Bill Bayno Rumors

This past season there were a few assistant coaches that were fired or demoted in the middle of the season – Lawrence Frank, Brian Scalabrine… As a high-profile assistant coach yourself, how do you navigate those waters between really saying and doing what you want to do without stepping on anybody else’s toes? Bill Bayno: Staff chemistry is so important. I’ve always said that if I, as an assistant, can’t get along with the other assistants, or can’t be able to agree to disagree, then I’m being disloyal to the head coach and the organization. I don’t know what happened over those places, but I think the biggest thing is that you can’t have an ego. It has to be about the team.
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You work a lot with the young guys. Who do you expect to have a breakout season this year? Bill Bayno: T-Ross and Jonas are still in that stage of their careers where they have a lot of room for improvement. I think they will continue to grow. I think both of those guys can be All-Stars. We drafted Bruno Caboclo, who I think has a tremendous future, but this year it will be hard for him to break in because we have our Top 10 coming back. We’re going to work hard to develop him. He’s a great kid, he’s got a bright future, really listens and learns, has a high basketball IQ. So he’s the one guy to watch but I don’t think it’s his time yet to have a breakout year with the way our roster’s shaped up.
Have you coached anybody in the NBA that you could tell was going through the same problems that you had? Bill Bayno: Yeah, I’ve had many players. I think was able to help them. It’s everywhere, there’s very few families in the United States that don’t have an alcoholic in their family or a friend or a distant relative… It’s there, it’s a big part of human being’s DNA. I’ve had a bunch [of NBA players]. In any segment of society, certain percentage are going to have the alcoholic gene, and I’ve always tried to help those guys, and in many cases I have. How could you tell? Bill Bayno: It’s easy. If you’re an alcoholic, you know one when you see one the first day you see him hungover because you see yourself. You see it in their eyes, in their body language, in their behaviour. I can say that was me. An alcoholic knows an alcoholic when he sees one.
It all started to unravel in 1999, his last full season in Vegas. Bayno told himself he wasn’t going to drink during the season, but UNLV suffered a particularly difficult loss to Oklahoma State on Dec. 18. A holiday break started on Dec. 22, and Bayno was asked to join some buddies for a late lunch after some Christmas shopping. “Boom, we’re at lunch, a couple beers, a couple glasses of wine and it turned into four in the morning, out all night,” he said. “I just woke up that morning ashamed and really broke down.”
Bayno had normal nights like that through the rest of his playing career and they followed him into coaching. Somehow, he was always able to manage it. He worked under P.J. Carlesimo at Seton Hall and Larry Brown at Kansas, and helped John Calipari resurrect the program at UMass. It wasn’t until he was a hot shot 32-year-old hired to get UNLV back on the national map that it really started to catch up to him. Now an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bayno has been sober for nearly 11 years. He had to go through the CBA, ABA and the Philippines to re-establish himself in the hoops community, and he’s spent that time also searching for a little more balance in a life that was sometimes consumed by the game.
Bayno will travel to Montenegro for two weeks in August to work with center Nikola Pekovic, who should be cleared by then for full-contact practice after undergoing May surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle. Newly signed center Greg Stiemsma — who will be officially introduced Thursday at Target Center — will either work with Bayno and Pekovic in Montenegro or with Bayno in Los Angeles next month.