Bob Hill Rumors
When asked if he had any relationship with Popovich, Hill laughed and said, “No.” Hill said he doesn’t lament San Antonio’s success under Popovich. “If it was that hard [to deal with] I wouldn’t live here,” he said. “It’s not hard for me. I know what happened. It’s been interesting to watch the team grow. The great thing about the Spurs is they have a great team but they have really great people. It’s all come to fruition right now.” But when asked about those years, when the Spurs were in transition with an aging Robinson and before Duncan emerged as a possibility, Hill wishes things had turned out differently. “I didn’t have any idea [Popovich wanted to coach], I had an idea after the second year [in 1995-96] and two teams called and asked for permission to talk to me and they wouldn’t give them permission,” he said. “I had a pretty strong feeling at that point if he had a chance to fire me, he was going to. I probably should have just resigned and got out of here. I stayed and he got the job. I’m sure he had that in mind all along.”
Seventeen years later, Popovich is a likely Hall of Fame coach with four NBA titles and one win from his fifth. Hill has lived in San Antonio for the past 11 years and has spent several years coaching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. “It’s part of life — [Popovich] always wanted to be the head coach, I just didn’t recognize it quick enough,” Hill said. “Listen, the last two games they have played against Miami have been just phenomenal. They have kicked Miami’s butt from one baseline to the other baseline, every facet of basketball, they’ve dominated. They’ve done it as a team and that’s a credit to the players. “When you play that well, you have to give them credit. They deserve it. What you’re witnessing with this team is real.”
Santa Cruz (Calif.) Warriors coach Casey Hill and staff are fully integrated and invested in the mission of the parent club, the Golden State Warriors. Hill, son of former NBA head coach Bob Hill, was promoted after two seasons as a Santa Cruz assistant. “The foundation of what we’re doing (in Santa Cruz) has a lot to do with what Golden State is doing,” said Hill, 30, who reports to Kirk Lacob, the Santa Cruz Warriors general manager and son of Golden State owner Joe Lacob. “I really paid attention during (Golden State) training camp. I got all their (offensive) actions, and we’re using all their terminology, using their actions. I feel I’m obligated to do that, because: A) It’s Golden State that’s running it. It’s their team, and this thing needs to be implemented where we’re developing players. … And, B) It’s my obligation to make it kind of a synergic kind of relationship where they send a player to us, he understands the system to us right away. Or if we send a player to them, he’s got a really good base knowledge of what they have set.”
Cartwright is the second former NBA head coach to be put in charge of a team in Japan’s professional league. Bob Hill, who coached Cartwright in 1986-87, guided the now-defunct Tokyo Apache during the 2010-11 campaign. Cartwright says he’ll be with Osaka until the end of the season and then decide what he’ll do next. “You never know,” Cartwright said. “If you had told me in January that I would be over here I would have said you are crazy. I am a basketball coach, I know that, so I’ll be coaching somewhere.”
At the beginning of September, Nakase attended a coaching clinic at the team’s practice site. She almost didn’t go, thinking it sounded too basic for someone with her experience. But Bob Hill was in her head again. Never turn down an invitation to step foot inside an NBA facility. So Nakase went to the clinic, convincing herself that good things happen when you least expect it. The clinic was pretty much Coaching 101. The man running it, however, was Dave Severns, the Clippers’ director of player personnel. He quickly noticed Nakase’s aptitude and made her his partner in demonstrating drills. She, in turn, chatted him up during every break in the action. By night’s end, Nakase had Severns’ email address and an open invitation to drop him a line. In years past, Nakase might have waited a few days to reach out to someone like Severns, being careful not to seem too eager. But when she got home from the clinic, she sent him a note and boldly requested to watch Clippers star Blake Griffin work out the next day. Severns responded immediately: Come on over.
Saitama point guard Darin Satoshi Maki, who played for the now-defunct Apache last season, introduced Nakase to Hill while she was visiting Maki and his wife, a longtime friend, in Tokyo before the 2010-11 season began. Nakase then joined Hill’s Apache staff. “As soon as I met Bob, I learned all these different tactics in terms of vocabulary to basketball,” she said. “He would use different words that I had never even heard of in practice, and that’s when I was like, wow; the NBA is a whole new level that I had no idea of in terms of vocabulary, drills, preparation. And when I saw how much work had to be done in order to achieve at the top level that just intrigued me 100 percent.”
Two decades later, Nakase is the first female head coach in Japan’s men’s pro basketball history. She was named the Saitama Broncos sideline supervisor after Dean Murray was relieved of his coaching duties on Nov. 24. Now she wants to begin taking Japanese lessons in order to become an effective communicator on and off the court. “Eight of the players speak Japanese only, and I don’t speak Japanese at all,” the 31-year-old admitted during a Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan meeting on Monday. Despite having a translator available during games, “I instantly want to talk to one of the players immediately, making a switch or something in the game.” When she replaced Murray, Nakase, a native of Huntington Beach, California, experienced a night that many first-time parents can relate to. “There wasn’t any sleep,” Nakase said, describing her life-changing job opportunity. “The first person I called was my dad and I’m like, ‘Dad, guess what’s happening?’ And he was just as shocked as I was. And I’m like, ‘What do you think.’ His best advice to me was, ‘Natalie, just don’t be afraid to fail.’ ”
Nakase has an open mind about returning to the Broncos next season if she’s offered a contact extension. But her ultimate goal is to reach the sport’s pinnacle: to coach in the NBA. “It doesn’t necessarily mean head coach, “she said, “but just being a part of a program in the NBA and reaching a level where it’s the highest level in your sport, I think, that is definitely a goal of mine.”
Chinese Taipei hired former San Antonio Spurs coach Bob Hill as a consultant to the National Team and the team has shown some remarkable discipline in their approach dropping games only to tournament favorites Iran and Korea en route to their third successive entry into the last eight. “We have a lot of work to do,” Hill said in an exclusive chat with this website after the team made the cut into the play-offs. Excerpts: On the team’s performance: We still have a lot of things we can improve on. And at times we have shown tremendous improvement. I thought we played a really good game against Iran. But then there are times like against Korea, when we haven’t looked good at all. We looked a very badly coached team. We haven’t really played to our potential, which is a little bit disappointing. We kind of play to the level of our opponent. So the Philippines game (quarterfinal) will be good.
A technical consultant from the NBA said Wednesday that the Taiwan men’s basketball national team needed to assemble soon to better prepare for two major games in July and September. Several China-based players, including some of the best ones, have not yet been able to return to join the Taiwan team for the past month’s training due to their commitments to their clubs in the China Basketball League (CBL). The 18-man national team is gearing up for the William Jones Cup next month, an annual intercontinental event hosted by Taiwan. The team is also scheduled to play in the FIBA Asia Championship in September to try to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. “That’s the first thing that has to happen — get everybody here that wants to be a part of this team. And I think then and only then are you gonna find out how good they can be,” said Bob Hill, a former coach of several NBA teams, including the San Antonio Spurs.
Hill, who mentored David Robinson while winning 62 games with the San Antonio Spurs in 1994-95, also coached in New York, Indiana, Seattle and several countries before joining the Apache this season in Japan’s basketball league, where teams often play three American players at a time. He said Tyler had simply been too young to jump from his junior year at San Diego High School to a different culture. “How can you send an 18-year-old to Israel by himself? First of all, the Israel league is good. There’s no way he was ready, especially if he didn’t have an American coach who could bring him along. I mean, they took him out of high school in his junior year. It was a disaster. He didn’t do well. He’s doing much better here than he did in Israel.”
In a number of e-mails and interviews with league sources in recent days, it’s become clear that numerous imports from other bj-league teams have discussed or are considered leaving Japan in fear of more natural disasters and health risks. For a league with nearly 35 percent of its players coming from overseas, a mass exodus of players — and possibly foreign head coaches L.J. Hepp (Oita HeatDevils), Zeljko Pavlicevic (Shimane Susanoo Magic), Bob Nash (Saitama Broncos) and Bob Pierce (Akita Northern Happinets) — would compound this unforeseen chain of events.
Neu, however, said things are still up in the air. “I’m told the league will make a decision and announce an official statement soon and we’re waiting for that,” he said. “As with the rest of the country, plans change hourly. The team is still in Tokyo at the moment, although we canceled practice today as we make decisions on what to do.”
The Tokyo Apache’s season isn’t officially over, but the team’s American players and head coach, Bob Hill, were busy making plans to leave the country as soon as possible, The Japan Times has learned. With the uncertainty of widespread health risks due to the Fukushima nuclear plant’s radiation leak problems in the aftermath of Friday’s devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, the Apache’s foreign personnel, including Hill, general manager Conor Neu and players Robert Swift (ex-NBA center), Mike Chappell, Justin Johnson, Jeremy Tyler (teenage NBA prospect and projected second-round draft pick), Byron Eaton and Darin Satoshi Maki were on the verge of leaving the country as of press time on Wednesday afternoon.
Apache coach Bob Hill said talent alone isn’t the only factor in the way players are drafted nowadays. “We’ve started drafting players on potential,” he said. “No 19-year-old is going to go into the NBA and help you win. It’s not going to happen. As great as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were (coming out of high school) . . . you can help a team win but you are not going to go in and impact a team. “So now we are drafting these young ones and the D-League (NBA Development League) is a big part of it.” “His progress has been solid. He’s gotten a lot better lately and we’ll get back to the States and get him ready for the draft.”
Tyler had 10 points and eight rebounds in the series finale in 21 minutes a day after notching his second double-double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds in 19 minutes). “Me and him and assistant coach Casey (Hill) have set short-term goals,” Tyler admitted, “so maybe this week I’ll focus on keeping the ball up, or sprinting every single play no matter what. Coach is doing a really good job since the day I met him. And he’s going to continue to do it because he believes in me and I trust him.”
It’s true, though, that Tokyo Apache forward-center Jeremy Tyler has enormous potential as a basketball player. And he’s in the early stages of a career that could someday earn him hundreds of millions of dollars in the NBA. For now, he’s working diligently under the guidance of ex-NBA coach Bob Hill, who’s in his first year guiding the Apache. Like the 210-cm Tyler, the Apache are a work in progress, with a .500 record through 16 games.
“He shows me and teaches me and I learn from him every single day,” Tyler said without hesitation. “The reason I’m here is because it’s a great program and Coach Bob is here. I couldn’t get a better coach. I couldn’t get a better man, mentor, father figure in my life than coach, really.”
Former NBA coach Bob Hill will direct the Tokyo Apache in Japan’s professional basketball league. The 61-year-old Hill held head coaching positions in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Seattle SuperSonics. He’s the first coach with NBA head coaching experience in Japan’s professional basketball league. “We are thrilled to bring in coach Hill to join this team,” Apache general manager Conor Neu said Friday. “The signing of coach Hill demonstrates this organization’s commitment to our fans and players.”