February 16, 2012

Handy hits LA

Kevin McCarthy

A dream is just that unless and until actions are taken moving towards what is desired. But even then achievement, if ever fully realized, takes plenty of toil just to near let alone reach the prize. Phil Handy would love to have enjoyed a lengthy and fruitful career as a player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). That goal wasn't actualized but a recalibration now has him as a member of coaching staff at arguably the most prestigious franchise in the NBA.

photo of Phil Handy

Handy just signed a three-year contract as the player development coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Think about that.

As Handy put it, "working for the Lakers, the thought never really crossed my mind. The first time on an NBA staff and starting out with the Lakers. That doesn't happen everyday!"

This means besides working alongside Head Coach Mike Brown, Handy will also be interacting with John Kuester, Chuck Person, Quinn Snyder and Darvin Ham, all assistant coaches, plus Ettore Messina, a longtime legendary coach in Europe who is working as a special assistant for the Lakers. Plus, there's some guy named Kobe.

"It's a blessing, a great opportunity to work with top notch professionals. I have put in a lot of hard work over the last 13 years, built a good business and name for myself in this industry and this is not a bad reward," Handy offered.

So how did this move come about?

Well, it was some time in the making.

Handy knew David Patrick, who was hired as an assistant at St. Mary's College (and is now a scout for the Houston Rockets).

"We played together in Australia," Handy explained.

Patrick eventually became an Associate Head Coach under Randy Bennett before moving on to Houston in 2010.

That friendship led to a number of Gael players working on skill development with Handy during the summers.

Bennett was impressed with the progress his players made.

When Phil Jackson departed and Brown was hired to run the Lakers, Bennett (who is friends with Brown) dropped a dime, according to Handy.

"Randy called Mike Brown and said ‘you need to hire this guy.’ Over the years, I have had different opportunities in Europe and the NBA but this was an opportunity I could not pass up."

Apparently, when Bennett calls, Brown listens.

"I have so many people I need to thank," Handy said. "Randy Bennett is the #1 reason I got this job. I also want to thank Chris Mullin, Dell Demps [general manager of the New Orleans Hornets], [Stanford Coach] Johnny Dawkins and [BDA Sports Management agent] Bill Duffy because all of these people spoke up. I wouldn't be here without some of the great relationships I have built over the years in the Bay Area. [Former Marin Catholic High Coach] Rick Winter is also a big part of this in so many ways as he believed in my ability to train and opened up a lot of doors for me."

The sad news -- if there is any -- is that Team 94 will no longer operate. "I built a business from the ground up involving training college and international clients and working with kids. I loved digging into the community and wouldn't change anything I did in the last 10 years. I am going to miss being in the Bay Area doing my training and working with the kids but someday I will be back to do even more."