ROB SENDEROFF – KENT STATE UNIVERSITY HEAD MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH – EPISODE 358

Rob Senderoff

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

Email – rsendero@kent.edu

Twitter – @CoachSendy

Rob Senderoff just completed his ninth season as Kent State’s head coach and ranks all-time winningest coach in program history with 181 wins.

Rob took over the program in April 2011 after spending seven previous years on the Golden Flashes’ coaching staff. In his nine seasons as head coach, the 24-year coaching veteran has continued the success of the storied program that he helped build by leading the Golden Flashes to six 20-win campaigns and postseason appearances. Kent State has also had success in the classroom, with all 35 seniors graduating in Senderoff’s tenure as head coach.

Senderoff  has led Kent State to the to the postseason in all of his eight seasons at the helm – participating in the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2019.  Rob is 1 of 14 coaches in the nation with 9+ years of experience without a losing season.

In addition to his time as an assistant at Kent State, Senderoff spent time as an assistant coach at Fordham, Yale, Towson, and Indiana after starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Miami University.

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Have your notebook handy as you listen to this episode with Rob Senderoff, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Kent State University.

What We Discuss with Rob Senderoff

  • Growing up in Spring Valley, New York playing basketball and baseball
  • His annual softball game at Kent – players vs. coaches
  • Playing for Texas Western’s Willie Worsley in High School
  • Why it is so difficult not to specialize if you have aspirations of being a college athlete
  • The advantages of today’s youth basketball system
  • Why kids don’t hate to lose as much as the did in the past and how he tries to build competitiveness in his players
  • The number one way to have competitiveness is to recruit it
  • Designing drills with winners and losers
  • Why players individual performance can be more important to them than how the team does
  • The changing landscape of college basketball and why teams don’t have as much time to develop
  • Getting players to sacrifice for each other
  • His WEGO board that hangs in the locker room. Wego over ego to measure hustle plays
  • Defender of the Day, Blockout Guy of the Day, and Assist Opportunity Leader
  • Recognizing players for fulfilling their role
  • You can’t be great at everything so pick something to emphasize
  • Coaching your leaders and developing a player led team
  • The power of players leading and exerting pressure on other players
  • The more you say the less they hear
  • The importance of mentors
  • How he breaks down staff responsibilities and roles
  • The ultimate authority lies with the Head Coach to make decisions, wins and losses go on the Head Coach’s record
  • Using analytics and what metrics he uses at Kent State
  • His system for watching and utilizing film breakdown
  • Helping his players navigate the use of social media
  • His advice for how to get noticed by college coaches and how to put together a highlight film
  • Getting information from both a recruit’s high school coach and his AAU Coach
  • What he looks for when watching a player in an AAU game
  • What he looks for when watching a player in a high school game
  • Keys characteristics of a player? Is he competitive? Does he love basketball?
  • Creating an expectation of winning at Kent State
  • Telling recruits, “We’re going to win”
  • Graduating players, helping them continue their playing careers, and getting them into coaching with his staff at Kent State

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THANKS, ROB SENDEROFF

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TRANSCRIPT FOR ROB SENDEROFF – KENT STATE UNIVERSITY HEAD MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH – EPISODE 358

[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 to the podcast from Kent State University and the head men’s basketball coach. Rob Senderoff. Rob, welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast.

Rob Senderoff: [00:00:14] How you doing Mike? Great to be here.

I appreciate you having me, man.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:17] We’re doing really, really well tonight. Excited to have you on dig into Kent State basketball. Want to start out by going back in time to when you were a kid? Talk to us a little bit about your first introduction to the game. What made you fall in love with it when you were younger?

Rob Senderoff: [00:00:29] Yeah, that’s a great question. Cause it brings back some memories.  I grew up in, upstate New York, Rockland County, Spring Valley is the name of the town. It’s about, 30, 40 miles outside of New York City. that’s where I grew up. I grew up playing multiple sports. baseball and basketball were, were really the sports that I played growing up.

And it was different back then. It wasn’t, you [00:01:00] know, a year round deal the way it is now, where, where you played the same sport or you play the same sport 12 months a year. So I played both sports growing up and, in high school. You know, I was actually probably a better baseball player than I was a basketball player.

In fact my teams here. We always have a Labor Day softball game the players versus the coaches. Part of the reason we do that is because I know we’re going to win.

I was good. I got a couple of guys on my staff that were pretty good athletes and it’s shocking how bad some of my basketball players are at swinging a bat.

So, it, it allows me to look like I’m a decent athlete, which I really wasn’t, but played those sports growing up and. played on my high school team and we didn’t have a new honestly didn’t play much just played outside basically [00:02:00] in the summer, went to some camps and did things like that.

But. you know, my career is you would call it ended actually after high school, my playing career in both baseball and, and basketball ended there, but I have tremendous, tremendous memories, and really admiration for my coaches growing up. one of my first coaches in high school,  he was the junior varsity coach.

When I was in ninth and 10th grade, I played at Spring Valley High School. His name was Willie . And, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie glory road. Have you seen that? He was the point guard for Texas Western, when they won the NCAA championship, over, over Kentucky. And he then went on to play in the ABA for a number of years, but Willy Worsley was, was my high school coach. [00:03:00] and really somebody that I always I don’t speak with him often, but I really have a tremendous amount of admiration for him. And one of the influences growing up where I was in my life.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:15] So two things from what you said, one is, how do you think being. A multi-sport athlete. When you look back on your high school career, your playing career, as both a baseball and a basketball player, how do you think that that impacted you being a multi-sport athlete and the benefits from playing baseball when you were a basketball player and vice versa?

Rob Senderoff: [00:03:37] You know, what I really think is that because I have kids of my own, I have a high schooler right now. and she was a Multisport athlete growing up, and then you get older, it becomes harder and harder to do that. And her aspirations weren’t and aren’t [00:04:00] necessarily to play in college.

It was more to enjoy the experience of playing sports and all of the benefits, that being part of a team and being in athletics brings my opinion as a parent and as a coach is if your goal is to play in college, you know where to play after college. I it’s unfortunate that I say it is, but it is really, really hard if you don’t specialize so to speak.

If you don’t. Spend eight, nine months of the year with a sport with that being said, as we all know 90%, 95% of, of athletes. And after high school,  they don’t play in college and they go on to do other things. And the lessons of having [00:05:00] played on a team and being part of a team or things that I think benefits you your entire life.

And if that’s not what it’s all focused on being able to play moldable sports and being able to be high school Letterman in two or three sports and being able to be that type of athlete for your high school or, or whatever, it may be such an awesome thing that I really think it depends on the kid and, and you know, what, where.

He, or she is looking to get three, four or five years down the road in terms of who you’re specialized and you’re not special. Ed. I do know that it’s like weightlifting was not, even when I say part of it wasn’t even a part of the equation. and now it is, and it’s a big part of the equation and it’s important to be [00:06:00] doing those things.

I don’t know how young, but, but certainly when you’re in high school, it’s important to be doing those things to, to maximize your ability. But things are so much different today when it comes to youth sports. And it was when, when I was growing up and, and when you were growing up and, and for better or worse, it’s just different.

And, and there’s some things that make it better. And some things obviously that they could tell her, but. You know, that that’s sort of how I grew up in look there’s times. Cause I probably could have played baseball. I probably could have played at the division three level. I couldn’t play basketball. I got cut from a division three basketball team, but there is times that I regret having done that.

And then obviously  I’m happy with what I chose

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:50] to do. All right. So let’s ask you this about the youth basketball system that we have today. And not that we can totally [00:07:00] revamp it and remake it in one night, but just give me an idea of what’s something that you, when you compare it to the time when you and I were growing up, what’s something that you like about the current.

Youth basketball slash a new system. And then maybe what’s something from the perspective of a division one head coach, what’s something that you don’t like about the current system.

Rob Senderoff: [00:07:22] That’s a really cool thing to talk about. What are the things I’d like? Okay. First of all being able to play year round, if you like to play or, or it’s probably not healthy to play year round when you’re young, young, but.

Having the opportunity to play basketball, organized whether it’s six, nine months a year for somebody who wants to be good that’s great. Nobody was going to a a skill session when I was growing. And now when I [00:08:00] say nobody, nobody, literally nobody like they were groups of three groups of four working out for 45 minutes, it’s getting shots. People just weren’t doing that. The guns, there were no guns where you can get you can get, 500 shots up in an hour. So, so many things that have been awesome about the development of a player. and the ability to develop as a player that that is great for, for anyone who, who loves basketball and who’s passionate about it and really wants to be good.

There’s so many opportunities for you to continue to improve that, that just weren’t quite as easily available say 20 years ago, 30 years ago. So those are really. The great things. You know, the things that sometimes are frustrating would [00:09:00] be some of the training is not quite applicable.

For real development as a player. Sometimes you watch some of the training videos that you see and your ideas. I don’t see how this okay. And there’s good and bad trainers everywhere. There’s good and bad coaches everywhere, but more even than that is the idea of games, not mattering.

It is what sometimes becomes to some degree when you’re a college coach, it becomes a little bit frustrating when winning and losing isn’t because you play so many games, you can play in an a and your season 60 or 70 games.

Well, you know, if I lose a game, no big deal, and that becomes harderto break that, [00:10:00] type of mentality, that the games don’t matter when you get to college, because in college you only play 30 and then you have your league play and you only play 18 or 20. And if you want to be a champion and if you want to get a ring and if you want to play in the NCAA tournament, and if you want to be remembered forever, you gotta win a lot of those games.

So. that is sometimes difficult. And it’s just a product of the amount of games that you play.

Mike Klinzing: [00:10:29] Do you fight that as a coach? So what do you do if you have a kid that comes into the program who sort of has that mentality, how do you overcome that? How do you try to instill that desire to win? Cause I think what, it goes back to the first part of our conversation that when you think about when you were a kid or when I was a kid one.

You played maybe 20 games in your high school, season 25, maybe if you’re lucky to advance in your state tournament. And then in the summertime, I know [00:11:00] that for me there wasn’t really a, you per se, but we had a couple of teams that like, my dad was our coach and I was the GM and we got some people together and played in a couple tournaments.

So maybe I’d played. 10 games in a summer, maybe. So in the course of my one year, as a junior or senior in high school, I might’ve played 30 games. That meant something. And every one of those games, for me, it was like life or death. And to your point, I think kids now, and I see it with my own kids and I’m sure you’ve seen it with your own kids and with.

Kids that you watch at the youth level. Now they lose the game and they’re like, are we going to subway or are we going to Panera? Yeah. Cause, cause we know we’re playing again in two hours, no matter what happens. So how do you fight that? As a, as a head coach?

Rob Senderoff: [00:11:43] Yeah.  I think some of that you try the best you can is to recruit first and foremost.

And then the other thing that you try to do is in your practices and in your workouts. And [00:12:00] then your drills is to create a competitive environment where if you win. there there’s a benefit. And if you lose there’s some level of punishment and I don’t want to call it punishment, but some level of unhappiness used to play again.

We used to play where if you lost there might be 20 people waiting to play. And if you lost the game, you were off. And it may take you if you’re playing outdoors or playing in a gym and there’s 30 people or 20 people and your team lost, and then you had to wait 30 minutes to get back on the court.

You know, that was part of the drive to win is that you wanted to play. So if you lost, you had to sit. So there’s some things that you try to do in, in your drill work, that, that you try to create that competitiveness to where [00:13:00] guys don’t want to lose, whether it’s, I gotta get more reps or I got to run and, and sometimes the running it is, and even about let me kill them with the running.

It’s more just the nuisance of having to run like, or I gotta do pushups or whatever it may be to create something competitive so that there is a winner and a loser, and you don’t want to be the loser in the drill or in the competition. Even if it’s a shooting competition you have a shooting competition against yourself we’re shooting competition against your team.

Things to help you get better where you just don’t want to lose because you know, there’s consequences to lose. And just to add the one other thing and I think this has been something always, but it seems to be more now is just because of the individual [00:14:00] work. That people put in and the amount of time and energy that people put in the caring about how you do individually more than your team.

You know, I just think because the stakes are so high, it seems to be. You know, it just seems to be more important now how I do individually than how my team does. And maybe that’s me just getting older and thinking back to the glory days, 15 and 16 but it just seems to be a little bit greater emphasis on, on the individual.

Then, then there might’ve been a while back and I understand why, but. You know, as a coach, your job is, it is the team. And obviously you want to see each of your kids succeed individually within helping your team [00:15:00] win.

Mike Klinzing: [00:15:00] So I’m going to ask you the same question. I asked you about the competitiveness.

How do you. It’s still that feeling of team comraderie. How do you get the guys to buy into each other? Are there things that you do specifically from an activity standpoint designed to do that? Is it just something that you create day after day through the interactions between players and staff, players and players?

Just talk a little bit about how you facilitate that team feeling.

Rob Senderoff: [00:15:27] That’s a great thing. And in this era, It’s even harder than when you played. And I say that because your team is so different each year it used to be, and similar to high school and high school is still this way to an extent, but it used to be freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, maybe red shirt, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior three, four, five years.

[00:16:00] Guys were all together. And the seniors were with the juniors for three years, or maybe even forward, depending upon if there’s a red shirt or not. And there was a sort of a hierarchy to some degree, but also there was just that team develop over time. and that’s not the case quite as much now because you have Trancers and then you have.

You know, guys that play for a year or two years and then move on for whatever reason. So because of that, it’s even more challenging and more important. The team building corn caring about your teammate’s success, rooting for your teammate, wanting to see others do well. Even if that means that I may not get to shine quite as much.

To me, [00:17:00] those are those are the challenges of coaching today, more so than ever before for a number of reasons, but as much as any, the fact that your teams are not necessarily together for so many years. So to me, that’s a big part of coaching. Obviously you have to have. You know, a level of being able to order in that they implement an offense and defense and you have to be sound in your knowledge, but as much as being sound in your knowledge, being able to communicate and being able to get guys to sacrifice guys or women to sacrifice and make the commitment to each other.

those are, are really those are the keys to [00:18:00] coaching now, and you gotta work on that every single, I mean, that’s an every day deal. That’s an every day you gotta work on that every day.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:10] You start to come to the realization that that piece of it was becoming. More and more important was that at some point while you were the head coach at Kent, was that something that you started to see in your various stops as an assistant?

When did you start to really start, come to realize that, Hey, it’s not, yeah. The offense defense, our skill level. Obviously all those things have to be in place, but if we don’t have this final piece, we’re not going to be as successful as we could be. When did you start doing that?

Rob Senderoff: [00:18:41] Yeah, that’s always evolving Mike.

I think I’m probably better today than I was last year at that, and probably better last year than I was my first year. you know, we all, I want to show that we know how to coach, right? [00:19:00] Like I know this and I know that. And you know, I, I’m going to sit here and tell you, I probably watch.

I don’t, I don’t want to say I watch more film than anywhere I watch as much film as anybody is my guess, but you know, I, as I’ve gotten more experienced in, in doing this, it’s funny, the less important, I think that is having a good team and believe me, that’s important. Like why. You know, like when you watch the NBA guys or you watch college programs have good college teams, they, they execute incredibly well on both ends of the floor.

But you don’t have to be complicated to execute. You have to be sound and you have to be committed. And how do you get people to be sound and be committed is a great deal of that is [00:20:00] getting them to buy into. To doing those simple things because they’re not going to be on not all of them are highlights that are going to be on ESPN or whatever it is.

So those are all the things you have to work on. And again, I think at every level good leaders and good coaches are able to find a way to get their players to commit to each other. At the highest level possible.

Mike Klinzing: [00:20:33] Do you think that’s done primarily through your daily life interactions and conversations with players just on the practice floor, in the coaches office, when you see him on campus, when you have a player coach meeting, do you think it’s done mostly just through the way that you interact with them and then conversely, the way you short you sort of coach them.

To interact with each [00:21:00] other, or is it something that you put in a specific plan for at the beginning of the year?

Rob Senderoff: [00:21:05] You know, I think it’s a day to day deal. I think that’s an every, every day deal you can put in at the beginning, you could have your first team meeting and preach. Hey, we’re going to be a team and we’re going to, we’re going to commit to each other and we’re going to dah, dah, dah.

But if you’re not, if that’s, as far as you go. You know, they are going to hear it. And then two or three days later, they’re going to forget it. And, and the thing you’re battling and you battle this. And, and I don’t want to say battle, but this is something again, as a coach, you sort of battle this every day at every level.

So I’m with you as a player. For two hours a day or three hours a day, the other 21 hours a day, who’s talking to you. And are they talking to you about the team or are they talking to you about how [00:22:00] you’re doing? And look, I don’t blame a parent or an AAU coach or a high school coach or an uncle or an aunt, if Mike’s on my team and they talk, see you at night, they’re going to ask you, Mike, how did you do today?

How did you shoot the ball. Was coach on you? What did you like? That’s what they’re supposed to ask or like, they’re not supposed to ask much more than that. Obviously some people do, but it’s understandable that that’s what they want to know about. That’s not easy for Mike to say, you know what, I took two shots today, but boy, I said some hard screens like that, right? Like as a coach, you got to reinforce all the things. I mean, every person on your team, they may not all have the exact same [00:23:00] role. Right. Not everybody gets to shoot, but that doesn’t mean that the screener isn’t as important as the shooter and the passer isn’t as important as the screener and the guy who goes to crash and offensive rehab, who doesn’t get it, who maybe tips it so that somebody else gets it.

So, so every day those are things we reinforce. We have a board in our locker room. I credit this to, to the, I went to SUNY Albany. There, there was a coach there he’s a legendary coach. His name is doc sours. You want over 700, games at the division three level. he came up with this term that I’ve stolen.

And it’s called Wego w E G O. So we have a Wego book in our locker room and the concept of the Wego board. And this was when I was in college 26 years ago. [00:24:00] It still holds true today. Everybody has an ego, but these are the things that help we go. W E G O. And you know, those include. diving on the floor for a loose ball, getting a tip for me, tipping out an offensive rebound is just a huge thing for me.

I don’t know why, but it just is. It’s one of those things that I could watch guys tip out and get excited to most people, most people can’t even notice it. That’s one of the things that excites me, the most of the fire. Is when I see them tip the ball out to their DNA. So, I have a note taking a charge.

Obviously we all know that one so we have a number of things that go on our Wego board. And at the end of every year, we give our Wego champion. It’s his name put up in the locker room because all of the things that are on the, we go board [00:25:00] are all the things that you don’t see in a stat sheet.

And we all as coaches preach those things, but how do we coach those things? And that’s one of the many ways that I try to coach those things. It is rude at board. That’s it’s the biggest. Bored in my locker room for everyone to see, and this, we, we had sort of stickers like a coded sticker.

You get certain number of stickers for different things. So after every game everyone can see. How many stickers I got and how many Wego points I got for that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:42] And I think what that does and what I, whenever I hear something like that, it always reminds me of the fact that I think sometimes it’s easy to look at something like that and say, God, how does that motivate a kid?

Like how does stickers on a board cause somebody to want to do some of those selfless [00:26:00] things that you need your basketball team to do. And, and yet, You hearkened back to when you think about when you were a kid and just how important something little like that was. And I have two exams most of my life when I was in elementary school, like fourth, fifth grade, I had a teacher who was teaching geography and you would have to fill out the names of, I think the first one you had to fill out these States and capitals United States, and then you can move on to like the countries in North America. And then you could do the countries of Europe and the capitals and the countries of Africa and the Capitol. And each time you knocked off one of these maps, he used to be in the Navy.

He had these Navy bumper stickers and. So the first one was easy and everybody had this whenever blue and white, maybe per sticker. But then by the time you got to the very end and you were here having to like, identify the provinces of France or whatever it was, it was this ultra exclusive, which was just another bumper sticker that he [00:27:00] had a drawer from kudos where, but everybody wanted that thing, you know?

And it was just, you looked at it from the outside. You’re like, how is that motivating? But yet. Something little that there’s that public recognition of. I have that I’m the leader on the, we go board that, yeah, it matters to players. And we sometimes, I think, forget that. And then I also had, when I was playing in high school, we had a JV coach who I never got the opportunity to play for, but he used to give an orange juice out for any player who would get a charge.

And literally it was, I mean, I remember players. Killing themselves to try to take charges so that after the game or the next day in school, this coach would hand them an orange juice. And you just think you look at that from the outside hearing. And how is that motivating? And yet. It really is. I’m sure that clearly, since you discovered this 26 years ago, and you’re still using it, it clearly works.

Rob Senderoff: [00:27:54] It’s amazing that you say that, but at the [00:28:00] end of the day where we’re all at some level we all want recognition and positive reinforcement, and we want to know that what we’re doing is being that may. And so if you have a way to do that that’s a, that’s a, that’s always a motivating thing.

So, it’s something we always do. We also in our locker room we have a, A defender of the day, a blockout guy of the day. And we have, we call it assist opportunity leader because not every time that you you try to get an assist, does the person make the shot? So we call it a cyst opportunities.

How many, how many times did you have the opportunity to get an assist? so we have that. So after each [00:29:00] practice, the next day at practice, there’s a couple of things we chart there’s a number of things we chart, but, but those things, two of them are objective. You know, the screener of the day is something I, I watch.

The defender of the day, I have somebody and make a determination of who that person is and the person with the most assist opportunities, again, trying to create. creating that, not that every good team, not that that every basket needs to be assisted, but we do want to recognize trying to make plays for your teammates.

So we have those three each day, that way it comes off of a statute or, or our own version of a statute that we charge. And then we also chart we chart blow buys, which is how many times you get blown by on a straight draw, straight line [00:30:00] drive. How many times did that happen in a game or in a practice?

in the post we have an area where we don’t want the ball caught in which we call the red zone. How many red zone catches did you give up? Cause on the perimeter you give up blow bys in the post you give up red zone patches.  we have a block-out responsibility cause some guys are supposed to block out.

Some guys have supposed to get back. Some guys they’re supposed to crash. Some guys are, are supposed to get and get back. So basically each guy under saying and saying, this is what I’m supposed to do. you know, what percent of the did you do that? And then the last thing we do do each day, and it goes back to your your, one of your initial questions, we keep everyone’s record.

In live drills for the same purpose. Like if you go two and six in a day, and then the next [00:31:00] day, when you’re up in the locker room, you see it and everybody sees it. You don’t want to be the guy that’s two and six that everybody’s saying, Hey, you got your, your right. So, so we, those things up there for team peer pressure, a lot of times is greater.

You know, when a coach is telling you something, sometimes that gets tuned out. But if your teammates are saying it to you or you’re seeing it yourself that sometimes going to have a greater impact and just to get back to, I had one guy one time tell me that look, I’m just not a Wego guy.

And you know, that’s what I’m judging you by though. So like, If you’re not a week ago, guy, it’s going to be tough for you to play because those are the things that are important to me. So if you are able to emphasize those [00:32:00] things for the most part, the things you emphasize or the things your teams generally try to do well, I’m not saying they’re always going to be great at it, but those are the things you try to do.

Well, you can’t emphasize everything. You know, everybody knows that. So. You know, you try to pick the things that are important to you and you try to make that part of your program. And that’s what we try to do here.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:29] Yeah. I think we’ve seen and a big trend from coaches we’ve talked to at all levels that charting wins and losses.

I don’t remember. Ever having done that even like I’ve been done now, coaching, I think my last year that I coached in high school was maybe 2008, nine somewhere in there. And I don’t really remember anybody charting wins and losses at that point. And certainly we weren’t doing it when I was playing. And so, now you talked to coaches at all levels.

You hear a lot more people doing that. And I think that goes back to our original conversation about. How much does winning and losing matters the kids. So you got to help them to understand and help them recognize that there’s value in winning. And that losing has to be again to use the word painful is probably the wrong word, but.

There just has to be some type of consequences associated with winning and losing. And I you’re starting to see more and more coaches that are doing that. And as you said, then that puts pressure on them because they see it there it’s embarrassing to be one and eight or whatever it might be to see that on the board, they don’t want, they don’t want to see that.

The next thing you certainly don’t want to see it two days in a row. Let’s put it that way.

Rob Senderoff: [00:33:36] And quite honestly, sometimes it’s better coming from the players. Then coming from you because I to me all good teams. You know, our player run teams. If the coach is running the team and deciding everything in terms of [00:34:00] what’s important like that the players have to make that important.

That’s got to matter to them. So to me, There there’s coach led teams and player led teams. And your best teams are your player led teams. And those teams, usually the players that are leading you, you want them to echo what you would like the way for things to be led. So you need player led teams can go a different direction too, but it would had good leadership. And the leadership is coming from how you’ve created that, that leadership in terms of your coaching of those leaders. And then they’re putting the pressure on the players. You know it coming from a player, Hey [00:35:00] man, you got blown by three times and today is a lot more Pat.

Don’t let that stuff happen. Again is a lot more powerful than the coach saying that to the player and the player feeling like the coach is picking on me or. Trying to point out my deficiency. It’s a lot more powerful. And then when the player if player a tells player B, don’t get blown by, it also leads to a level of accountability for player, right?

Because if I’m going to tell him, other guys don’t do this, or you can’t do that, or you need to do that. And I dang well better be doing that myself. Or else I’m going to get called out. So that’s the culture of a good team and it’ll be a good program. And you know, those, those are the type of things that you try to develop.

As a coach and to me, yeah, it’s more challenging because of the turnover [00:36:00] because of a lot of factors, but because of the turnover in particular of your roster, that’s why you gotta have a couple things each year. You know, these are the things we’re going to be good at. These are the things we’re going to emphasize.

These are the things that if you don’t do, you’re not playing, these are the things, if you do, do you know, and you may not shoot the ball that well, but he’s saying we’re, we’re gonna find a way wait for you to play. And then having everybody be a champion of their role, whatever their role is those, those are all things that we coach, and it’s not easy to get buy in all the time.

And that’s where having great leadership on your team really, really, really helps you.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:48] All right. So two questions, one. How do you develop and help kids to understand what their role is? So if you need a kid to just be a rebound or defender, how do you get that across to them? And then the second [00:37:00] part of the question kind of goes to the bigger theme of what you were talking about with the fact that now at the division one level, you guys are together pretty much 11 months of the year with off season workouts and all that kind of thing.

I would have to think that. If it was the head coach chirping in the player’s ears for 11 months out of the year, that eventually that they’re going to get sick of hearing your voice as the head coach. So I would think that that developing, developing leaders amongst the players has got to be even more important than it was back 15 or 20 years ago when you didn’t have the same access to players in the off season, just talk a little bit about those two things.

Rob Senderoff: [00:37:40] Yeah, that’s a great point because you know, sometimes less is more right. And, and that, those are things that are easy to figure out the side and especially young coach and yeah, you want to do so [00:38:00] much because you want to do so much because you want to be good and, and, and you feel like your team needs it and you want to do so.

It would be safe. But guys, they, they, they eventually sometimes the more you say the less they hear. Right. And look that that’s got on forever. That’s no, that’s not a new phenomenon kids turn it tuned out their coaches. So how do you get across what you’re trying to get across? Yeah.

No more having a 30 or 40 minute lecture, nobody wants to hear that. Right. and to how do you things fresh and have them have a voice, have your players take ownership and that’s all that’s all part of the season. That’s all part of the developing your program. And.

You know, you want to have [00:39:00] your leaders have a voice. You want to have great assistants. You know, for me, especially during the summer, I’m incredibly hands off. Because I know that I need them to listen to me in January and February and maybe I’m too aware of it, but I only got so many bullets in the chamber.

I don’t want to want to waste them all in July, August, and September the games aren’t until November. So. I tried to limit how much outside of encouragement and some one-on-one stuff that I’m trying to talk with my guys about my seniors. I do a leadership workshop with them. where we read in a different articles and do different things with my seniors every year, because I want them to be the voice and I want to be able to talk to them about it.

I  have a great book that [00:40:00] one of the former players here, Andrew Mitchell wrote a book and he, in one of the chapters in the book he wrote, just talking about. Being a mentor and you know, and how he had mentors in his life that helped him. So we read that chapter with my son and I say, look, this is Andrew Mitchell.

He’s in the hall of fame. I’ve got his Jersey retired. You know, he wrote about being a mentor. You’re a senior. Remember when you were a freshmen, even though two of my three seniors this year, they weren’t freshmen year. They were freshmen. But regardless you were a freshmen somewhere, like, remember when you were a freshman and how you looked up to the seniors or sorta wanted to see how they act, like take somebody under your wing.

Show someone, the ropes, like be secure enough about yourself to want to help somebody else. So those are the things that I try [00:41:00] to coach, and then once we start getting into the season and getting into practice and getting into competitive stuff then I’m much more hands on. And even then I do my best there’s times that I let my assistant show film.

Because I feel like if I’m the one doing it, they’re not going to want to hear it. So times I let them do it. And then there’s you’re, you’re the, you’re the head coach, right. You know, I’m the head coach, right? Like they gotta hear me. They may not like it. They may not want to hear it, but they need to hear it.

Or in my opinion, they do. And. You know, those, those are all parts of the season that you work for.

Mike Klinzing: [00:41:41] How do you, how do you develop your staff and figure out what their roles are going to be, and then help them. If they have aspirations of eventually becoming a head coach of a college program, how do you help to develop them?

And what do you think your responsibilities are as the head coach of a program [00:42:00] to help your assistance develop?

Rob Senderoff: [00:42:02] Yeah, that’s a great question too Mike. So At Kent, I’ve had I got about how many assistants I’ve had, but I know that we’ve had nine former players here and that I’ve then hire at some point to be on the staff here.

And that’s something I’m really proud of because I want you guys to know when I recruit them that, I’m gonna try my best to help them for the rest of their lives. So. I’ve helped. I like to think I felt guys it started in their career, after they finished playing for me. As far as the response to utilities, I’ve changed that up at different times as well, based upon some of the strengths of the staff, some of the strengths, Of different guys [00:43:00] within  the staff.

Right now the way we do it, the way we break things down. And I don’t want to say it’s the best way we’ve done it, but it’s the best way for us right now is we have three assistant coaches. Okay. We have a, an operation person, obviously, every. Staff is different certainly high school has a lot of different deals.

And then then colleges and different divisions have different views, but the way we organize the staff currently, I have one assistant that works with our guards. Okay. And guards like point guards, combo guards, really ball handlers. I have one assistant who works with the wings the non point guards or not aspiring point guards.

And then I have one guy who worked for the front court guy. So that’s how we break up the workouts. And [00:44:00] with those workouts comes film. So I have one guy who shows film to the front court guys, that’s who he’s showing film, dude. So those three or four guys or five guys, whatever it is almost daily.

We’ll watch some film from practice the day before, maybe they’re watching NBA quips of great offensive rebounders or great post sub guys are great screeners and they’re showing them film on all of that stuff. One guy with the guards at one. Yeah. And then for our scouting purposes, we have one coach who does all of the other team’s stuff.

So he’s the, I would call him the defensive coordinator. He is not worried about personnel. Now. He is worried about what the other team does offensively and how are we going to come back then? And then each of them, the other two assistants, they split the Scouts. One guy [00:45:00] saves one game. The other guy takes the other game and they alternated and they’re doing the other team personnel.

So they’re going to know. The point guard he likes to use ball screens, the front court guys and shooter. He doesn’t dribble it very well or, or whatever it may be. And sorta he does the match ups during the games. he’s in charge of that who’s ever scouted is, he watches the other team their players and knows all that for the most part, our offense, what we’re going to run for the most part.

I handled that. and obviously I picked suggestions and, even with the defense I have the defensive coordinator, but I would sit here and tell you that if he said, Hey, I think we should guard it this way. I’d tell you eight out of 10 times, I wouldn’t say great. That’s how we’re going to guard it.

But there’s probably two out of 10 times [00:46:00] where I feel like this is what we need to do. And. You know, the loss is going to go on my record. So I’m going to decide, this is what we’re going to do to edit 10 times. But for the most part, what the defensive coordinator feels is how we should guard actions.

And what we should do is how we guard them. the personnel guy, he does 90% of the match-ups occasionally again, I may not like a match up or I may want to mismatch for prospects. So we may do that, but they are in charge of that. And the offensive stuff, what we’re going to run specifically, quick hitters, they hoard edge ball screens, they switch ball screens.

Those type of things, are mostly things that I would decide.

Mike Klinzing: [00:46:47] How much do you use analytics at this point? And is there anything, is there anything specific that you use that you think is especially valuable as a metric for the [00:47:00] success of your team?

Rob Senderoff: [00:47:01] Or does it vary? Well, you look at there is, and I’m not, I use analytics a lot.

I know that we don’t play 82 games the way they do in the NBA. Right. So those guys the analytics, the NBA and things like shooting threes versus pull-ups, there’s some of those things that I think we incorporate, although I’m not quite as. That’s the college level. Those things aren’t quite as important.

I think the game is different in the NBA than in college for a variety of reasons. One of them being the zone and the shot clock a little bit different, but we certainly use analytics. We use them more for team [00:48:00] purposes than we do. Individual purposes, meaning I don’t know how many times we’re going to break down.

Well, this guy goes right 70% of the time when he goes right. And it’s a pull up and 20% when he goes left, it’s a pull up. That’s not quite right. As in depth, we don’t get quite that in depth, the way they do in the NBA. What we do I care more about. And I think it’s easier for our players to process.

Is the team stuff. Okay. You know, I’ll use Akron, for example, they shoot 42% of their shots or threes or whatever that number movie like they’re ninth in the country, percentage of shots moving through. So we gotta really press up on guys and make them get the ball or. Whatever they get fat they go to the free per month, [00:49:00] more than any team in the nation.

So, so you gotta make sure you’re showing your hands, all of those little things that you’re, you emphasize, but if a team is really, really good at something or converts really, really, really bad at something you want to emphasize that to your team and, and having the statistics, it really helped reinforce.

You know what your eye tells you and what you’re trying to coach. Cause if you tell somebody they’re the number one team in the league and offense rebounds, and they’re ninth in the country in offensive rebound rate let’s info is it you’re not blocking out today. We got no chance. So then when you do your block-out drills, you can emphasize that being the reason why we’re doing them today and how important it is for this game in order for us to success.

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:53] So compared to like what you’re looking at as a coach in terms of analytics, and then what you share with the players and sort of the same [00:50:00] thing goes, I guess, along with film, how much of what you’re looking at from an analytics and film standpoint, are you then turning around and sharing with the players that you can put on maybe a rough percentage on what you’re sharing with your team, as opposed to what you and your staff is looking at?

Rob Senderoff: [00:50:16] Yeah. So I’m going to, we play we play a game. I’m going to watch, let’s just use a league game. You know, we play a league game. I’m probably gonna, you don’t watch their last four games prior to our game. Okay. My assistant may watch their last five or six games. Prior to the art game I’m going to watch, let’s say it’s the first time we played somebody this year.

First time we played Bowling Green is your I’m going to watch both of our games against them last year, in addition to the three, four or five games prior to our games. So I’m going to watch a number of games. My assistants are probably gonna watch a little bit more than I am. [00:51:00] art team or players.

We’re going to break that down and we’re going to have usually a 10 minute clip at it, of their offense slash defense, usually about a six minute clip that it, of their personnel. So over the course of two days, the way we usually deal with is, after practice two days prior to the game. So we play on on Saturday, Thursday after practice, we will present a scouting report on paper and we will watch a 10 minute quick edit of the other team stuff.

So Thursday, prior to a game on Saturday, we’re going to do some. You know, four on four of the other teams stuff, we’re going to do some five on five of things that I feel like we need to really work on for that game offensively or [00:52:00] defensively. Okay. And then that after that practice, we’re going to watch film and then you hope that the players now see, okay, so this is why we did screen the screen are four on four because.

They run screen the screener is one of their favorite actions or, or whatever it may be. Okay. This is why against the scout team. We they, they tracked every ball screen because we’re going to see that. So we do that 10 minute edit about a 15 minute presentation of the scouting report.

That’s after practice two days before then. the day before after practice, I’m sorry. Before practice, we will watch a personnel in six minute personnel. And I think I said this earlier, the guy who goes to the team at it is different. Yeah. From the guy who does the personnel. So the guy who does the personnel edit is in charge of their personnel [00:53:00] for that game.

So he does about a six minute edit, which basically. You know, it’s going to show, okay. The point guard, look at how we use his balls Springs. You know, he loves to reject them and they’ll show too to ball screen rejects or, Hey, this guy is not great handling pressure. You know, look at what happens when a team gets up in him.

So he’ll break that down six minutes and then the game of the last thing guys do after we shoot. Is, they will watch that personnel edit one more time. So the personnel at it gets watched twice. I think players, they care about who their matchup is and what they do. So they want to see that stuff. the team stuff, the theme, defensive stuff those are things we work on more.

Then the personnel stuff, but they want to watch the personnel stuff more.

Mike Klinzing: [00:53:55] Yeah. You can understand that as a player, wanting to go into the game with an idea of, Hey, [00:54:00] what does this guy like to do and be able to see that on film. And it’s just, again, I’m sure you can attest to back when you first started your coaching career, how much easier it is to be able to.

Watch film yourself, but also to be able to be able to provide film players is just, I don’t think anybody who’s not, if you’re not in the coaching profession today, but you were in it 20 years ago. I don’t think you can really comprehend how much better the situation is now than it was. It’s unbelievable.

That’s where again, there’s some things that. People talk about technology and they’re certainly they’re there some negatives of technology just as, but there’s something, yeah. There are some advantages to technology too. When I was a graduate assistant, I used to have to splice the film from a VCR to VCR it was, it was tedious and it was not.

Easy to [00:55:00] do or easy to watch, even getting film, you just have to drive three or four hours. Picked up a film but another team or whatever, it may be just a film exchange now to be able to get it all digitally all, all in your computer practice ends. By the time I sit down to my, in my office, I have the entire practice on a, my computer ready for me to clip up within five minutes.

I mean, it’s both those things are so much for your guys and, so much further advanced for your players than they were years ago.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:38] No question. All right. Another digital thing that is a more recent phenomenon is social media. So how do you help your players? To navigate what’s going on, on social media in terms of what they’re doing saying, is there, how do you handle that with your players?

Rob Senderoff: [00:55:57] Yeah. You know, I have [00:56:00] a pretty simple rule, it’s a basic rule, which covers a lot of things. Don’t do anything that’s going to embarrass yourself, embarrass your family name, and embarrassed our program or embarrass our university. And that obviously includes social media.

So right now I am incredibly supportive and really want our players to speak out about some of the things that are going on in this world that we, we need to really work as a country to, to get better. At an and to improve upon. I’m not there to be somebody, would I ever want my players to stifle their voice, especially now more than ever at the same time.

I don’t want guys, tweeting. [00:57:00] you know, lyrics to a song I’m that out of 80 words, 60 of them are profanity, right? So you have to understand that whatever you put out there that, that that’s well to judgment from others. And we all care about how we’re perceived and all of those things can impact us individually.

And you see that all the time. So with whether it’s if people lose their jobs for things they tweet and put out on social media, so you have to be very, very conscious of it. It’s certainly something we discussed. The one thing I don’t I, I don’t allow is if you have an issue after a game whether it’s with me, whether it’s with your teammate, whether it’s with whatever it may be.

[00:58:00] Don’t put that on social. that’s for us to handle come to me with it, come to your teammate with it, but don’t sub tweet. That’s what it’s called. I think don’t sub tweet your teammate. You know about this, that or the other. So that’s something we’ll discuss as the year gets, gets closer.

You know, again, part of being a man and part of learning how to be a man is you have an issue, confront the issue. Don’t, don’t confront them on social media, confront your teammate, confront your coach, have a conversation, and then let’s get better from it. So, and are, those are lessons that you learn and sometimes you show examples of guys that have lost Scholarships, have lost endorsements or lost their jobs because of things they put out there. And you hope that people recognize Hey, there are certain ways to go about things in certain ways. I can’t go that way.

Mike Klinzing: [00:58:57] Do you look at recruit social [00:59:00] media as part of your process when you’re recruiting?

Rob Senderoff: [00:59:02] You know, I know everybody would like to say. You know, Hey, look at everything you do on social media, because coaches are looking at it all the time. I’m not going to sit here and tell you, I look at it all the time, but I, I do follow the guys that I recruit. I’ve never I don’t really see, I think for the most part, and again, I may be wrong cause you, you may know this better than I do, but for the most part.

I don’t think, I think people sort of know, Hey, especially if I’m a recruited athlete, like I gotta be careful to some level of what I’m putting out there. I think guys, and sort of know that if they don’t, there’s not many, let’s put it this way. There’s not many people that I haven’t recruited. Because I’m so familiar, there’s been a time or so that I’ve said to myself, dang man, this dude is on social media, but you know what?

There was [01:00:00] one time I said that and we ended up not recruiting. I don’t want to say not recruiting. We didn’t get the kid. And he turned out to be a heck of a player. So I said to myself, damn man, I was all critical of them. Maybe I was just critical of him because he didn’t come here and he went someplace else.

There’s people that don’t do any social media that don’t get in the gym. Right. There’s guys that do all sorts of social media and they’re in the gym all the time, too. So I don’t know that you could put a blanket judgment, but for the most part, I think guys, at this stage, I’d like to think most of the guys that I’m recruiting, they’re not putting ridiculous stuff on their social media.

Jason Sunkle:  Hey coach. I got to ask you, I I’ve been, I was doing some research on you and I see some wonderful Halloween costumes that are on social media from you. Yeah. So, so what’s your favorite Halloween costume that you’ve worn for your, your highlight your, [01:01:00] is it hoops for Halloween or what’s, what’s the, what’s the events that you’re doing.

Rob Senderoff: They’re called Halloween. At Kent state where we had like our Dunk contest and all that stuff, but it got done a couple of different things. Well, one year I dressed up as a blind referee. That’s sad. It went over really well with that’s the one that I saw coach. I liked it a lot. I liked it. I was once Jackie moon too.

That was the other one I saw Jackie moving from every once in a while. I try to show that I’m a real person that not a. Not, not just the angry coach at all times. So yeah, I think my blind graph that that was an ode to all of the officials out there that, That every day you can stand.

Mike Klinzing:

That is funny, Rob. Alright, let’s talk recruiting, thinking about the social media piece of it, but let’s go beyond that and just talk about [01:02:00] when you start compiling your list of prospects, guys, that you’re going to look at, just kind of go from beginning to end how you first identified a player, and then the process that you go through to kind of vet whether or not.

Maybe be somebody that you want to bring into your program and then how do you go about sealing it?

Rob Senderoff: [01:02:17] Yeah. Okay. So you start by, by obviously you want to see, so do you see him play first, then a little highlight film. Do you see him play perks with their high school? You see him play first in AAU.

you know, there’s all different ways that, that you see a person play, but. I’m going to tell you that if you’re going to put together a highlight, fill three to five five minutes, you gotta have something that jumps off the page right away, man. Good. You know? No, that’s what this was.

There’s never been a, I like film where somebody misses a shot. There’s never been a highlight film where Guys aren’t [01:03:00] making a play. So you want to jump off the, put quick, your best two, three, four highlights at the beginning. And then if it’s a three, four minute clip, great. I, I don’t need to see you shoot a free throw like show me your, your, whether it’s range, how quickly you can get a shot.

Oh, the screen your athleticism, if there’s a clip or two or three of your athleticism, so show that in your clips. so I see you play the, the first thing we’re going to do is, is make contact. Whether it’s with the high school coach, AAU coach or kid, we’re going to call one and eventually we’re going to call all of them.

you know, I want to have a conversation and sort of see introduce myself, introduce our program see if you’re receptive. Cause not everybody’s ready. Is that the two, two, [01:04:00] then we’re going to call and find out about the grades, right? Where are you at academically? what, what do you have to do to make sure your grades are in order to come to college so that that’s going to be done rather quickly it may not be the first call, but that’s going to be done within the first two or three weeks, for sure, because we don’t want to waste your time and we don’t want to waste our time. So we want to know where you stand on that end of things. And then Then really the digging into it becomes like, okay, I’ve talked with your high school coach who, let me talk to your AAU coach.

Let me see what he thinks about you, what the high school coach says about you. The same as what the Hey you code says about you. So, okay. What are other people saying about you? You went to this tournament, you played against this guy. What did that [01:05:00] coach think of you? You know, did they think you were tough to guard.

Or did they not been through with tough the door? they’re scouting service people that I, I count on their their opinion to hear what they say, hear what their thoughts are. and then it’s family in terms of the recruiting process, family coaches, people that are important to the kid, And trying to convince them that this will be a great place for them to continue their, their career.

But there’s some there are some things that we try to sniff out in terms of talking to coaches,  things you’re really trying to learn. It is competitiveness. Are they competitive? And do they really like basketball? And that’s not easy because sometimes you really like basketball and then you get to college and there’s so many other things out there.

Thank you start to like some other stuff just as much, but if you don’t really, really like basketball and you’re [01:06:00] just good because you’re good. It becomes hard, man. It really does. It becomes hard. So the other thing I do often, like we try to get measurables, like when guys come on visits, you know what I would do want to know what, what your, your wingspan is.

Like. I want to know that, I want to know how old you are. You know, we, we got a commitment. I don’t think I can talk about the kid, but we got a commitment from a 16 year old from court kid who not everybody recruited them, but we liked them. And knew he was young for his great, you got 18 year old, senior, and this kid’s a 16 year old senior.

So when I know you’re a six, I know that you’re going to eventually be 18. So you’re, we’ve got room to grow. Right. So, okay. Where are they physically? Cause you know, some guys are, are physically [01:07:00] mature, young. Some guys physically mature late, you can get a feel for those things. But there’s some there’s level, it’s a play division one basketball, there is a level of athleticism that you need to have.

Like, I’m not saying you gotta be able to necessarily dunk or put armpits in there, but you gotta be, you gotta have a level of physical and slash athleticism. There, there are some really, really good high school basketball players that they’re just not big, strong athletic enough to be division one players, even though they’re really, really good. And, and conversely, there’s some really, really good athletes that aren’t skilled enough, don’t work hard enough. Don’t have enough basketball game to be division one players as well.

Mike Klinzing: [01:07:56] How much do you balance when you’re evaluating a player and maybe this [01:08:00] question is off base, but how much do you take into account a player’s performance with their high school team versus a player’s performance with their AAU team?

Or does it not matter because you’re kind of looking for things outside of the context of. The game, if that makes sense. Do you value one over the other?

Rob Senderoff: [01:08:18] No, both. Because to me, this is where I think both are really, really important. Okay. For the most part. And again, unless you’re at a super team for the most part, if you’re, if you’re, if you’re, I live in stone, if you’re in Stella height, Ohio, if you’re not the best player on your high school team, You’re probably not good enough for me.

Right. And you could very easily be your best player. You know, they stole could go 10 years and their best, this player could not be good enough. Can’t right. But, but for the most part, you’d better be your best. So when you’re your best player, you’re seeing [01:09:00] double teams. You’re seeing triple team you’re counted on to score.

You know, 18, 20, whatever points, a game you’re counted on to leave. You’re counted on to do all of those things. So that’s good. That’s good for a player to learn how to do that. I do. I carry a team to win. And how do I score when I’m getting the bubbles or how do I make players better when I’m getting double and how do I find different ways to impact the game?

So that’s good, but it’s also good to watch that same kid play with four other division, one players to see how does he carve out a role and be impactful when you only can take four shots in the game? There’s for his high school team, he’s saving 15, 16 jobs in a game. So if you miss this two or three, In a row, he’s still got a shooter.

[01:10:00] Cause otherwise he got noted those things to me. I think they compliment each other well. And I think it’s good to see guys in both settings when you can. Because I think it’s important to be able to, can you impact the game if you’re not scoring? That was part of what we talked about earlier. Like how do you do that?

What are the ways I can do? How can I be efficient? You know, so there’s ended then there’s the other time, how can I carry your team? How can I, how can I do those things? So I want to see them both when I can. And there’s times that I want to recruit a guy that, you know what, he may be a high bond guy, or he may need to score to be good, but I need a guy to score.

Like that’s not easy either. Somebody always says, well, he takes all the shots or shooting. you gotta be willing to take the shots, not everyone’s willing to do that. You gotta be willing to, like, I had a kid Jalin [01:11:00] Walker, he took some crazy shots now, but he also led the league in scoring.

And his senior year, he had six game winners in the last 30 seconds of the game, six in a year. If he didn’t shoot some bad ones, or if I yanked them for shooting some bad ones or bark down early, you might not have made those lanes. So you gotta be able to do both or you don’t have to be able to do both.

Let me take that back. You don’t have to be able to do both, but it’s important for me to see you when I can. In both settings to see how you handle both sentences because they are different. And I do, I think they’re both equally valuable. In terms of trying to evaluate for how good you can be as a college player, in my opinion.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:52] Yeah. That makes total sense. I think being able to see a player in a different role because clearly not every kid who’s the best player on their high school [01:12:00] team is coming in to be the best player on their college team. And oftentimes far from it. So you’ve gotta be able to see, can this kid fit into a system?

Can they play a role can, as you said, kind of impact the game in ways other than just putting the ball in the basket. So I completely understand that one final recruiting question. Have you ever had a kid that you were recruiting, that you were pretty high on? You brought them in for a visit. You hung out with your guys and your players came to you and said, coach, this guy’s just not a fit.

Has that ever happened?

Rob Senderoff: [01:12:29] It’s happened. It has happened. I’ve had a couple times where my team has not liked a kid, that whenever I bring you on a visit, not every time, but most of the time. It’s because I, me and pretty much sold on yet. Right? Like I think you can play on not wasting all those resources for the most part, just to see.

So, [01:13:00] you know, but whether it was in how they interacted with my team or how they played. when they were with my team, I don’t watch them when they play. I, I’m not allowed to, but the players have come to me and I can think of a couple of things, instances that that has happened. And I also can think of a couple of instances where I was I was somewhat lukewarm.

I liked them. I wanted to bring him in to see. How much I liked them. And during the visit, how they acted and how they were with my team, sold me more on a player. So it’s happened both ways, but without question. You know, I don’t want to sit here and tell you that I’m going to, if I’ve watched a kid play 30 times and then they have a [01:14:00] bad open gym and my players are like, Oh, you can’t play.

I’m not going to always listen to them on that one. Hey, they tell me that personality some, some things may be off the court or. He wanted to do this or that, or, or, or the kid doesn’t want to interact at all with my guys that there’ve been some red flags that certainly have come up through visits that have led me to sort of walk away and let this one go someplace else type deal.

Mike Klinzing: [01:14:35] All right. I want to ask you sort of an overarching question about. The Kent State program and just looking at the sustained success over the last 25 years and going through a bunch of head coaches. And now you’ve had a long tenure there and, and sustained success there. What do you think, if you could boil it down to a [01:15:00] 32nd answer or one minute answer?

What makes Kent State Basketball, such a special program? And what’s allowed you guys to continue to have the success that you’ve had year in and year out?

Rob Senderoff: [01:15:09] Well, listen, man, it is hard. I’m not going to lie to you. It is hard. It’s hard to sustain success. It’s hard to win. you know, the least he has continued to get better and better and more and more programs have invested in the, in there or more and more schools have invested in their programs.

So it’s hard, but. What we’ve done is we’ve created. I don’t want to say it’s a culture, but it’s a, it’s an expectation of winning. And when you have an expectation of winning and that’s what kids are recruited to, they’re not recruited to to hope. We’re not turning something around or to trying to win. Like, [01:16:00] it’s an expectation that when you come here, you win. And when you don’t, it’s disappointing it’s really what kids have come accustomed to when they come here. Kent does not have, we have nice facilities. But we don’t have the best facilities in the league.

We have a good budget. We don’t have the best budget. We give out really good gear to our players. We may not have the best year in the league. I don’t know all of those things. I know some of them, I don’t know all of them. I do think we have the best practice facility, but that just was opened up this past year.

But there’s a lot of things that may be, we don’t have, but when guys come here, they’re coming here knowing that we win. And that that’s part of the deal. So when you come here, we’re trying to win. And we get them from everywhere and we got guys that, that I think have a chip on their shoulder.

And then there’s [01:17:00] a type of kid that I recruit in terms of, I want them to be hungry and I want them to feel like they have something to prove. but, but I don’t care where you’re from. I don’t care, a battle, a lot of those other things, I do care that you want to win. And that’s something that, that we recruit too.

We recruit in our recruiting. That is a huge, I don’t always talk about the individual, what we’re going to do. We’re going to win. That’s what we’re going to tell you. We’re going to win. So. Those are things we really, really emphasize a lot in that process so that when you get here what if, cause we, we, we don’t charter flight and some teams are, we do so their thing.

So when you’re not, if you’re going to sit here and tell me, well, coach, I don’t do this and those guys, well, I didn’t tell you, we were doing that. Oh, you were going to wait. That’s what I told you. So that’s what we’re doing. Those are the things we really had recruited too. And [01:18:00] I think that’s allowed us.

So try to find the right guy and not that it always worked out, but that that’s what we try to do.

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:07] Yeah. And that makes total sense when you set the expectation. And when guys come in with that mindset and you’re recruiting guys who. I’ve had that mindset through their career up until the point that they enter college basketball.

I think you’re much more likely to have that happen and to a certain degree, not that it’s self-sustaining, as you said, it’s hard, it’s hard work. It’s not something that just, you roll the balls out and it happens. But once you’ve established that it can happen and then it does happen. It’s I got to believe at least easier to instill and get that belief and buy in that we talked about earlier from your players that, Hey, if we do the things that this program has always done or we’re going to be able to be successful. And so just to be able to have that belief, I’m sure is very, very powerful. So we’re coming up, Rob close to an hour and a half. So I want to be respectful of your time. I want to ask you one final question, a little two-parter and that is first one.

When you get up in the morning, what’s your biggest [01:19:00] joy as the head coach at Kent state. And then number two, as you look forward, once we get beyond this pandemic, cause I think probably. You’re going to, you could answer my question easily by just saying that once we get past that, what’s your biggest challenge.

As you look forward into the future to try to stay in the success that you’ve already had.

Rob Senderoff: [01:19:20] My biggest joy, and I don’t know that I’d say every day that I think this, but. My biggest joy is that okay. The coach here for nine years, 35 of 36 seniors have graduated. I think it’s 22 or 23 of them have had a chance to play after college.

And I mentioned this earlier nine former players have started coaching year. For me, although one of them nine, nine or eight coaching, one of them, I helped get a GA spot someplace else because, he, he, we, we didn’t have a spot for them here, but I [01:20:00] helped them get a job. So, so nine former players I’ve helped get a job in coaching.

So when I look at that again, I don’t want to boring you, but I feel like I’m trying to have an impact. On these dudes on the guys that I’m recruiting. So when I see that, that brings me joy and, and that brings me a sense of pride and satisfaction, and something that, I’m probably more proud of than any wins it is that part of it.

Okay. And then in terms of challenge or what I’m looking forward to. You know, obviously I’m, I hope we play this year. I mean, let’s, let’s start there, but the challenges is going to be this summer. You know, I didn’t get eight weeks with my team. Some schools in our league, did they, they were able to bring their players on campus for the whole summer or part of the summer.

We did not for, for whatever [01:21:00] reason we didn’t have. All of our players here. So this week was our first week of workouts with our guys. And we’re still far from the point of playing five on five or, or being allowed to do that here on campus. So we’re just starting out in one-on-one and then we’re going to get into three man groups.

And then maybe we’re, I have to do one on one, two on two and knock on wood. We’re able to get to that point. You know, and, and, and we don’t have breakouts here on campus or within my team. So the biggest challenge is going to be, I’m normally eight weeks ahead of where I am in terms of team building, in terms of where we are offensively defensively, my knowledge of my players.

I have seven new players on this year seeing plus to walk on. So really it’s nine at a 15 guys. You know, seven scholarship guys. So the biggest [01:22:00] challenge is going to be, and it’s actually going to be fun, is putting these guys together to create the team that we want to create here. And I do think we have the talent to do it.

I do think we have the leadership to do it. So now the challenge is in it’s in the process of doing it and. That’s going to be fun. It’s you know, I’m not going to sit here and tell you everything. Hey, it’s pretty fun. During the summer. I’m like, I don’t even know. I don’t even know what this dude, like, let alone it, what he can do on the court.

How am I going to decide what we’re going to? If somebody asks me, what are you gonna do? Offenses. We’re going to try to score more points than the other. Yeah. Because I haven’t seen it, but we’re going to play a certain way. Cause that’s how we play. But you know, the details of that, of how we’re going to play.

It’s going to be fun getting that together, but it’s also going to be a challenge and I’m looking forward to that. And really hoping that that, that we can [01:23:00] get to that point. Alright.

Mike Klinzing: [01:23:01] it’s really, I think a great answer. And I think probably a lot of coaches would echo that sentiment of just trying to figure this thing out and continue to work and help their players get better and improve.

And I think speaking about helping your players later in life, that’s kind of been a theme that has run through the podcast in terms of. When you think about what coaching is, it’s certainly the X’s and O’s that we talked about and certainly the team building within the context of you’re given season, or you’re given for your career as a college player, but it’s really about impacting.

Your guys long beyond the time when they’re right in front of you and you really see the, what you’ve done pay off five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road. When your guys are successful as coaches or successful as business people, or have successful families and marriages and all those kinds of things. And that’s really, that’s really what it’s all about.

Ultimately, when we get down to it with coaching and I can’t thank you enough for taking some time time out of your schedule to jump on here with us. It’s been an hour and a half.

Rob Senderoff: [01:24:01] I don’t know what time you played this, but this is past my bedtime.

Mike Klinzing: [01:24:04] Hey man, this is our, this is our time.

We it’s funny. Cause we do our NBA podcast at like 12:30 at night,

Mike Klinzing: [01:24:11]  Yeah. Sometimes we’ll start those. We wait until everybody in our respective houses go to bed and Jason has a how old is Ellie now? Six months, Jay

Jason Sunkle: [01:24:19] she’s seven months. Now my deep believe that. That’s good

Mike Klinzing: [01:24:21] So he has a seventh month old.  So he sometimes trades off with his wife and we’re so we’re, so this is actually not, not that late for us, but nonetheless, we appreciate you staying up late with us and just being willing to come on and talk Kent state basketball. Really appreciate it. And if before we wrap up, I don’t know if you want to share where people can follow Ken on social media, just a or how people can reach out to you if they have questions or want to find out more about the program.

Rob Senderoff: [01:24:49] Yep. we, we have a Twitter our men’s basketball, Kent State men’s basketball. I have my own Twitter, that I put a lot of this stuff that we do on [01:25:00] can say, I think it’s, my Twitter is @CoachS E N D Y. you know, Kent State Men’s Basketball, our website is the way to get information on us.

And, and if anyone has a question, they can always email me practices, assuming that we’re allowed to have them are open there, they’ve always been open to, peer coaches. we usually practice 12 to three  is our practice time, but, my email address is rsendero@kent.edu

You know, if there’s any questions or anything that I can ever do to help a coach in the area or whoever may be listening, I I’d be happy to do that.

Mike Klinzing: [01:25:49] Thanks a lot, Rob, we really appreciate it. And we’ll put all that in the show notes so people can find it. And as I said, a few minutes ago, we can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump on with us.

[01:26:00] It’s a lot of fun to talk Kent State Basketball with you, and, I’ll look forward to seeing you in person again, hopefully at some point when the season comes back online and we can actually get in the gym and play some  basketball. So thanks everyone out. Thanks to everyone out there who’s listening tonight. We really appreciate it and we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.

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