Idaho Stampede head coach Mike Peck has witnessed his fair share of NBA talent, and now another former player of Peck's has landed in the Association. Peck was the head coach at the legendary Findlay Prep Program in Nevada for five seasons prior to his first season in the NBADL last year. Peck coached former McDonald's All-American and NBA players including Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DeAndre Liggins, and Joel Anthony.
After Anthony Bennett was selected first overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, the 6-7, 240-pounder joins the impressive list of former Findaly Prep players coached by Peck. Peck is now utilizing his player development talents with the Portland Trail Blazers NBA D-League affiliate Idaho Stampede.
Coach Peck spoke with RidiculousUpside.com, and explained his coaching strategy which ultimately allowed numerous basketball prospects to succeed. "As I have always said, the players that played for me at Findlay were talented when they arrived, so I can't take all the credit for their success. That being said, I'd like to think that my approach, system and style of play did play a role in their development. I think one of the big keys to my approach was giving them ownership in and throughout the process. Instead of always putting demands on them like a dictator, I helped steer them in the right direction, but let it be their decision. I've always felt that if players have a say, then they will work harder to ensure 'it works' and is successful."
In his senior year at Findlay Prep, Bennett averaged 16.3 points, and 10.1 rebounds in 23.7 minutes. He helped guide the Pilots to a 32-1 record and win the school's third ESPN National High School Invitational Championship (in four years). Bennett won MVP honors and was named to the All-Tournament team.
In his one year at UNLV, Bennett averaged 16.1 points, and 8.1 rebounds, and will now look to take his basketball talents to Cleveland where he hopes to be a formidable option for the Cavs offensively, and on the boards.
Meanwhile, Peck continues his first official NBA D-League offseason, but is ready to begin working with the Blazers in their Summer League operations. Peck also commented on Portland's draft and his feelings moving forward. "I thought the Blazers had a great draft this year. In my short time with them, I think they do a tremendous job in research and gathering as much useful information as possible. They leave no stone unturned. I look forward to working with them throughout Summer League and training camp this fall." Peck added.
Peck's coaching past with Bennett and other NBA talents is a prime example of why Portland hired him, he has a tremendous knack for developing player's talent. Former Findlay standout and player of Peck's, Tristan Thompson has found success in Cleveland, now Bennett will look to do the same.