For the last four seasons, Scott Schroeder has been a constant for the Reno Bighorns. Serving as the team’s assistant coach and director of player personnel, Schroeder took time to speak with Golden 1 Center.com to share his thoughts on working with the Kings and what it’s like competing in the D-League.
On Sacramento formally acquiring the Bighorns before the start of the season:
“It was really exciting for us. [They] always had some interest in us, but never the actual full control. I started hearing rumbles this year at Summer League and then after that, and it really shows how much they’re really invested in us, how exciting it could be. Bringing us over here for this game and then another one next week, it just shows how much more influence they’re going to have on us moving forward and with all their young guys how much development is going to mean to them going forward.”
On first impressions of Golden 1 Center:
“It’s got to be the best facility in the NBA, easily. It’s an incredible place and you can see why players would want to be here and why fans want to come out.”
On aspects of this facility you’re most looking forward to:
“I think it gives the players a little more incentive. This is why we’re in the D-League – to get to the NBA. So to get a feel and even just be on the practice courts today with Vlade (Divac), Peja [Stojakovic] and Ken [Catanella] watching – it’s impressive and it shows the guys they’re this close to the NBA. If they keep working, good things will happen hopefully.”
Thoughts on Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis:
“We saw Malachi early in the season. And then obviously, he got some minutes up here, but with us it was more about getting his confidence up. He came down and had a big game winner for us. He’s a very good shooter. He’s kind of learning – going from Syracuse defense to NBA defense, that’s a little bit of a different thing. But with us, he really just played hard. Malachi is already a good player, he’s just gotta get used to the NBA style.
With Skal, we’ve been fortunate to have him quite a bit. He’s so skilled. He’s just a young guy who didn’t get to play much at Kentucky, so it’s getting reps for him and he’s obviously very good.
Then Papa, we’ve loved Papa in Reno. He tries probably harder than any player on assignment for sure. Probably anybody in the D-League. You can tell he wants to get better, he really takes it personally when he feels he’s not doing as good as he can.
It’s great to see guys come down and know what the D-League can do for them, how much it can help them develop, and how hard they want to work because of that.”
On the current season in Reno:
“It’s a very talented D-League year with a lot of good teams. We had a tough start, but we made a couple changes, first of all with Kendall Marshall and Gary Neal – two players who have NBA experience. David Stockton’s going to play for us; he’s got a lot of Kings experience being in Summer League and training camp. He’s had a couple seasons in Reno [and] this will be his third season, so we are peaking at the right time with Papa coming back for Friday’s game. It wasn’t the greatest start, but we’re finding our niche and we should be able to finish pretty strong with this group.”
Benefits of Home Court Advantage at Golden 1 Center:
“I think it’s just going to be exciting just to have all of the Sacramento fans. You see it on Twitter, on Facebook, on everything. People obviously love the Kings, people obviously are interested in how their guys are developing and doing, so to have them get to come out and see us up close and personal will be great. The atmosphere for the Kings games are always exciting so if it’s even like a portion of that, it’s going to be amazing for us. Santa Cruz has a great home court advantage, we do in Reno, but this is going to be like nothing else.”
On balancing the daily duties of being an Assistant Coach and the Director of Player Personnel:
“In the D-League you have to wear many hats. This is my fifth year and to be successful, you have to do a little bit of everything to be ready for the next step. Just like the players, they’re not just focusing on being good shooters, or good rebounders, etc. My daily tasks are to do a lot of day to day transactions. Making sure we have the right guys active and then helping [Sr. Manager, Basketball Operations and Bighorns Assistant GM] Anthony [McClish] and Peja with our trades and things like that – any personnel movement around the League and scouting reports. If the Kings ever do have a roster spot open, we can identify the best available D-Leaguer and get them up. If it’s not on the Reno team, then just somewhere in the D-League.”
Message to the Sacramento and Reno fans:
“For tonight, I just hope they support us like they support the Kings. As incredible as they are for them, we’re looking forward to seeing how they can welcome us to the building.”