The "I" in Win

Talking Hoops w/SIU Head Basketball Coach, Bryan Mullins

May 17, 2022 Luke Mertens Season 1 Episode 41
The "I" in Win
Talking Hoops w/SIU Head Basketball Coach, Bryan Mullins
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

#41. This episode features Southern Illinois University Head Basketball Coach, Bryan Mullins, where he gives his thoughts on:

  • Finding balance between personal/professional life
  • Learning from Coach Moser & Loyola's magical Final Four 
  • NIL, transfer portal, and recruiting today's athlete 
  • Building a program
  • Who is the best hooper from Chicago?

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Luke:

This is episode 41 of The "I" in Win podcast

Bryan:

the individual development, the off the court stuff, you know, and it just builds and it builds and builds and then something happens and it snowballs and you have a magical run in March and you know, you're in the final four, in the next.

Luke:

Today's episode. We welcome on the head basketball coach at the SIU Salukis coach Bryan Mullins. We cover a range of topics from NIL to transfer portal, to what it's like discovering the top high school talent in the country, in the world of basketball. And we finished the episode with the most important question. Who was the best player that coach Mullins ever played against at the high school level coming out of Chicago land himself. Hope you enjoy today's episode. Here's coach Mullins. Coach Mulllins. Thanks for joining us on The "I" in Win, really excited to have you on, and we're going to cover lots of things from your influences to recruiting, to transfer portals and I Al and also defining balance in life. So thank you very much for dedicating this afternoon.

Bryan:

I'm looking forward to it. Excited and, uh, appreciate you giving me the opportunity.

Luke:

I want to first start with influences. Most of us in this profession have chose to go down this path because we had some coach in our life or hopefully coaches in our life that really impacted us. So tell us about those guys that you got to experience in high school. I've made an impact on you and you may be modeled some of what they taught you in your job.

Bryan:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, high school is such a formative time. Um, you know, and it's So important to have great people around you when you're in high school, because it really does shape you and gives you a great foundation to have success when you get to college. And obviously after college and, um, you know, first, you know, my dad coached me my whole life growing up. Coach me my freshman year when he was a volunteer assistant, on the sophomore team with Jay bomb. so my dad's he's kinda my mentor, my hero. I lean on him a lot till this day in terms of life advice and just leadership advice, probably more so than the basketball stuff. but you know, the high school coaches, I kind of had three big influences. I just mentioned Jay balm, who is my. Sophomore. He was the sophomore coach and I was a freshmen. you know, he really, uh, really started the defensive mentality, uh, and kind of got me the buy-in to how, and that was, and you know, how successful teams can be when you really guard. and, and then the other two coaches, John Stapleton and Paul Runyon, you know, I played for them for three years and those guys. Really we're about culture, I thought. and just how they brought a team together in a program together, you know, with coach Runyon, uh, always having this over his house, you know, always making sure that the team was bigger than any individual player. and it was just a family atmosphere at downers Grove south when I was there. So, you know, I was very fortunate to be around so many great coaches, during my high school.

Luke:

So you have choices as a coach and we're needed in so many different ways. It could be youth level. It could be. School level, it could be the collegiate level all the way up to professional level. So why have you chosen to go the path of the collegiate way?

Bryan:

You know, I think, for me, I have a. Really a big passion in terms of coaching. I think, uh, the 18 to 22 year old age range is, is, you know, where you can still shape and you can still influence a young man and you really have a big effect on what they do after college, in terms of being around them. And then the competitive side of the things it's a highly. You know, you, you still feel like, you know, you're, you're part of competing at one of the highest levels. And I think when I got done playing, you know, I thought about high school coach and I thought about, the financial world, but there was just something about, the college lifestyle and really that's what this profession is. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle. Your whole family has to be balding in. You have to kind of be bald and it's gotta be your passion, your purpose. And, you know, the way? I'm driven, I thought that kind of fit me.

Luke:

And what about that lifestyle of sometimes you have to be nomadic, uh, you're lucky you're at your Alma mater and I'm sure you plan to be there for. A long time, but sometimes opportunities arise. Maybe we're looking for more. We're not. How do you feel about that nomadic side of things? Because I know for me, that was definitely a determined. I had a wife we're just starting a family. She moved around a lot as a kid and she's like, I'm not interested. I want to plant roots around that and stay, hence I'm in.

Bryan:

Yeah, I think that's, obviously the biggest positive probably of high school and probably one of the negatives of the college coaching profession is you've gotta be flexible. you know, if you're trying. work your way up in this profession. You've got to take the next best opportunity. and then also, there's a lot more, fluidity in college coaching. You know, you, you have a shorter life span in terms of, you know, if you get a head coaching opportunity or if you join a coaching staff, you know, you gotta be successful, you know, within those first four or five years, uh, For me, you know, I got into it when I didn't have a wife and I didn't have kids at the time. you know, so I was able to have some freedom and kind of like start my career off that way. but it's definitely a challenge, you know, when you do have a family and you have wife and kids and, that's where I think the balance part is. So.

Luke:

I'm sure a big influence in you was that great experience you had at Layola and with coach Moser and that magical run to the final four, that anyone who follows basketball, even if you don't follow basketball was just completely enveloped in that whole situation. That was, that was really exciting, especially for all of us in Chicago land. So what have you taken from that experience that you carry with you?

Bryan:

Uh, time. I mean, I think about it daily, to be honest with you right now, I'm in the midst of building my own program. in the same league that I was in with Wyola, and just. How that went about, you know, when I joined the Loyola staff, it was their first year in the valley with, coach Mosher. and that first year we finished last place in the Missouri valley conference. And over the next five years, we built the program and went to the final four and won back-to-back conference championships the six years. So just in terms. for coach Mosher first and foremost, influenced that he had and his daily work ethic. And he then budge in terms of the character of guys he took in the program and the staff, you know, and just in terms of, you know, making sure that he was going to do it the right way. And he really believed you do special things with great people in the program. And that comes from, you know, everyone that touches the program. Uh, and then I think the last thing. Probably didn't even realize so much maybe when I was at light a little bit over these last couple of years, being here at Southern Illinois is that it's not one thing that happens. you know, it's not one victory, it's not one great practice. It's not one recruit. although one recruit does really help with is a really good player. Uh, but, it's just that day, that day where you're just doing things at a high level of high standard you're, you're, you're trying to. Continually outwork other programs, your guys are continuing to try to outwork other players. and you're doing, the film sessions, the individual development, the off the court stuff, you know, and it just builds and it builds and builds and then something happens and it snowballs and you have a magical run in March and you know, you're in the final four, in the next.

Luke:

So talking about that process, people are always really surprised to hear the daily schedule of a head coach. No matter if it's the high school level or the collegiate level. I know what my day looks like. Sometimes I wake up and. I don't even know what happens in between, but, um, I'm assuming I got a lot done throughout the day, and I know what you guys at the college level have to do from all of my experiences, getting to meet college football coaches. So take our listeners through just a typical day. I know right now you're in the off season, even though there really isn't an off season anymore. What's your typical day? Like?

Bryan:

You know, let's say if it was a couple of weeks ago, even though it's the off season, but we still kind of had spring workouts. Um, you know, usually in the mornings I try to wake up, five 30 ish get a workout in. I have a one-year-old son right now, so my life has changed, uh, this past year, drastically, But try to get the workout in, before he wakes up, you know, wake him up, feed them breakfast, get the office around 7 38, you know, for that first hour, I kind of do some stuff for myself, uh, in terms of reading and journaling, just try to maybe watch something, just kind of some self-improvement things that, helped me for the rest of the day, to be honest with you, because once the day starts around 9:00 AM, especially I think more so as a head coach, Constant people coming into the office, asking you questions, different areas, that you need to address. you know, and we always kind of try to do a staff meeting between nine and nine 30, where we just talk about, 10, 15 minutes talk about what's, what's on store for? and then, the rest of the day, usually we we'll have workouts that guys will lift, you know, in terms of, you know, this individual stuff that we're doing with the guys or small group workouts, um, dress scheduling, you know, obviously we're in charge of putting the, on our schedule for next season. The recruiting part of it is obviously enormous for us in the spring with the transfer market right now. So, Have recruiting meetings with the staff, the academic piece in the spring, making sure our guys are finishing up finals, is very important. So I do academic meetings, and then also kind of plan some stuff for the summer in terms of summer school, summer camps, team camps, kids' camps. and then usually once the guys are done with workouts and weights, then we do zooms with recruits, and their families. and then later in the day? or at night do phone calls with the juniors and sophomores and, and, you know, kids are kind of down the line and the recruiting.

Luke:

So you tell us, you start your day 5, 5 30, get up. You work out you're in the office around six 30. What time are you get home to see your.

Bryan:

Yeah. So I usually get, so I usually get the office like 7 30, 8, so I'm with my son. from about 6 30, 7 30, and then, my wife's a nurse and she's awesome. Um, so then on the day she doesn't work, she usually brings them up here around lunchtime. Um, and I get to see him for a half hour or 45 minutes right after his first nap. and then, you know, it's very. Fluid, you know, it's not like I'm home every night by six o'clock. that's for sure. obviously right now in the spring time, if we have zooms multiple zooms, sometimes I'll get home till eight or 9:00 PM. Uh, if we have visits or official visits, you're not home till after dinner till 9 30, 10. You know, if we don't have any of those at night, then you know, 6 30, 7 probably back at. it's been hard, it's been a process in terms of, trying to, you know, make sure that, especially this first year having a newborn and then with the wife tried to be home, for dinner or, put them in the bed, you know, you try your best. but you know, it's just the way recruiting is right now, it's hard to plan things, especially with the transfer portal, just, you know, how things come up so fast. Right, right.

Luke:

And before we get into recruiting, I'm going to go back to. The balance piece that you referenced, you get up in the morning, you have your morning routine, which is, which is dedicated to you. Cause that was going to be one of my questions. And now we know how you find that, that me time, because sometimes you do have to be a little bit selfish as a coach and find that time for you. What about when you get home, do you, because the phone never stops, right? These things never stopped and I'm holding my hand. So do you walk in and put your phone off to the side and promise yourself? I am going to be all in, on my family when I'm home. How do you create that balance?

Bryan:

Oh, man, I need to do a better job of that. Um,

Luke:

that's why I was asking you because I'm horrible at it. And I was hoping you would help me out because.

Bryan:

know, I'm hoping you're helping me out. Uh, I, I need to do a better job of it for sure. It's a. it's hard, because of the recruiting aspect of things right now, and Twitter and social media and, and, Especially, I think, like I mentioned a couple of times, just the way college athletics is right now, with the transfer portal and, and, different things happen. And, everything's really moving at a fast pace, in terms of the last month, month and a half of the recruitment aspect. And, you know, you kind of gotta be all in, but you know, you definitely. Got to take time, 30 minutes, 40 minutes, whatever it is, eat dinner, put my son in the bed, something like that. Uh, honestly, some of the. Quiet this time as I have is when I'm putting on the bed and rock, and I'm a little bit for 15, 20 minutes in his room with the lights off and, and just, you know, it makes me not have a phone that makes me, just relax a little bit. So I actually kind of enjoy that. but you know, I think the balance piece is so important. It's something I'm continuing to learn, uh, over these first three years of, being the head coach. Um, you know, you, you want to build a program, you feel responsible, especially for me being at my Alma mater, you know, that you just want to be successful. You want the people who believe in you, we gave you this opportunity, to, make sure that they, made the right hire and that they made the right choice. so, you know, and with the college athletics, there's So many different areas, constantly tugging at you. but I definitely have learned. if you're not in the right mind frame, if you don't feel healthy, if you don't get a workout in, then it affects the rest of your decision-making. And that's the biggest thing as a head coach is the amount of decisions you make on a day to day basis.

Luke:

So Halloween, how young is your son going to be before he put a basketball in his hands?

Bryan:

Oh, he's already got one. He's already, he's got the hoop. He's got the ball. He's he's Duncan. He knows slam dunk already. So he's all good.

Luke:

Yeah, it's a interesting dynamic being a coach. A parent of an athlete and you go to these games and I'm sure you experienced it. When you go watch a recruit, play live, everybody wants to get your ear and they try to suck you into these negative conversations of, Hey, I mean, if you were the coach, you wouldn't do it this way. Right. And you're like, look, honestly, I'm just here to watch my kid. Just, just let me be. And then the best part is, is when, and you'll see this when your own kids. Some adversity within their athletics and all of a sudden, you know, my wife, she's great, but should we email the coach? I'm like, no, we're not emailing the coach. Come on, you know, better than that, you know, but, uh, sometimes your love as a parent trumps your identity as a coach. That's for sure. But let's talk about that recruiting piece. Take me through the process because I find it to be fascinating and definitely overwhelming of how you identify possible recruits. At the high school level, given how many kids across the nation, you have to look at how.

Bryan:

Yeah, uh, relationships is, is, is huge, and, for us, uh, we want to recruit when there's we want to recruit guys who come from really good programs where the good high school coaches, uh, that's probably one of the biggest things that. I talk about to my staff And we talk about as a staff is, is a winner. Uh, did he, when did he come from a good program? those are some of the first questions that we ask about student athlete, uh, prospective student athlete. you know, obviously, just the relationships that you form over your playing career and then your coaching career, you know, are extremely important because there's gotta be a level of trust. Uh, you know, you got to trust the coaches you're talking to, because it is your livelihood, you know, you're responsible for bringing in, people into your program that you feel like will be successful, that will help your program be successful. And you want to make sure that you're. Getting the truth, whether it's good or bad, and that's where the relationship and the trust piece is so important,

Luke:

And how has the transfer portal impacted that process of identifying high school athletes?

Bryan:

it's, uh, definitely has impacted, you know, high school student athletes. And I, I think the transfer portal, and I think, you know, right now on the era that we're in this five years, this COVID, you know, with all the student athletes? that were in college, uh, last year, granted five years. So you have this wave over these next couple of years where everyone gets five years of eligibility, never has happened in college athletics before. and now it has made, College athletics, extremely old, you know, you know, with these kids, you know, some of them, if you sit out a year because of a medical issue or transfer issue or something, now they're six years in college. So now that they're 24 year olds, playing basketball 25 year olds playing basketball, and that affects affects incoming 17 and 18 year olds, you know, but just because of, coaches, I mean, 24, 25, you're kind of in your prime as a man, you know, and, and it's a lot different than taking a 17, 18 year old who, you know, was going to be a good player, but it might take a couple of years. Um, and then the transfer portal just, you know, same type of aspect. And it's just the combination of both colliding all at one time has really changed, uh, right now, college athletics.

Luke:

So I'm assuming that I don't want to use the word damage, but it complicates your relationship with some of these high school coaches who they're advocating for their kids. Is that kind of the conversation with them too, like, look this, like all things shall pass and just hold tight and we could kind of get back to status quo. Was that, would that be the conversation with some of the high school?

Bryan:

Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of the high school coaches kind of understand too, what's going on. you know, and what has happened with the pandemic and, and you know, this transfer portal and the one-time transfer being granted now. you know, but I think for us and for other programs, I mean, we still have. high school kids and feel like, you know, for us, we, we want continuity in our program. You know, that's extremely important in terms of building a championship program for us. you know, I know for me, I don't want to have to re recruit, you know, nine, 10 players every single spring, and just have a new team, you know, I think that's hard, to do it that way. So, you know, I think it's just becomes the fit is so important now for high school kids, you know, It's gotta be the right fit when you bring them into the program and they got on their stand to what they're coming into. That it's going to be a process, you know, there's, you know, you gotta put the work in that. It's, it's gonna be hard. I mean, I think there was a. Five or six freshmen that played in the Missouri valley conference this past year, you know, and there wasn't a lot of true freshmen playing in college basketball probably throughout the country this year. So just in terms of that, you know, making sure the mindset is right as well. And you have honest conversations with the high school? coaches and the parents of the prospective student athlete.

Luke:

a lot of our listeners are high school coaches as I refer. Help us out on what we should be doing to help our kids get recruited, because like you, our heads are spinning and the, the lay of the land is constantly changing. The rules are changing and all we want to do is right by our kids. So what should we be doing as coaches and well, how should we counsel our athletes, how to best market themselves and what they should be doing.

Bryan:

Yeah, that's a good question. I would tell, your athletes, to help your team win, you know, because of. that translates, to college. You know, if you're part of a winning program, if your coaches are saying, man, this is the toughest kid I've coached, this is, this kid is one of the hardest workers on coaches. One of the best leaders I've ever had. you know, all he does is help us win. I think I know for our program and I would say for the majority of college programs, That's what they're looking for in high school kids, you know, that's what they're looking for in incoming guys, guys that are going to positively affect their program. you know, for high school coaches, Yeah, I guess I haven't thought about that as much. I would say, you know, obviously the highlight films are always good, you know, And in terms of the hat, but I mean, just the constant communication, with college coaches is important, you know, I would say updates throughout the season, or in the summer or in the fall, like, is he progressing as he working, I, I know for us the more information we have about. perspective student athlete, you know, the more comfortable we feel about them, you know, and I think, Hey, he made a big jump these last couple months, or, he's really playing his best right now in February, or he's had an unbelievable summer he's, lift and has changed his body that just shows the growth in the player, through the time. So I think the communication part is really big, throughout, the whole year and not just maybe at the end of the.

Luke:

And how important are, and I don't know what you call them and basketball, but I think it kind of started with baseball like these showcases and they're, they've grown into soccer. They're in hockey now you're starting to have them. And on seven football again, I don't know what it's called within basketball. And you know, the, the pessimist in me feels like a lot of this is a money grab. And I try to explain to my athletes like, look, go do really well for your high school team have that positive impact within the school hallways, be a great student. This stuff is going to Take care of itself, especially in today's world with video online and. Am I off base and, and again, I'm not bashing the showcases, but I just feel like it's gotten out of control and it's almost become the focus for kids. And I don't begrudge them. I get that they're chasing their dreams, but I think it's miss channeled.

Bryan:

yeah, in basketball, I'm assuming those are kind of like individual showcases and the other sports.

Luke:

Well, what it is is they'll bring you create like the super teams and they'll go play each other. So you'll have some team.

Bryan:

Okay.

Luke:

From Illinois, go play some team from Indiana and you have to spend a lot of money to be on this selective team.

Bryan:

Yeah, You know, for basketball, it's probably, similar to the AAU circuits with, the Eydl and under Armour and Adidas and, you know, I think there's definitely benefits of, uh, you know, again, I, I'm not familiar with the other sports in terms of kind of how they go about it, but, you know, the AAU part in basketball has been extremely prevalent and important over the last, you know, a decade and continues, to be, you know, it's not in a lot of the programs, the kids aren't paying money. So it's not a, the AAU programs and the tournaments who put those showcase tournaments on make money from the college coaches. Cause we have two. You know, 300 bucks to get a book with all the rosters and the kids' names and stuff like that. the kids don't, or the kids' families usually don't have to pay a lot of money for those things. A lot of times, the shoe sponsor teams are able to give them the jerseys and pay for the travel and everything like that. So it's a little bit different. I think the benefit of those. you get to play against some of the best players in the country and you get to go outside of the, you know, your high school teammates going against your high school conference and you get to go see, really good players from Alabama, New York, California, you know, all over and you get to kind of understand it's a big country out there. There's a lot of really good players. you know, for us, we always look at both, cause you can. Different player with your AAU team. then you can be with your high school team. you know, some kids are, a lot more comfortable in that high school system. Cause a lot of times you practice more, there's more defined roles. you know, and it's, you know, a little bit more structured at times. So, you know, we always kind of want to know, we always watch the high school film. We watched the AAU film and talk to both coaches, get All the information as possible. And then, you know, obviously, take our own opinions on the perspective student.

Luke:

All right. Yeah, no, that's really insightful. And you hit upon something. I heard Derek rose talk about that, pay to play piece before. And he mentioned that if you know, you're on the team, that's getting looked at by colleges if you're not paying for it. And that's what you just alluded to as well. And I think that is in line with kind of what I'm talking about. Like, if you're good at. The coaches are going to find you in a certain element, whatever sport that may be, and you're not going to have to pay. To be exposed is basically what my point is. So, uh, it sounds like basketball is very similar to some other sports, that have that. And I, I cringe at where football is going with seven on seven. I worry about where it's all going at least. but we'll see, but that's all about adjusting how we coach and you've talked about adjusting with the transfer portal. Another adjustment you have to do is with the. if you want to comment how you feel about that, that's up to you. I don't know, from a PR standpoint, what you're supposed to say about that, but it's here and it's probably not going to go away. It's going to change in some fashion as we learn more about it, but it's not going away. So how have you been forced to adjust your approach? Now that players have figured out how to monetize them?

Bryan:

Yeah. You know, um, it it's, very fluid right now. Um, and you know, I think what was it yesterday or two days ago, possibly the, uh, And say just came out with some more, legislation, uh, against collectives and I, and I all stuff and regulations, trying to control it or not control it, but I would say manage it a little bit better. What was initially set out, four or five months ago when basically it was just completely open market and there was not really any regulation and as college coaches, we, weren't given a lot of information about, really what is allowed, what isn't allowed. you know, obviously it's state by state. and in terms of, the governance of it, um, you know, I think for. the student athletes. I mean, I think it's great that they're able to make money off their name, image, and likeness, and that they're able to make extra money or have a basketball camp in their hometown and make money from that. Or if a restaurant wants to call them up and have them do a commercial, I think that's outstanding, you know, and for our guys, we always, you know, then to take advantages of everything that they possibly can, you know, and, provide them? with whatever we can to make sure their experience here, uh, is a great one. you know, I think for us, everyone's doing it different ways right now and, and you know, we're not at the BCS level where it's just crazy, crazy amounts of money going on and, I think for our level, you know, We don't want anything to interfere with the locker room, um, with interfere with the chemistry, um, for as coaches, you know, we're not having much involvement with that. You know, our department is trying to, go out there and find people that will support all the student athletes in this department. And, like I said, I mean, they definitely should be able to monetize, you know, off. Their name or, their image or do commercials or do camps. So I think that's definitely a positive step. You know, it's going to be interesting where everything goes over the next five years in college athletics. Cause it's, it's changing and you just gotta adapt and adjust and, and, you know, and that's what we're trying to do.

Luke:

So given all of these changes that we've talked about from transfer portals to crazy recruiting schedules to the long hours, to the fact that let's be honest, you guys at the D one level on a very short leash, do you think the role of coach, at least at your level has changed? I mean, do you really have to put such an emphasis on the outcomes and winning and losing or de-risk it and still just focus on. The players. I know you care about your players. I have no doubt about that, but you also have a job to do so. So what are you doing in this tough world to try to balance these.

Bryan:

Yeah. Well, if you don't have relationship and you don't have the trust, then I don't think you can coach them. and I don't think, you'll be successful. The outcome won't be there. So if you just focus on wins and losses, Uh, I don't see, how over an extended period of time you can be successful as a coach. I think it starts with that relationship piece with that trust piece. And I think it's now more important than ever, because just because you're, the coach probably doesn't resonate as much as it maybe used to 10 or 15, 20 years ago. Um, you know, now they got. No, you, they gotta trust you. they gotta understand that you care about them. they gotta know that you want what's best for them. and that's kinda been our process here in terms of building this program is a always recruit character. recruit guys who love it, recruit guys who are in it for the right reasons who are kind of committed to graduating and committed to being a good person in the community and committed to working hard and loving the game. Um, but you know, the two biggest things we talk about every day is the player relationship side with our guys and the player development side. If we can have relationships and they can trust us, we feel like we can have that continuity in our program. And if we can have that continuity, then the development piece. The court will be able to take place. And we believe in what we do in terms of our development with our guys individually and as a team. So, um, you know, that's why I love coaching is the relationship piece and kind of putting all the pieces together and figuring out how, you know, a group of 15 young men can achieve something that maybe they didn't even think was possible. you know, I don't think. We're going to change, you know, no matter where the everything else goes in college athletics, because the relationship piece is always going to be real.

Luke:

And talk about building that program. Maybe you don't have the outcomes that you want, or maybe don't have the outcomes that the guys you're directly to recruiting against have, and they could walk into someone's living room and have that ring on their finger Everett. How do you motivate your own players to stick to that process that you have created? And how do you recruit players to say, Hey, believe in my vision, even though maybe I don't have that outcome right now.

Bryan:

Yeah. That's obviously, uh, you know, the biggest challenge and, and building the program is, is getting the guys to believe there is no other way to do it. When the success hasn't been shown to them yet. Right. You know, I think a lot of, student athletes now want to sit, you know, want to see, you know, okay, this is, produced the championship. Okay. So now we'll do it instead of, kind of believe in that process. Uh, and for us at all, it comes back to the recruiting piece and, you know, making sure that we're doing our research into. The young men and their families, you know, it's not just recruiting the student athletes, recruiting the parents, finding out information about the parents, the brother and sister, because there's going to be ups and downs. There's going to be adversity. And you gotta have guys who were about the right stuff about whatever your culture is about, who, are similar to, I think you and your coaching staff. And that's so important. you know, I think it's just that. Belief, uh, that you have in the vision that you're setting forth for your program, and then making sure that the guys you have in the locker room have that same belief. And, we've been fortunate. We've had great continuity here. these last couple of years in our program. And, you know, we feel real excited about these next couple years.

Luke:

So my last question related to coaching for Ari and The. Session with a couple of fun lighthearted questions. Talk about teaching selflessness. You mentioned defensive basketball before. I think you may still be the record holder at SIU for all time assists, which is a sign of selflessness. I think playing defenses completely being selfless. And I feel like in today's world players are. Being taught to be selfish. How do you teach them to buy in the concept of team before me and to be selfless?

Bryan:

Yeah. Um, you know, it goes back, you know, first goes back to their current piece, you know, we're current, young men who have won before who understand, kind of what it takes to win. It it's different, you know, at this level, it doesn't. Happen overnight, but just guys who have been part of winning programs who, you know, have a hunger for it, you know, and that is so important. I can't stress that enough. and then, you know, I always ask the guys, you know, No, you guys chose to play tennis. No one chose to play golf. Everyone chose to play basketball and basketball is a team sport, you know, and if it's you, you're choosing to play this, no one has to be here right now. Then we're going to play as a team, you know? Cause that's what the sport entails. That's what great teams do. And then I also show him always, okay, this is first team, all league. This is the MVP from last year. This is all defensive. All these guys are on the top three, top four, top five teams in the league. You know, the MVP is almost always from the championship team. Uh, you know, and it's just winning solves a lot of them winning also rewards the individuals, but you have to have that selfless? approach. if you want to get, you know, the most out of your team.

Luke:

So you're a great player. Come on to Chicago land. And previous episode, we had coach Kleinschmidt on from DePaul prep, who also was a great Chicago land player. And I asked him some on the spot questions about Chicago basketball, that we had a lot of fun discussing. So I have to, I have to put them to you now, as we wrap this up first, who was the best player you ever personally played against at the high school?

Bryan:

at the high school? level, uh, probably trying to make sure all the teams we played against. I would probably say Shannon brown, Shannon there, deep brown, you know, obviously, you know, we played provisor we east and, uh, had battles with them, but, um, you know, uh, I'd probably say shit and then

Luke:

Growing up at Chicago land, in your opinion, who's the best basketball player to come out of Chicago high schools.

Bryan:

12.

Luke:

Tough one. I know.

Bryan:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Uh, I'm going to date myself because I'm sure my dad and probably a TK over there would say some different guys, um, best player to come out of the Chicago land area. Hmm. That's a good one. you know, obviously you look at guys who have had success. You know, in the MBA, um, It's going to be hard. Um, you know, with, with Derrick rose, you know, coming out, uh, you know, plays with such a chip on his shoulder. Um, you know, there's been so many great players. I mean, out of the Chicago land, I mean, I just, you know. one thing my dad always told me growing up is if you can play, if you can play in Chicago, you can play. you know, and a hundred percent, you know, believe that. And you know, he'd take us all over, the state and all over the city, you play against different teams, but you always said, you know, if you could play here, you could play anywhere. Don't worry about the other teams, you know, in different states or, you know, across the country.

Luke:

That's a great line. Now, granted, I'm biased because I'm from Chicago, but I, but I love that line. Your dad used to say, and lastly, how many times a day are you asked? What a Saluki, what is this?

Bryan:

Well, uh, when, when there's recruits on campus or if we're on the phone, uh, with a recruit or, or the family members, then, you know, at least once a conversation, luckily everyone that works here knows what a Saluki is right now. And all of our players do, uh, Egyptian racing dog, for everyone who is listening fastest, fastest, uh, belief. Fastest dog. there is or at least that's the tall tale that we say. Um, so, uh, now it's a, it's a special place down there. It's, uh, it was for the best years of my life, I'm, extremely honored and, and, uh, you know, just to represent this university again. So it's been a great three years and obviously looking forward to these next couple of.

Luke:

Well, there, you have it. We learned about recruiting and ill and what a Saluki is. I really appreciate that coach and I really appreciate your time being on the podcast with us. I know. Busy, as you mentioned, you have your family at home and plus your, your busy schedule throughout the day. So thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and speak on behalf of all of us from Chicago land. We're rooting for you. You're one of our own and, and wish you nothing, but the best.

Bryan:

No, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on again.

Making the Final Four
How to build a championship program
Prioritizing health as a coach
Building relationships & trust is needed to coach them