Former Sonics and Beavers legend Gary Payton is returning to the game of basketball.
Just in a different way.
He’s agreed to a multi-year deal to become the new head coach at Lincoln University in his hometown of Oakland, Calif.
“It’s a startup program and a private independent school where I can establish what I want to establish,” Payton told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “I don’t have to go behind anybody to try to make a program become something or keep it going. I can start it off with my own program with what I want to happen.”
Payton’s only coaching experience is with the Big3, and he plans to fulfill his obligation to coach during their upcoming season.
Due to the name recognition of Payton, The Undefeated is reporting, “a major television network is considering following Payton with the Oaklanders.”
Lincoln University athletic director and head football coach Desmond Gumbs approached Payton about the basketball opening last November.
Payton plans to focus his recruiting on the west coast and wants his team to be a reflection of who he was as a player.
“It’s going to look something like me,” Payton said. “I’m going to get basketball players that’s going to work hard, going to grind, coming from that gritty, gritty neighborhood they grew up in. Some of them have gotten lost. Some of them got overlooked. Now you can come to a school where you can play under a guy like myself, as in a point guard that is going to play defense. Our program is going to play ‘D.’ … We’re going to get up and down the floor, but we’re going to be disciplined.
“We’re going to play the right way. We’re not going to play ball where we’re going to outshoot nobody with 3s or nothing like that. We’re going to take advantage of the things I think they take advantage of.”