Technically it was not a Sabbath. It was a mid-career change when Lindsey Gottlieb resigned as Cal’s women’s basketball coach after the 2018–19 season to become an assistant coach with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Those two seasons of the NBA exposed them to different ideas, different workflows, and different ways of looking at the same game. And she has been a strong influence on Gottlieb’s return to the college women’s game as coach of USC.
So in a sense it’s probably Was a sabbatical.
“Sabbatical is an interesting word, even if it wasn’t,” she said in a phone conversation on Tuesday. “I think I was working really hard, but it was different. … I think any of us get a little bit one-track-minded in our careers,[that]this That’s the way things are done. And it was nice to see just a different workflow for me.
“I mean, the NBA is really different. You have 82 games, four games a week, so the preparation is different. And[there’s]a mindset of people who’ve only been in college versus professionals. With different coaches Picking the players mind from their experiences, and what they like or don’t like. I had more bandwidth to do that, being the head coach, I didn’t have everything on my plate and also understanding that I was immersing myself in something new.”
The available information ran the gamut.
“Different actions, screening angles, spacing on the floor, ways to think about ball screen coverage, ball screen attack, many tactical and technical things,” she said. “Then the way the world’s greatest players look at their craft and how they practice and work.
“Then the other side of it is (allowing) anyone, you might call the prime of their career, to go away and do something different and expand their horizons and step out of their comfort zone. In this way, I had changed as just a person. My outlook, my attitude towards the job has changed a bit philosophically as well. That’s why there are so many takeaways that I feel every single day in the work I’m doing right now. ,
While handling scouting and player development responsibilities as an NBA assistant, Gottlieb coached head coaches John Beilin (who hired him) and JB Bickerstaff (who replaced Beilin in February 2020), as well as Tristan Thompson. And took information from players like Matthew Delvedova. and consultants, analysts, scouts and many others in a generally strong basketball operations department.
“So many people in the league have so much basketball knowledge and life experience and working for different coaches that I’m picking everyone’s mind,” she said. “I’m basically the same person in terms of my values and how I treat people or how I want to run programs. But I have a slightly different perspective, so I think it’s all about your decisions and things. Tells how to look.
The knowledge that emerged from that experience was that, as one of only a few women on the NBA coaching staff, USC’s program should work well going forward. Gottlieb had already established his true identity as college head coach in eight seasons at Cal, including a Final Four appearance in 2013 with a 3-4 team. Prior to that, she had followed a legendary coach at UC Santa Barbara, Mark French, and reached one NCAA Tournament and one WNIT in three seasons.
Ambitions are high at USC, as the Trojans strive to be a factor in a Pac-12 conference that placed two teams in the women’s national championship game last spring, with three teams currently in the AP Top 25 and perhaps more. can. His first Trojans team is 9-5 on aggregate and 2-2 in conference play, going home this week with UCLA, starting Thursday night at the Paulie Pavilion. Among those victories: hand over—no. 4 (and 2021 national runner-up) Arizona lost their first of the season, 76–67, on Jan. 9.
Ultimate ambition? Much more. As high as the retired numbers of Cheryl Miller, Pam and Paula McGee, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson at the Galen Center’s rafters, in fact. Gottlieb noted that at the time she was considering taking a job at USC, she had written “Women of Troy”, a 1983 HBO documentary on the Trojans’ national championship teams, and ’84, led by the Miller, Cooper, and McGee twins. Saw it.
Gottlieb ticked off the above names, saying, “We have the luxury of being able to look back at USC to a time when the best players in the world were on this campus.” “Not in the Pac-12, not in the country, (but) in the world. They were playing here and winning national championships. That’s the goal, and it’s a lofty goal, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t feel like it was realistic.”
If so, Trojans would eventually benefit from all that knowledge, though Gottlieb said the effects would come in bits rather than everything at once.
You can consider it a kind of business. Gottlieb came to USC, and the Cavaliers used the 2021 draft’s No. 3 pick on Ivan Mobley as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Player of the Year for his run for the Trojans. was during Men’s Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 2021. He could be the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2022 for the Cleveland team that is currently 27-18 and 1½ games out of the Eastern Conference lead.
“They won that trade, man,” quipped Gottlieb.
Maybe. the jury is still out.
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