Starting in high school, Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter has been influenced by some of the game’s greatest coaches of all-time. Besides playing under such NBA luminaries as Doug Collins, Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkens and Phil Jackson, Hunter also was coached by some outstanding high school and college coaches. Check out what he took from them in the following blog.
Coach: Orsmond Jordan Jr. was Hunter’s high school coach at Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi. In Jordan’s storied career, he coached three McDonald’s All-Americans, eight future NBA players, won four state championships and even one national title before being named to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. The two still talk to this day.
What he learned: “I really learned a lot from him,” Hunter recalled. “He was really tough on all of the point guards. I still talk with him to this day. He instilled the discipline in how to run a ball club in me.”
Coach: Hunter first signed to play at Alcorn St. for Dave Whitney, who is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Whitney captured 12 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles and led the first team from a historically black university to an NCAA tournament game victory.
What he learned: “He really enhancing my knowledge about the game,” Hunter said. “He coached so many great players and he instilled a lot of that knowledge in me.”
Coach: Hunter later transferred to Jackson St. to play for Andy Stoglin, who was named the SWAC’s Coach of the Year three times in his career. He also coached internationally and in the D-League.
What he learned: “I learned what it was like to be a basketball junkie,” the Suns first-year coach said.
Coach: Hunter was drafted in 1993 by the Pistons, who named Doug Collins the franchise’s head coach in 1995. Collins, who was a former All-Star as a player and renowned broadcaster, is currently the head coach of the Sixers.
What he learned: “I was able to see the genius of him and his play calls,” Hunter said. “He always put guys in a position to succeed.”
Coach: In one season with the Lakers, Hunter played under Hall of Famer Phil Jackson and captured a championship in 2002. The “Zen Master” has won more titles as an NBA head coach than anyone in the history of the game.
What he learned: “I learned how he dealt with personalities,” Hunter said. “He coached arguably the greatest players in the NBA and had to deal with all of their personalities to be successful. It’s great to be able do that.”
Coach: In one season with the Bucks, Hunter received the tutelage of George Karl, who has amassed over 1,000 wins in his coaching career in the NBA. Only three coaches have a better winning percentage than Karl all-time.
“George had almost a magical approach about basketball,” he said. “He’s real different with his philosophies and how he ran his ball clubs. There were times when we would play where he would come out and tell us, ‘I want one-dribble pass shots, I want around-the-back passes, I want all of that stuff.’ I was like, ‘What?’ But it worked! He was different, but we were successful with it.”
Coach: Of all of his past coaches, Hunter stated that Larry Brown was the coach whose style he would like to emulate the most. Brown, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and won both an NCAA and NBA Championships, captured that NBA title with Hunter in 2004 as a head coach of the Pistons.
What he learned: “It didn’t matter who you were, he coached everybody from the first to the 15th man,” Hunter said. “He made the team play the right way because the fundamental principles of basketball haven’t changed. So you always play it the way it’s supposed to be played.”