Just ask two of the present coaches on the high school and college levels if the timing and person was the right decision in naming P.J. Carlesimo as the interim head coach of the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association?
Bishop Loughlin high school assistant varsity coach Bob Leckie, who has been around the high school and college game for many years, feels that the players turn a season record around and it’s not a coach.
When the Nets’ management fired Avery Johnson after he earned NBA Coach of the Month honors for November, his assistant P.J. Carlesimo, who brings a wealth of experience to the pro game, was the right choice. PJ also knows the local college and high school scenes because he’s been around this area.
“The Nets need a hard profile coach, (to do the job),” said Leckie, whose main concern is to get healthy and return to the bench of the Catholic High School team. “I ‘could’ step in as an advance scout. We at Loughlin right now are 6-1 and are very high on junior Khadeem Carrington, (who is capable of becoming our all-time top scorer).”
On the college level, Ron St. John, head coach at NCAA Division III York College, felt it was premature that Avery Johnson left the Nets.
“They (Nets Management) didn’t give him a chance (after a month of excellent team basketball). Now PJ has to get the most out of his players. Right now he is the right choice. He has to make a statement.”
Carlesimo is the interim head coach. Other names including Mark Jackson, former NBA star guard and a native New Yorker, could step in and has been mentioned and could step at future time.
Let’s see how PJ does. This reporter feels that PJ was the right man for the job. Look, he has a wealth of experience both on the college and pro levels, coaching on the pro level, knows the New York area, and most important has been the assistant coach for over a year. He knows the players and has the voice and ability to step right in. Because he is the most experienced of the assistant coach on the staff, the front office moved him up.
However, it is never ideal for any coach to take over in mid-season with little practice time to install radical departures. The emphasis has to be on playing hard and less on the Xs and Os. PJ could stress playing hard both in practice and in games. He has to emphasize the right plays at the right time.
Time will only tell for the Nets and one month can not make a difference unless injuries to key players become a factor.
It’s always good to see a person with a local background step to the front and give it all that he has.
Remember, he coached Seton Hall to the NCAA Final Four during his days of coaching in the college ranks. Of course, the NBA is a different game, but he has that winning background.
He knows how to prepare the players for a particular game and opponent.
Management and fans alike, only want a championship, no more. They are talking about it now. But realistically it won’t happen this year, unless they get some kind of streak going now.
They are in a tough division of the NBA.