Kevin Boyle Faces Difficult Task In Preparing USA for 2012 Nike Hoop Summit
Portland, Ore. • April 5, 2012
Kevin Boyle (Montverde Academy, Fla.) has a difficult task ahead of him over the next couple of days as head coach of the 2012 USA Junior National Select Team. Boyle, assistant coach Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic, Md.) and the 10 U.S. players have just four practices to prepare to take on the World Select Team in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit at the Rose Garden on Saturday, April 7in Portland, Ore.
But if history is any indication, Boyle is certainly the man for the job. He was hired at Montverde in April of 2011, after 23 seasons as the head coach at St. Patrick High School in New Jersey (1988-89 through 2010-11), where he compiled more than 400 wins.
On day one of practice, USA Basketball caught up with Boyle to ask him about his current challenge in coaching for the USA in the 15th annual Nike Hoop Summit.
This is your first time coaching for USA Basketball. What does it mean to you to coach for a national team?
It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I was at St. Patrick's for 23 years, and (USA Basketball) used to have some North, South, East and West teams for high school players that I was asked to do a couple of times, and it just never worked out. I always needed to do camps, and it was something I just couldn't get away from. I'm excited to be involved and can't wait for the game.
With just four practices before the game, can you talk about the difficulties of getting the team ready?
Well, we are going to try and do about five quick hitters versus man, maybe two against zone, with some philosophy as well. We don't want to over-burden them, but obviously we need to be organized when we don't get out in transition. I expect them to do a press to try and slow us down a little bit to make the shot clock at 16 or 14 when we get over half court, to try and make us have to play quicker.
You also don't get a chance to scout the World Team before the game. How does that affect your approach?
It is difficult. I've seen some YouTube stuff. I've seen one of their big kids, Wang Zhelin, against Oak Hill. Andrew Wiggins I've seen a few times. A number of the kids I've seen on YouTube, we are not playing in the same setting here. And it's hard sometimes in those tapes to tell how quick people are. So, you do the best you can to try and evaluate. You know, this is one case where you almost have to stereotype a little and try and prepare for the traditional type of international player because you don't have enough frame of reference to do anything different. The mindset will be, can we press them, can we speed them up and can we turn them over? Often, they don't have the second or third real good handle, so you can get the ball to their four or five and stop them for getting it back and create a lot of havoc for them, so they can't get organized. That's our plan.
How do you feel the first day went?
I thought it went well. I think some kids though haven't played in two weeks or four weeks with their high school teams. So, some guys it's important to get their wind back.
You've been a successful high school coach for 24 seasons, what it is about this age group that you enjoy?
You know, it's something I got into by accident 24 years ago. I just was coaching a grammar school team, and the principal at St. Patrick's son played on it. We were fortunate to get it going pretty good there, and we had a lot of gifted players in Kidd-Gilchrist, Kyrie Irving, Corey Fisher and Mike Daugherty, Al Harrington, Samuel Dalembert. Now at Montverde Academy, my first year there, we have a great guard in Kasey Hill, who is an all-American guard and an all-American sophomore in Dakari Johnson, so I like the level. I like seeing the kids develop. Many times they have other issues going on in their lives. You can learn from it as a coach from your own kids, and sometimes you get to help them get through that adolescent stage.