CAMDEN, N.J. — The line for the entrance wrapped around the parking lot as approximately 1,000 coaches attended Brett Brown’s third annual Coach the Coaches Clinic on Tuesday night at the Sixers' training complex.
“You feel like you’re giving back to the game,” Brown said. “On some levels, it’s sort of a responsibility you feel. On another level, I love doing it.”
Brown opened the free clinic to youth, high school and college coaches. They sat around the Sixers' practice court while Brown led drills, many tailored to the coaches’ previously-submitted inquiries. Justin Anderson, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, T.J. McConnell and Jahlil Okafor volunteered to participate.
The clinic included live strength and conditioning exercises as well as a dedicated segment on analytics. Brown also took questions from the crowd and infused a lighthearted tone in his responses.
“I’ve had travels called on my kids on the up fake,” one coach said.
“Fair enough," Brown replied with a smile. "We do too.”
The attendance Tuesday nearly doubled that of the previous year. Brown, who is entering his fifth season as the Sixers' head coach, wants to pay it forward to coaches in the Philadelphia basketball community.
“It’s tight,” he said of the local hoops scene. “They are passionate. It’s well-connected. It has incredibly deep roots and incredibly rich history.”
Brown held the clinic on the same floor where the Sixers have been gathering for workouts ahead of training camp. He refers to his courtside office as his “beachfront property,” where he watches the offseason activity and describes the atmosphere in the gym as “really high-energy.”
“I look at people that are going to be around here for a while,” Brown said. “I look at legitimate talent. I look at this facility. We’ve worked incredibly hard, and everybody knows, to grow a culture and how we do things. … This place is alive and it was in June. … It’s way different than it was in 2013.”
Perhaps Brown will share stories of the coaching in the playoffs at his next clinic. The expectations are high for the Sixers this season. Brown, though, said he isn’t feeling the pressure. He pointed out he has coached into the month of June five times in his NBA career (previously with the Spurs) and is invested in the steps it takes to turn a team into a postseason squad.
“I’m more concerned about sort of the homework than the exam,” Brown said. “I want to knock out good days. I want to handle things with a playoff mentality and playoff professionalism. … All the things that equal, how do you get where we want to go. I’ve had the privilege of living it so I feel like I can share it and do it.
“I’m always mindful our guys are ridiculously young and haven’t played with each other. But that’s said with a tremendous amount of excitement and certainly, shouldn’t be heard in any other way.”
The Sixers open training camp on Sept. 26. Their first preseason game is Oct. 4 at home against the Grizzlies.