Newly named head coach Mark Madsen has the rare ability to balance a hard working attitude, with a jovial and compassionate mindset. After speaking with the former Stanford standout, and nine year NBA veteran, one feels motivated yet refreshed all at the same time. The aura of Mark Madsen is certainly contagious, and that's exactly why the Los Angeles D-Fenders nominated Madsen to be their fifth head coach in franchise history.
Madsen spoke with RidiculousUpside.com, and touched upon numerous topics including his overall joy in landing the new gig in L.A. "The dust has started to settle, and I'm excited to get working." Madsen said. The former NBA big man will bring a long list of positive attributes with him back to Los Angeles, and his unique experience as a player for championship teams will add another valuable element to his coaching style.
Over the past week, Madsen has made the rounds with local and national media, but now it's time for the former NBA spark plug to get working. In addition to sharing his skill of playing with incredibly high energy, Madsen is also looking forward to helping develop players off the court. "I want to help in developing their (players) professionalism, and show them how to take the time to learn from the specialists around them. I can help them with daily routines that will ultimately make them become more successful players." Madsen added.
Madsen rejoins the NBA Development League fresh off a coaching stint with his alma mater Stanford University. There have been plenty of coaches who have left the college ranks for the NBADL, or vice versa, and many have succeeded. While there are similarities between the two levels, Madsen explained that there are also some important differences.
"Basketball is basketball, but the game is officiated differently at the college level as opposed to the D-League and NBA. In the college game, you can be much more physical on the perimeter. Referees are quick to blow the whistle on any sort of contact regarding guards out on the perimeter in the NBA and D-League. Also, in the D-League you can get away with almost anything in the low post, it's incredibly physical down there." Madsen said.
It is exactly this kind of insight that will allow Madsen to be successful as a head coach in the NBADL, he knows exactly what to look for in many different aspects of the game.
Despite being away from the D-League, Madsen kept in touch with Brad Jones, the two were coaches with the Utah Flash. When asked if there was a model that Madsen would like to replicate, he was quick to mention what Jones did in Austin "I would look to the San Antonio Spurs/Austin Toros model for inspiration, Brad Jones and I have a very close relationship still."
Similar to the Austin Toros, the D-Fenders are owned and operated by the Lakers organization. Madsen admits that landing back with the Lakers organization, even in this fashion, was an added bonus. "On a personal level, there has always been a certain amount of comfort with the Lakers organization and myself. I know a lot of the people there, from the Buss family to Gary Vitti, I'm very familiar with the entire franchise. I'm also excited to work closely with some of the newer people like head coach Mike D'Antoni." Madsen explained.
Madsen will have ample time to learn from D'Antoni, as he has stated that he intends to run a system very similar to the Lakers. The hope is for Madsen and the D-Fenders staff to provide an environment, and overall playing-style which will resemble the Lakers. Ideally, players will be able to transfer between both clubs and be familiar in either setting. It seems as though Madsen's already close relationship with the staff, will increase the likelihood of achieving this goal.
Madsen is somewhat of a celebrity, and not just in the Los Angeles area. He was well-known across the league by players, coaches, and fans during his playing career and even after. Recently on the Jim Rome Show, Madsen issued out an invitation to Rome and his crew to a D-Fenders game, in which Rome gladly accepted. As a prominent figure now in the NBA D-League, Madsen admittedly looks forward to bringing any sort of added awareness to the NBADL. "The D-League is a phenomenal league. I feel proud to represent the D-League." Madsen concluded.