Developer Chat

General WhatIfSports

John Chaney

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST


The LIVE portion of this chat will begin on

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 7:00 PM EST.

Welcome everyone to our Legends of the Game chat with Former Temple basketball coach John Chaney.

Mr. Chaney, This is kinda a 2 part thing. 1st let me just say that I am a huge fan of yours, and I got to say that the way Temple makes that Owl look really mean on the court is kinda intimidating. Now onto my actual question. In your time coaching what has caused or influenced you to run your matchup zone defense? And why does it seem to be continously effective for you? (rmj97 - Hall of Famer - 7:10 PM)

One of the things is that I'm old school, I remember so many of the great coaches (Frank McGuire at USC 2-3 zone, Judd Heathcote at MSU, Ramsey and the pressure zone). I took a little bit from that group and others such as Tarkanian and his zones (the amoeba defense). Very often I used it to protect my players and project the better players and since I never had deep teams I needed to run a defense that would allow me maximize the minutes for my players and a zone allows you to do that. The zone reduced fouls and allowed my stars to stay on the floor longer. If you have 10 All-Americans you can run anything you want, when you're not deep, zone is the way to go.

Mr. Chaney, how do you think the shift toward parity among mid-level college basketball teams is going to affect the game in the coming years? (kroessman - All-Star - 7:13 PM)

We made a stupid mistake of suggesting that players are not ready for the NBA. That doesn't make sense. All of it is in the name of legislating who can play. The George Masons, the Butlers, Drexels would keep kids in school for 4 years anyway which really helped level the playing field.

Coach Chaney, I was wondering how you motivate kids that seem to be unmotivational. What I mean is, I coach high school basketball, and it seems like we have a lack of leadership in our entire school, and I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom? (Unnaturals - Hall of Famer - 7:16 PM)

One of the things at the high school is to find a way to excite our kids, honestly involved at early ages. We must convince them that they face a great opportunity to turn basketball into a college scholarship, especially when a year of college now costs 30-40k per year. They need to realize that opportunity even though most will end up with 9-5 jobs. Success has nothing to do with the score of games or number of wins, it has to the level of effort they put into it. They need to use their own measuring stick at defining success and coaches must stress that. The bottomline is they need to have a better attitude about what it means to be successful and that will carry forward throughout their lives.

Coach, I’ve said many times that you are a true hero of mine, not because of anything on the court, but because of your intense desire to make this world a better place and to influence so many kids who may not have been born into the easiest situation. But without the ability and opportunity to be a D1 coach, what can the average citizen do to make an impact similar to the one you have made on the people (not the “players”) like Aaron McKie, Mark Macon and especially guys like Huey Futch and Quincy Wadley? (robinhood410 - Hall of Famer - 7:22 PM)

Huey Futch was out of a place called Homestead, FL. He was going to school in that area everyday. His HS coach said he never missed a day. Huey was living in a hut due to the storm and he had no parents. It was one of the main reasons that I recruited Huey. He was a good person. He was later adapted by a Jewish family. He graduated after a year of not playing basketball. Access and opportunity are two of the greatest things that can happen to anybody - poor, rich, white, black, etc.

My mother was blind from diabetes. She always told me, never let anyone ever destroy hope. You can be something, you can do something. You may never be President but you can do just about anything else. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something.

Try to show kids that being a failure as a person is not an option. 70% of people fail at various objectives, but being a failure at life is not an option. You don't give up. Baseball players hit .300 are stars, same in life.

Your Temple teams were famous for packing in the defense and forcing the opponent to shoot well from the outside to win. Who were some of the opposing shooters you faced who were so good that they made you extend your defense much further out than usual? (davis - Hall of Famer - 7:28 PM)

There were a number of teams that could do that. You must measure the outcome of what you do in relation to what your opponents are doing. The great teams do NOT change their methodology irrespective of your players. If you're getting the best players in the country every year then you have more flexibility but everyone else that's successful sticks with what works and makes opposing teams try to adjust to us. I remember one year we played UCLA with Reggie Miller and we found ourselves trying to stop Reggie when UCLA was loaded with other players and it hurt us. We played UNC with Jordan, Worthy, et al in the NCAA tourney and we forced them into 20 turnovers that game and had a chance to win because of our game plan although we had to come out of the zone when they went 4 corners.

15 seconds left, Temple down by 2. Which Temple player that you coached all-time would you have take the last shot? (schmdy14 - Pro - 7:32 PM)

The best 1 on 1 player I have had that can break his man down - that would have to be Mark Macon of all my players. The most important thing with any great player, is not just his skill. He has savvy and will. It means that he will not be denied. He understands the score, the situation and what he needs to do to get the mission accomplished. He was mean enough and tough enough and wanted it. Not only his skills, but his style. He could chew up anything you threw at him and spit it out.

Hey Coach. I've always admired your matchup zone. Could you tell us something about what you look for in players to be able to play that system? I woudl guess that ability to perform in a disciplined and intelligent way is a key, but what have been your keys? Why dont more schools run something like it? (mamxet - Hall of Famer - 7:38 PM)

It's not an easy thing to find patient players. If you look at the development players, they're always in a hurry to achieve success. I always looked for players that can identify with my philosophy, the value of assists to turnovers and that every time I put him on the floor he's going to give me everything he has. There's no such thing as 110% - there's 100% and everything else is bullcrap. Just give me what you have, all of it. Those types of players will be successful no matter what type of offense/defense you're going to run.

For example, Lynn Greer. He's in the NBA with the Bucks right now. He scored 40+ points against Wisconsin and then our next game was against Duke and Mike (coach K) double teamed him the next game. He was great. We beat U of L in the NIT and after the game Lynn slipped on some ice and he ended up not getting drafted and he went to Europe to play and because of his patience, he's now in the NBA.

When it comes to recruiting, what did you find to be the biggest factor that kids used in their decision making process, e.g. TV exposure, conference affiliation, past success, playing time, etc.? (Admin - Site Staff - 7:45 PM)

Two of the most important aspects for me, if you're playing in a league that can't carry your program in terms of exposure, then you need to have a brutal non-conference schedule to get that exposure. We played UCLA 3 times before they came to our place. We played UNC 4 times and they never came to our place. That SOS led to 17 NCAA bids and 5 Elite 8s. Recruitment is #1 television and #2 strength of schedule. If a kid tells you that he's going to a school because of education, he's full of crap. They all want to be on television! You can get a great education anywhere.

I never promised a kid playing time. I promised him that I would never recruit over him. What I mean is that we wouldn't not try to recruit a replacement player at his position until at least the kid was a Junior. If a kid doesn't get the playing time promised, he's going to want to transfer.

Sometimes a great player will recruit you. Mark Macon recruited us. He signed with us and never visited us. Why did he sign without visiting? Our exposure was a huge reason.

Was your Division 2 National Title the biggest sucess you have had, or has D1 seasons meant more? (majresorter - Hall of Famer - 7:51 PM)

Each one had a different impact on my life and they came at different stages in my career. On both teams, it was a group of youngsters that had perservered and through it led to great success.

Coach, I'm a lifelong A-10 fan, so it's an honor to ask you a question....now that you are not coaching, how involved do you stay with the college game? Is it difficult to watch games as a "fan" and not analyze them like a coach? Do you still stay in contact with many current coaches about game planning and ideas? (bmbou - Hall of Famer - 7:54 PM)

That's a great question. The only reason I'm not going to Temple vs. LaSalle tonight is because I'm stuck in snow. I'm not a critic, I'm a fan. I abhore people that are critics of young people who try. I'll go see Speedy Morris' team play this weekend. I was just at a womens game last night. I was at game on Sunday.

Hello Coach, I hear you ran morning practices, did that ever deter some kids from coming to Temple and if so could they still have been a player you wanted on your team. (sg_giants - Hall of Famer - 7:57 PM)

What a great question. I must have missed out on thousands of players because we practiced at 5am in the morning. My athletes had mandatory tutoring 5 days a week in the evenings. When I was at Cheyney we did the same and when I came to Temple I didn't change anything. It was easier to get the teachers to help my students in the afternoons. Plus, the kids won't stay out late at night. In all my years I only had 1 player that was late to practice and I made him run the entire practice.

Could you shed some light on the infamous cookie incident? Did that change your view of St. Bonaventure University? Did you regularly get items thrown at you during games or was this just an example of how rowdy the fans were at the Reilly Center? (celts20 - All-Star - 8:00 PM)

Try to remember I've experienced many of these types of situations in the past. In DII, we played at Gannon and they would be throwing all kinds of things on the floor and I'd scream at them. I'd classify SBU as the 2nd coming of Gannon. They'd throw coins on the floor and I found one of my players picking up money during the game. Then they got cheap and started throwing cookies. I stopped the game and the refs called a technical me and I told them I don't like chocolate chip, I like oatmeal.

Thank you very much for participating in our Legends of the Game chat with John Chaney. It's been great being able to pick the mind of one of the more legendary basketball coaches of all time. For more information regarding upcoming chats, please click here.

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