HOW A BASKETBALL PLAYER, WITHOUT A TOP-TIER EXPERIENCE, BECAME AN NBA ASSISTANT COACH? A LOOKBACK AT MCLEAN’S 8-YEAR-LONG BASKETBALL CAREER

Every basketball player’s dream is to play in the team at the National Basketball Association, popularly known as NBA. Every coach aims to get hired for NBA teams. However, it takes a great deal of hard work to get a chance to play in or coach a team at the NBA, and not every player is that lucky. Everyone is well aware of the fact that open coaching jobs in the NBA are scarce, and with hundreds of people trying their luck, it is close to impossible for one to get a position. Sometimes, even the most successful players or coaches fail to get into the NBA because it is tough. According to basketball coaches, are two crucial factors that determine whether one has a chance of getting into the NBA as an assistant coach or head coach, and these are strong connections and, of course, a praise-worthy resume and career.

There is one individual who was able to get an assistant coach position within the NBA, that too without having much NBA, D-league, or even high-major NCAA Division1 experience. Given the circumstances, it is challenging for a basketball coach or former player without a top-tier experience to get considered for a coaching position at this association, let alone get hired. The 34-year-old former player of the Liberty Flames men’s basketball team, Alex McLean got hired as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards (NBA) despite not playing basketball in high-school makes his journey to the NBA worth sharing.

Early Life of Future Basketball Star

Hundreds of people, including coaches and retired basketball players, grind every day to rise through the coaching ranks. These people hope and dream to one day secure a job on an NBA coaching staff. It is a dream job in basketball that not many people are lucky enough to achieve. Alex McLean, a concert bassist, who never thought of playing basketball in high school, is one of those lucky people.

McLean was born on October 20, 1985, in New York, the United States. He was passionate about music, and when he went to the Bay Shore High School, he stepped into music. He played drums, piano, and bass. Moreover, he became a concert bassist. All his classmates, friends, and family members were sure that this young musician would pursue a career in music, but little did they know.

When the time came, McLean was talented and lucky enough to receive scholarship offers from well-reputed music institutes, including Cal-Berkley and Hofstra. Moreover, his music skills opened doors to one of the biggest opportunities there is for a music enthusiast, and that is to study at Julliard. He received interest from Julliard. However, Alex was up to something else, and he declined all offers to study in the top music schools. Instead, he chose to study at Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, for Bachelor’s in Science in Sport Management. After completing his bachelor’s, he enrolled in the master’s program in Sport Management.

Stepping into the Basketball Court

While he was completing his bachelor’s, he joined the Liberty Flames Men’s Basketball Team. It was the start of his basketball career, which led him towards success. While he was playing in eh Liberty Flames, he was named to the first team, adding to his first-team honors on the Big South all-conference squad in the year 2008. However, this was not it. During his time in the Liberty Flames basketball team, he scored 15 double-doubles in a match and acquired the second rank in the Big South all-conference squad in the same year. In addition to this, McLean stood on the acquired the seventh rank with 15.8 ppg and with a rebounding score of 8.8 RPG, he was ranked third. The talented and young basketball player was acknowledged for his performance and was ranked the second rank in field goal percentage with 56.0 percent. McLean still hold the schools single game record for his 40 point 19 rebound performance back 2007. He was one of three players in the league to be ranked in the Top 3 in terms of scoring as well as rebounding. You should definitely look for some new offer this season with the best basketball training gear at bballworld.com.

Making a Global Mark

Things escalated quickly for the young player, and he got a chance to play at an international level. He was privileged enough to play in Poland, Greece, Argentina, Paraguay, Lebanon, Dubai, China, the Philippines, Qatar, and Egypt. The year 2011 marked his entrance into the international basketball scene when he played for the Chinese Basketball Association – CBA. It was a milestone in his career, and it is what opened the door to a huge number of opportunities for him. After playing for CBA, he also played in the QBF Emir Cup in Doha. He was part of Al Gharafa. McLean and Al Gharafa went on to win the Emir Cup in 2011. Not only did he play and win for the team, but McLean was named MVP in 2011.

Not just in the Philippines, China, or Qatar, McLean appeared in five matches of the Philippines Basketball Association – PBA in the year 2014. He played on the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters team. He was able to acquire an average of 22.8 points and 15.4 rebounds while playing at PBA as an important for Rise and Shine Elasto Painters. At the time he was replaced, the team manager acknowledged his top-notch game, and it was the need of that situation that forced them to replace Alex.  In the farewell match, he scored 23 points and 16 rebounds which helped the team gain a two-game skid with a convincing 96-79 rout of Meralco.

McLean did not only make a name for himself in the local basketball scene, but he spread his name on an international level by playing with PBA, CBA, and several other associations. A moment of great honor for Alex was when he was hired as the Graduate Assistant for the Liberty Flame in the year 2016 after retirement. He stayed there till the time he was offered a job as G-League Assignment/Player Development Coach for Washington Wizards at National Basketball Association, NBA, in 2018. Without having an NBA, D-league, or even high-major  NCAA Division1 experience, Alex McLean was not only able to acquire a position on the coaching staff, but he also received a promotion to Assistant Coach/Player Development.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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