With the NBA D-League Showcase underway, the league's most promising prospects use such a platform in an attempt to shine and get noticed. But of course, the minor league simply isn't just for players anymore. Some of the top up and coming coaches, front office members, officials, and others have enjoyed D-League tenures of their own en route to The Association.
Of course, Boston Celtics' head coach Brad Stevens segued a successful run at Butler into an NBA gig. One of his former players, Ronald Nored, is also on the fast track to climbing up the coaching ladder as well.
This past summer, the former Butler guard joined Coach Stevens in Boston, and since, Nored has served as an assistant coach for the D-League affiliated Maine Red Claws.
RidiculousUpside.com recently caught up with Coach Nored to discuss an array of different topics surrounding his first season working in the NBADL. In addition to highlighting his relationship with Coach Stevens, Maine's new assistant also offered his first impressions of the D-League.
What's more, though Coach Nored couldn't necessarily confirm that Celtics' star Rajon Rondo will don a Red Claws' uniform as part of a potential rehab stint, he did shed some light on what having NBA swingman MarShon Brooks in town has been like like.
For more great insight from the Butler grad, continue reading below for our exclusive Q&A.
Q: You obviously know Celtics' head coach Brad Stevens pretty well from your time together in Butler. What was playing for him like, and how did that translate into you following him and subsequently joining the Red Claws?
A: Playing for him was great. I believe that over my fours years in college, I was able to play for the best coach in the country. It's not just about basketball, but the kind of person he was. The way he treated us, the way he talked to us. It was about how he instilled that confidence in us. He taught us not only to be good basketball players, but good people and teammates in the process. I'm very thankful I got to play for him.
During my senior year, Coach Stevens and I got really close. We were always close, but it was then that I was beginning my transition from a player into coaching. He and I had a lot of conversations as I graduated. It was because of him and through him that I learned that a high school in Indiana offered me a head coaching job. I took it, and we kept in touch. He came to a couple of my games.
I always said I wanted to work for him, and from there, I was able to get an assistant coaching job in the NCAA. When he got the job in Boston, I knew I wanted to come work for him, whenever there was an opportunity. I didn't expect it to be right away, but Coach Stevens called me and said he had something for me. There was a D-League component to it, so I was fortunate to spend some months in Boston and now I'm in Maine. It's been really good.
Q: The NBA D-League Showcase is here, which obviously means a couple of key games for the Red Claws are on the horizon. What have been your impressions of the league as a whole while working in Maine?
A: I came from college, so coaching there was fresh on my mind. From there, I spent some time in Boston and went to the Celtics' first regular season game. Now I'm coaching in the D-League, and to be quite honest, this league is different. The atmosphere, the nature of the league with regard to player turnover, and the rules are different. There are differences in the D-League, and at first, it was difficult for me to adjust. But now, I'm really loving it. I'm learning a lot, the players are good, and so are the teams.
It's fun watching our team go through things throughout the year and to keep pushing them. We want to be the best we can be. I'm liking this and I'm very thankful to be here.
Q: You played for Butler as recently as the 2011-12 NCAA season. Does your age, and the fact that you're not so far removed from playing days of your own help you relate to the Red Claws' players at all?
A: There's certainly a little bit to it. I actually played one of our players in High School. Romero Osby and I played in a game together too. A lot of the guys that are here are ones that I watched while I was playing college basketball. I know them. I think they know me. I see guys on the other teams that I played against. I talk to them when I see them. I think it's cool to be here with guys I've played with or played against.
I think the thing about the age is you look at these players, and they're trying to be professional going about what they've got to do. They want to do the best they can, and so do I. Everyone understands that.
Q: What's it been like to finally get an NBA assignee in town with Celtics guard MarShon Brooks?
A: It's been great. MarShon's a really good person and came down here with a really good attitude. We were fortunate enough to have a couple of our affiliate players go through training camp with the Celtics, so MarShon knows those guys. He knows myself and Coach Mike Taylor because we were in Boston for a little while.
We're doing a lot of the different things our affiliate is doing, so it's been easy for MarShon to come in here and pick up a couple of things. He's been great, and we're looking forward to having him, because we believe we can help him. He's been able to help us too.
Q: What are some of the similarities between the Red Claws and Celtics?
A: Certainly, we run similar plays. As an affiliate of the Celtics, we want to do things in a similar way. The communication has been great between us and Boston, so it's good to have that avenue. We can go to them if we need anything, because they've been pretty great.
Q: With the relationship being so great, will we see Rajon Rondo venture out to Maine for a rehab stint? How does your staff prepare to embrace him, if and when the time comes?
A: I think the important thing is that we continue to do things that we have all along. Rondo's a great player. Who knows if he comes down here or not. If he does, that's great. If he doesn't, we'll just continue doing things as usual. We'll watch him as he returns to the Celtics.