Hubie Brown may have recently celebrated his 72nd birthday, but the basketball guru still has a whole lot of life left in him. At Michigan’s fifth annual basketball coaches clinic Saturday, the newly inducted NBA Hall of Famer raised his voice, pounded his chest and demonstrated basketball moves during his nearly three-hour lesson to high school coaches from all over the Midwest.
“I’ve known (Brown) through the years, and he is such a good friend of the game of basketball,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “Obviously, we were very honored to have him.”
Brown – a two-time NBA Coach of the Year – commanded Crisler Arena with his dynamic teaching style. He passionately discussed his coaching philosophies and covered a wide variety of specific basketball strategies, including zone offenses, press breaks and inbounds plays.
At times, Brown utilized the Michigan basketball team – which had just practiced – to demonstrate these plays for the assembled coaches. Despite his age, Brown wasn’t shy about getting in the players’ faces. He demonstrated correct ball-denial technique on Michigan’s 6-foot-11 center Courtney Sims and got in the face of guard Daniel Horton while showing off proper defensive technique. Toward the end of the lecture, Brown even made the Wolverines break a sweat, asking them to run up and down the court to show off his fast-break conditioning drill.
“I told our guys, they had better be ready (to run),” Amaker said. “I know coach Brown – he gets going. He’s intense, he’s after it, he’s going to work it, he’s going to get on it.”
When he wasn’t conditioning Michigan’s players, Brown shared some of his seemingly unlimited supply of basketball anecdotes. Brown has spent more than half a century playing, coaching and announcing basketball, and it was evident in his wide range of stories. He discussed everything from the NBA’s crack cocaine problems in the 1980’s, to the women’s basketball Pan-American games in Cuba, to the Kentucky-Arizona 1997 national championship game.
Brown’s style left the assembled coaches impressed.
“(Brown’s) a phenomenal speaker, a phenomenal lecturer,” Amaker said.
Amaker has held a coaches’ clinic every year since he took over as Michigan head coach in 2001. This year’s event drew high school coaches from all over the region, including Canada, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. According to Amaker, the event benefited Michigan’s program, as well as the coaches in attendance.
“It allows us to have some connections with those coaches, to open up our program,” Amaker said. “It’s great for our players – they get work in, but they also hear some of the things a great coach, a Hall of Fame guy, an NBA guy like Hubie Brown is going to say. On all sides, it’s been a positive for our program.”