develop a genuine friendship from hours away and be able to see one another in-person at snow valley twice now. And just the connection that we built it’s special. It means a lot to me. Hopefully it comes through on the podcast. And again, I can’t thank you enough for being a part of it.
Just share one more time, how people can reach out to you, connect with you, email social media, which I know you got your Twitter lock, but Hey, they can still follow you at least.
Nick LoGalbo: [01:12:37] Yeah, no. So Mike reiterate exactly man, same thing. Thank you for the genuine friendship and, and just growing through the game together.
I think that’s what we all, that’s the best part about all this is impacting lives and, and learning from other coaches. So thank you. And yeah, I mean just if anyone wants to reach out my personal email we’ll reach out on the school and that’s bombarded with, I’m looking at about [01:13:00] 400 emails right now on my screen, but my personal is just my name.
NickLoGalbo@gmail.com. My socials because of our school and our district, I got to keep the Twitter and Instagram on private. But again, if I get a follow request and it’s, I see it’s a coach or a basketball enthusiast, I accept those. I just can’t have current students following me on social media.
So it kind of stinks cause there’s times I’ll put a tweet out like a basketball tweet and I tag someone or I want the world to see it. And only my limited followers get to see it. So I’m hoping I can get that change with our district or soon, but yeah, happy to accept the follow and then you can kind of see whatever, if any of my little nuggets or nuggets I retweet from other people make any sense and we can go from there.
Mike Klinzing: [01:13:50] Awesome, Nick again, congratulations on the gold medal winning performance from both the men’s and women’s team that you were a part of. I can’t even imagine the [01:14:00] thrill that that was, and you did a really good job of articulating it. So thank you for that. And to everyone out there. Thanks for listening.
And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.