Bo Kimble’s helping coach Loyola-Marymount’s old style? Awesome

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Seeing Bo Kimble’s name makes me think of a few things. Non-stop offense. Shots from everywhere, mostly from 3-point land. Scoring, fun, scoring.

And that one brilliant image of Kimble, a righty, shooting left-handed to honor the memory of his friend, Hank Gathers.

All of ‘em are good things. In fact, all of ‘em bring a smile to my face because, like so many other college hoops fans, I think of Kimble’s Loyola-Marymount teams with a mix of gleeful nostalgia and awe. Not just because of Gathers’ tragic death, but what the Lions did with and without Gathers. They amazed.

This was a team that dropped 149 points on Michigan (then the defending champs) in the 1990 NCAA tournament. The team that scored 181 in a single game. The Lions averaged 122 points a game his senior season. It’s still mind-boggling,

Maybe that’s why is heartening to read that Kimble, now 45, is trying to get into coaching by doing helping teach something he knows better than almost anyone: “The System.”

The catch? He’s doing it at Shoreline Community College, just north of Seattle. Not that it’s a bad thing – everyone’s gotta start somewhere – but I’m giddy at the idea of what Kimble might eventually do with that coaching experience. Might he eventually reach a spot where players of his caliber could run it? Oh boy.

But it’ll be a while before that happens. From the AP feature:

On a recent Monday night, Shoreline is hosting nearby Everett. There are maybe 300 people in the stands, a good many hanging around after the earlier women’s game. Someone shows up 15 minutes into the first half with a vuvuzela, that’s quickly confiscated after one loud honk. A few are older basketball fans who more than once comment about how “it’s not very pretty basketball.” The play moves so quickly that a 10-minute delay stops action because the person manning the scorebook can’t keep up.

But to Kimble and [Shoreline coach Greg] Turcott, this style is beauty on the court when played at a high, refined level. They’ve tired of conventional philosophy that games need to be won with suffocating defense and methodical offense. They want speed. They want shots, at least 100 per game. They don’t care about turnovers or traps, just get out and run.

Before moving on to Shoreline, Turcott coached at a local high school that ran a Princeton style offense which Turcott says was “a fun way to play ugly, slow, conventional basketball.” Constantly going up and down the floor at breakneck speed is just fun, period.

“You’ve got to be crazy. You’ve have to have the guts of a thief to play this way,” [volunteer coach Joe] Cario said.

Kimble’s been flying from his Philadelphia home and staying in a hotel to do his as a volunteer assistant. It’s tiring work and doesn’t pay much. But it sounds as if the players listen to him and the team has improved. (Here’s a shot of him coaching.)

If that helps Kimble rise the assistant coaching ranks and eventually land somewhere that could really make “The System” sing, it’ll be worth it.

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