NBA coaches share memories in wake of Rick Majerus’ death

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The death of longtime coach Rick Majerus sent shockwaves not only through the college game, where he made such an impact during his career, but even through the professional ranks, where the branches of his coaching tree spread wide.

Included in those is Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who shared a story with A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.

“That’s a tough one for me,” Rivers told Blakely, reportedly visibly shaken by Majerus’ death. “He’s the one that gave me my name.”

And Blakely goes on to tell Rivers’ story like this:

While attending a basketball camp as a youth with Majerus as one of the camp counselors, Rivers was wearing a Dr. J (Julius Erving) t-shirt. Majerus started calling him ‘Doc,’ and the rest as they say, is history.

Milwaukee Bucks’ assistant Jim Boylan played for Majerus at Marquette. His 1977 team won the NIT championship when Majerus was an assistant.

“He’s done so much for basketball at Marquette and all through the state of Wisconsin,” Boylan told Blakely. “For me personally, he’s always been there. He’s one of those guys who, if you don’t see Rick for a while and when something was going wrong and you needed help, boom, he’d be there.

“He did so much for me over the years when I was trying to get my career going. Just extending himself and giving you whatever it is you needed, whether it was a phone call, having me come out to Salt Lake and staying with him four or five weeks at a time working. He’d basically give you the shirt off his back, if that’s what you needed. He would do whatever it took. He’s going to be really missed. Great person.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_