Candice Dupree enters the coaching career through the NBA Assistant Program

CHICAGO – Jamila Weidman watched a potential NBA draft set up walk away from running practice to shoot free throws at an unoccupied basket.

It was obvious that the player was tired. And Candice Dupree immediately intervened to “increase his speed”.

“All you do is bounce back and get back at it,” said Weidmann, senior vice president of player development for the NBA. “But you saw her see what he was going through, and that little shift in her energy. As a player, it’s a gift for someone to do that.”

This is an example of the coaching prowess within Dupre, the former Temple star who then enjoyed a 16-year professional career in and outside the WNBA before retiring last fall. She is now exploring bringing that experience to the fringes, a transition bolstered by the NBA’s Assistant Coaches Program for former professional players, which, earlier this month, sent Dupree to work on the field with prospects for testing for executives, scouts and coaches ahead of next season. Draft.

“You work alongside these people who have been in the NBA for years, so it’s very nice to talk to them and pick their brains and take advantage of all the knowledge,” Dupre said.

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Dupre always thought she was impatient with training – until she became a mother to 4-year-old twins. A conversation with Bonnie Thurston, the director of WNBA player programs that Dupree has known since she was a freshman, about potential NBA opportunities after she finished playing, transitioned to the assistant coaches program. The program, currently directed by Erjaam Hayes and Stacey Lovelace, has been around since 1988 and has trained more than 200 former NBA, WNBA and G League players, including 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns.

The ACP includes classroom-style virtual training sessions on film and exploration technology used at all levels, such as Synergy and SportsCode, which Dupree said have been very helpful. Participants also get a weekly Exploratory Report and assignments for movie clips slammed by former NBA coach Butch Carter, who “will tear you apart.” [expletive] Far…but it’s good, because it helps you learn,” Dupree said.

Dupre also recently helped out on the field at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a college senior boot camp surveyed by NBA personnel. She is also scheduled to work at the NBA World Players Academy in Atlanta and then the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

In this role, Dupree could pull off her former coaches, including Dawn Staley at Temple and Geno Auriemma with Team USA and Pokey Chatman at the WNBA. Within the collection, Dupree said she aims to “keep it light, because [the players are] Already nervous” while still making corrections when necessary. During the squabbles, Dupree was given assignments as head coach, setting up plays during time-outs and shouting instructions from the sideline.

“[I try to] I’m not being preachy with them, because they already have enough pressure,” Dupree said. “But give them the information they need to know, the things we’ve been told to train them.”

Dupree’s recent personal events have also allowed him to communicate. She has been linked to fellow ACP co-stars, former WNBA teammate Elaine Powell, and former men’s professional players Jason Maxiell and Isaiah Austin. She has also interviewed key NBA employees, such as Orlando Magic assistant general manager Anthony Parker and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant general manager Joe Branch. Among responsibilities on the field, Dupre was among those who mingled with NBA personnel within the lobby of the Chicago hotel adjacent to the Wintrust Arena.

Wideman describes this inclusion as a particularly serendipitous performance measure during the Assistant Coaches Program, as it brings together those who are phasing out their playing career with prospects on the verge of becoming a professional. It also embodies the program’s larger goal of tapping into the natural capabilities of former players as lifelong learners, leaders, and people of opportunity. However, Weidmann is impressed with the courage of these former players to make a deliberate move into that new chapter.

“There is a period of mourning and sadness about being away from the game and, at the same time, trying to learn something new,” said Weidman, who played in the WNBA for more than three seasons after an impressive career at Stanford. “…It is a journey that is definitely about your technical skills, but it is a journey that is about you as a human being and you make a leap.

“I have tremendous respect for the people who raise their hands to do this, and I feel so honored to be a witness and to be a part of this very moment in that transitional period.”

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It’s a fun time to train women for men’s basketball. Becky Hammon, who interviewed for several major NBA coaching jobs while helping out with the San Antonio Spurs and was presumably the first woman to be hired for the role, recently became the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA. Kara Lawson and Neal Ivey, who were associates at the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively, left these positions to become the head coaches for the college’s prestigious women’s programs Duke and Notre Dame, respectively. Meanwhile, Christy Tolliver has just wrapped up her season as a Dallas Mavericks assistant and will immediately join the Los Angeles Sparks to play her thirteenth season in the WNBA.

Dupre also sees female role models as Ednisha Curry, an assistant at Portland Trail Blazers who also trained in collecting. Dupree and Powell together searched Google for teams that had women on their coaching staff. weighs Dupree follow-up jobs in the NBA, where “I’ve gone MuchDuring a regular season of 82 games, or college positions from which she could one day build her own program.

But speaking in Chicago with an Indiana Pacers employee gave Dupree hope that a future as an NBA coach could be viable, even as a mother. I’ve learned that head coach Rick Carlisle allows assistant Jenny Boucek, who has a young child, to have a more flexible schedule including no set road games.

“It kind of makes you feel like, ‘Okay, I really have a chance,'” Dupre said. “Obviously a lot of it is who you know, which is why this stuff is huge.”

That conversation was made possible by the NBA’s assistant coaches program.