- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls forward Brian Scalabrine wants to play in the NBA for as long as he possibly can, but after spending 11 years in the league, he realizes that he must at least start thinking about what he wants to do after his playing career ends.
"There are a few things that's on my radar," he said. "I want to play for as long as I can. Eventually one day I probably won't be able to play in the NBA. But I had a fun time playing in Europe (during the lockout). I was thinking about going back there."
After saying repeatedly over the past few years that he really didn't want to get into coaching, Scalabrine admitted that he may take a closer look in the next few years if the right situation presented itself, especially at USC, his alma mater.
"Right now, an iron in the fire would be I see USC's kind of struggling and I would like to maybe go and be their head coach," he said. "It's very, very unrealistic for a player from the NBA to slide right into a head coaching job in college, especially at a high profile program like that.
"But just going through the interview process with the AD [Pat Haden] and just talking to him. I would assume that I could sell myself. Everything I do I believe in. I think that I would do a good job. I think I would work with the kids. I think I would be fine recruiting. I think I would put the right people in position to help me coach the way college is."
Of course, Scalabrine, who has become a cult hero throughout his years with the Boston Celtics and the Bulls, says there's also a chance he might get into television.
"There's also the opportunity of going back to Boston and doing TV for the Boston Celtics," he said. "Sort of what Stacey King does [for the Bulls]. I've talked to Stacey about it and he says he really likes his job and he has fun doing it. I think that would be a good thing to do. But maybe I just do nothing. Go home and spend time with my children, I don't know."
Scalabrine said that his time playing in Italy has re-energized his passion for the game.
"Basketball is probably more in my blood than I thought," he said. "When I went to Europe and was playing all those minutes, it really sparked up this ... I really want to ... this game is a good game. There's a lot to learn. A lot to teach. I just don't know in the NBA how much teaching is going on. Besides Doc [Rivers] and [Tom Thibodeau], who are, to me, phenomenal, another level. It would be very, very difficult to get to that point."
Scalabrine admits that a college coaching job is very intriguing to him. He wants to share all that he's learned during his long career as as an NBA player and pass it along to different generations.
"I think the only three jobs that I would ever take would be [as] an assistant or a head coach at USC, Oregon or Washington," he said. "Because I really enjoy the Pac . I like the way the system is. I like those three places a lot. USC being a place I went to school so ... With the Oregon and Washington [jobs] I have a lot of connections, I know a lot of the high school coaches up there, a lot of the college coaches up there. I think I would do a good job of recruiting the area. So when I say I don't want to coach, the NBA level is just a whole 'nother animal with the games coming at you.
"But ... two games a week, one game week, you can study. You can really prepare. You can prepare your team. It's a much different life than going through a walk-through in a hotel ballroom. And it's a more laidback lifestyle. It's not as high profile. You've got to work, but it's not as high profile as the NBA where it's just one thing after another after another. Media and this thing and that thing. It's a much different life."
He knows it will probably take a few years to even be considered for any coaching position, if that is the direction he decides to go, but the man who has spent most of his life around the game knows that you can't get any job without at least interviewing for one. If an interview pops up in the next couple of years, Scalabrine certainly isn't opposed to sitting down and speaking with whoever is in charge.
"I think for me it's just about going through the interview process," he said. "Just seeing what people are looking for and then learning that way. Anytime you do something, you have an opportunity to learn. Let's say I'm putting together my resume; my offensive philosophy, my defensive philosophy. As I'm putting it together there's going to be holes in it. You can fill those holes as you go through that.
"Right now the (USC) job's not even available, I'm just saying. Those are the schools ... I like those areas. I think I would do good with that."
Scalabrine already seems to have nailed down his potential recruiting pitch.
"I think I would be honest with kids," he said. "Like this is the deal, everybody wants to go to the NBA, everybody. Even guys that have no chance of making it to the NBA want to go to the NBA. And I can tell them, 'Listen I had no chance of making the NBA and I made an 11-year career out of it. So I want to show you guys, if you want to make it, it takes work. It takes real hard work, maybe stuff that you don't want to do. And then find out what you're good at and being really good at that one thing. Then get an opportunity and then you build yourself up."'
Scalabrine looks forward to sharing his experiences with younger players down the line. He looks forward to that challenge that could come with teaching them something new.
"Here's the funny thing: I remember in college we used to work out with the strength coach," he said. "If I was a head coach in college, once a week I would work with my team. I'd be doing everything they would do, going through all the workouts that they would go through. If we were doing conditioning, I would go through the conditioning with them.
"Because I want to show you guys, 'Yeah, I'm your head coach, but going through that with you, it means that I'm in the fight with you guys. I'm going through the fire with you guys.' I think that kind of stuff is important. I'm not just some figure that is not relating to my players. I'm with you, you're with me. We're building this thing together. I want you to have the best thing in your life if I can help you go here, go there, NBA, overseas, get a job. I feel like I can help you do that.'"
No matter which direction he decides to go, it's clear that Scalabrine holds Rivers and Thibodeau in the highest regard.
"My position on the team had no bearing on the way those guys treated me," he said. "Me and Doc would talk just as much as probably, not the starters because they had to talk about the game, but the sixth man who he counts on and the 15th man who he doesn't count on. We talked philosophy and ideas and I would bring a play to him and he would like it.
"The same thing with Thibs. He's like, 'What do ya got?' And I'll say, 'We'll they're playing Kyle [Korver] a certain way on this 51. What do you think about going 51 counter?' He's like, 'I like 51 counter. OK' And then he'll tell me something and the reasoning will blow right over my head. And I would have to go over to him and ask him, 'What's your reasoning behind doing this?' And he'll spell it out for me. 'Oh, I see. This is what you're looking for. This is what you were thinking about. OK, I got you. Now I understand.' So it's like the game is always doing that, learning. Learning from Thibs, learning from Doc, learning from Derrick [Rose]. 'Derrick, when you play against him, what do you think?' [He says] 'Oh man, when I play against this guy I have to do it this way.' 'Oh, OK' ... It's all learning, learning, learning, learning, and I really enjoy that."
14hMatt Walks, ESPN.com
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