Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Calgary Coach Hired by NBA's Phoenix Suns

Received this note tonight from Dave Love from Calgary who must be thrilled at the prospects of working daily with an NBA guy. He plans to chronicle his experience at his Love of the Game Blog.

Incidentally, I ironically met and hung out for a bit with former Duke star Chip Engelland (mentioned below as Dave's mentor/contact) in California going back about 22 years while visiting Welland's (actually Port Robinson's) own Mike Smrek when he was a member of the Lakers. Chip was a really good guy who could really shoot it with almost picture-perfect form. We watched pickup games at UCLA (not Pawley but the rec gym) every morning involving Chip, Magic Johnson (never fouled anyone and always got fouled), Reggie Miller (he had just graduated from UCLA), Reggie Theus, Charles Rochelin, Trevor Wilson, Smrek and many, many others. One of the highlights was watching ex-Western Mustang Jamie Ziegel and ex-Brock Badger/Acadia Axemen Mike Zareski, still in great shape at the time, call out "we got next" with a couple of other guys - they didn't last very long although Zigs took a lot of shots.

To cap the story off, a couple of other of my best friends who were also on the trip with us, Paul Hopper (ex-Mac Marauder) and Mike "Stick" Voelkner (ex-Mac & Queen's) drove home from California in a van and made a pit stop in Indiana: first in Bloomington and Assembly Hall where they played two-on-two (and allegedly defeated) Damon Bailey and another guy (Stick had great post moves and Hopps could knock shots down all day when he was wide open) and then they drove to French Lick and found Larry Legend at a golf course and Larry had beers with them in the van they drove - we have pictures, which were subsequently used as Christmas cards, to prove it. Not a bad trip playing pickup with Magic and then later having a pint with Larry Bird in your Get-a-way van. But somehow that's how we were able to roll in those days... now back to my 4 kids.

Local shooting coach, Dave Love, hired by Phoenix Suns

Calgary, AB - Dave Love has been to hired by the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns to be a shooting coach for power forward Louis Amundson.

The Calgary native was contacted by Phoenix’s General manager Steve Kerr in April of this year to begin work with Amundson. Love was charged with helping the 2nd year Sun improve his shooting mechanics.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to work with both Louis and the Phoenix Suns,” Love said. “This will allow me to grow as a coach and I can then help share that experience and knowledge with the many players that I work with across Canada.”

Love is the owner and operator of the Love of the Game Shooting Camps that are based out of Calgary, and he provides camps and clinics across Canada to help young players improve their shooting techniques. He has also been the shooting coach for the men’s team at the University of Calgary for the last four seasons. Prior to that Love worked with the Mount Royal College Cougars for the previous two years. Love learned his craft from current San Antonio Spurs Player Development Coach Chip Engelland.

Amundson averaged 13.7 minutes a game last season with the Suns while contributing 4.2 points per game. Amundson’s free throw percentage for the 2008-09 season was 44.2% which was 32.9% under the league average of 77.13%. Love has been working with Amundson throughout the summer, and the results have been such that Phoenix asked Love to be involved throughout the season. Love will be attending the Suns 2009 Training camp and will also be spending three day stints with Phoenix throughout the regular season.

Throughout the coming months Love will be writing a blog on Amundson’s progress as well as his experiences working with the Suns. The blog will be available at www.theloveofthegame.com.

The Love of the Game camps and clinics are available for all young basketball players. Please visit www.theloveofthegame.com for more details.

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