University of Kansas

Soon to turn 77, Larry Brown interested as ever in ‘teaching young players’

Former KU coach Larry Brown, who will be 77 on Thursday, says he’d “like to be with some NBA team and maybe be a mentor for a young coach and teach young players.”
Former KU coach Larry Brown, who will be 77 on Thursday, says he’d “like to be with some NBA team and maybe be a mentor for a young coach and teach young players.” The Associated Press

Hall of Famer Larry Brown has no plans to slow down as his 77th birthday approaches on Thursday.

Brown, the only coach to win both an NCAA championship (1988, Kansas) and NBA title (Detroit Pistons, 2004), made it clear in an interview with The Star that he’s open to offers of full-time employment.

“I’d like to be with some NBA team and maybe be a mentor for a young coach and teach young players,” Brown, presenter for Kansas coach Bill Self at Friday’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, said emphatically.

In August, Brown reaffirmed the notion he’s as interested as ever in “teaching” basketball players. He returned to the bench for the first time since resigning his SMU post after the 2015-16 season, leading USA East Coast (a traveling team made up of college players) to a 2-1 record against three international all-star teams.

“I took a young team to Spain, which was so much fun,” Brown said of that coaching gig.

He recently declined one intriguing job possibility.

“I had a chance to be involved with these academies they (NBA officials) are doing in Egypt, Australia, China, Senegal. I didn’t want to be living out of a suitcase,” Brown said.

Brown said if he doesn’t land some type of mentoring job for an NBA team — he mentioned the work of Pete Carril and Tex Winter in similar-type positions in the past — he may elect to spend the winter visiting coaching buddies on various college campuses.

That’s what he did during the 2016-17 college basketball season after turning down a job as boys basketball coach at East Hampton (N.Y.) High School.

Brown has owned a house in East Hampton for more than a decade.

“I’ll hang around Kansas as much as I can. I think I’d spend as much time in Lawrence and (also go) see Tad (Boyle, Colorado), Turg (Mark Turgeon, Maryland), Cal (John Calipari, Kentucky) and Jay Wright (Villanova) and learn. I feel there’s a lot of stuff I can share with kids. At the same time I feel I might be the 1,000 pound gorilla,” Brown added.

The conscientious Brown always likes to make sure he’s wanted by various coaches around the country before heading to their towns. Needless to say, he’s always welcomed to practices and film-room sessions with open arms.

“Bill (Self) has allowed me to be part of the program. He’s gone out of his way to include me, gone out of his way to allow me to hang around,” Brown said.

Brown finds it hard to believe this season marks the 30th anniversary of KU’s 1988 NCAA title.

“It coincides with 2008, right?” Brown said of the 10-year anniversary of KU’s 2008 title. “I will try to get all those guys (KU players) together, celebrate 30 years.”

Brown recently was pleased to see Kansas land a verbal commitment from Silvio De Sousa, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Brown is mighty familiar with De Sousa and De Sousa’s close friend, Bruno Fernando. Fernando committed to SMU when Brown was coach, but surfaced as a freshman at Maryland last season, switching allegiances after Brown left the Texas school.

“Bruno and Silvio were two (players) I got close to from Angola. Bruno was coming to SMU with me. He went with Mark (Turgeon) then,” Brown said. “I became close with their guardian (Fenny Falmagne).

“I was excited when I heard Kansas was interested in Silvio. After he visited, I heard from Fenny the guardian how much he loved KU. When I saw he committed … I don’t ever like to tell kids where to go. It’s not my place, but when they mention schools that I feel a relationship with and can speak intelligently about the coaches and community and school (with Falmagne) it’s good.”

“I’ve been close to Fenny a long time. He’s a good guy, cares about kids. When he told me Silvio was going to go to KU, that was great. I know Mark wanted him (at Maryland), but Mark got Bruno so I’m sure it worked out (for both KU and Maryland).”

Griffin picks Iowa State over KU, others

Zion Griffin, a 6-5 senior small forward from Hinsdale (Ill.) South, on Tuesday committed to Iowa State over Kansas, Pitt and Illinois State. Griffin, the No. 99-ranked player in the recruiting class of 2018 according to Rivals.com, had scheduled a visit to KU for Late Night in the Phog on Sept. 30.

“A beastly athlete, Griffin already has the body of a college sophomore or junior,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He loves to slash to the rim but is also a more than capable outside shooter. Because of his strength and ferocity in the lane, he’ll also be able to be used as a small ball 4-man and may remind Cyclone fans of former star Deonte Burton.”

Griffin told the Chicago Sun Times that Iowa State coach Steve Prohm, “was the first one to reach out to me. He was there from the beginning and I appreciated that and felt that genuine care.”

KU watches Robinson-Earl

KU coaches on Tuesday were to watch an open gym workout of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a 6-8 junior forward from Bishop Miege, who is ranked No. 16 in the recruiting class of 2019 by Rivals.com.

Robinson-Earl received a scholarship offer from Stanford on Tuesday.

The KC Run GMC AAU player has also been offered by KU, Missouri, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Creighton, Wake Forest, Washington, Oklahoma, Iowa and UCLA.

KU visits Harvey on Monday

KU on Monday traveled to Topeka Hayden to watch an open gym session of Zach Harvey, a 6-4 junior shooting guard who is ranked No. 38 in the recruiting class of 2019 by Rivals.com.

The KC Run GMC AAU player has received scholarship offers from KU, Kansas State, Creighton, UCLA, Oregon, Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wake Forest and others.

“I talk to Kansas probably once a month or so. We have a good relationship. It’s probably the same way with Kansas State,” Harvey told Rivals.com in June.

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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