Updated: Aug 29, 2019
This past summer, MAD Director John Murray was able to procure the services of his good friend and former trainee, the NBA veteran and legendary skills coach, Phil Handy. Back in June, Coach Handy, then the Director of Player Development for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was in town with the rest of the Cavaliers organization as the team made their fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA finals. Despite severe demands on his time, he agreed to rearrange his tight schedule in order to conduct a basketball skills clinic between games 1 and 2 of this year's NBA Finals. Although the clinic came together at the last second, with less than 48 hours notice, Coach Handy drew more than 100 participants ranging from elementary school students to college level players. Known as the coach who makes great players even better, fans packed the stands to watch the man who has coached Kobe, Lebron, and Kyrie, work his magic on the host of young players. With huge help from S.I. Basketball's Head Coach Rob Marcaletti, and Assistant Coach Ali Thomas, Coach Handy delivered the goods. Consistent with his reputation as a “defense first” coach, and with his motto “100% effort at all times,” the legendary coach put the youngsters through their paces for 2 hours, featuring a steady diet of defensive footwork drills. Afterwards, although there were lots of hands on heads and kids doubled over, everyone seemed thrilled by the experience.
A Bay Area native, Phil Handy played at the University of Hawaii, and then he joined the Golden State Warriors as a walk-on in his rookie season. After a couple of years in the NBA, he migrated abroad where he had a successful European career. Upon his retirement in 2003, Coach Handy continued the pursuit of his passion by coaching elite high school, college, and NBA players. By 2008, he had sent 33 players to Division I programs and had coached 20 NBA players. Earning a reputation as a basketball guru, the Lakers hired him as their Director of Player Development in 2011. Then in 2013, the Cavaliers recruited him away to fill the same position in their organization. Earlier this summer, shortly after the Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard, Toronto hired Phil as an Assistant Coach. Congratulations to Coach Handy for his new position with the Raptors. Expectations are now running high for Kawhi's return this season.