Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alumni Spotlight: Nate Reinking

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE
Many former Kent State basketball players are still involved in the game in some manner. Some go on to professional careers across the globe with varying levels of success. Once their playing days are finished, many have chosen to give back to the game that has given them so much throughout their life and join the coaching ranks.

This is true of former Golden Flash Nate Reinking (’96), who concluded his 16-year pro career in Europe at the 2012 London Olympics, where he was a member of Great Britain’s National Team. He broke into the coaching ranks an assistant coach for Great Britain, making his debut at the European Championships in Slovenia this past summer. In October, he was hired as an assistant coach with the NBA D-League’s CantonCharge, which is owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I spoke with Nate after a recent Charge game, and here is what he had to say about his new job.

Tell me about your transition from being a player to the coaching side of things.

It’s been good so far. [Head] coach [Steve Hetzel] has been good to work with here. He’s given me a taste of both sides. I can still practice a little bit. But just learning the other side of the ropes has been a bit of a transition. As a player, you kind of react more to the game and now you’re thinking more rather than just reacting. So you have to think for 5 guys out on the court instead of being out there and playing.

What are some of your main duties in your role with the Charge?

We do a lot of player development at this level. Coach has us splitting up scouts, so we each have our own scouts to do. We prepare for a team just as you would any other time. He’s really good at giving responsibility to all of us.

How did you land a job coaching in the D-League?

I’m from the area. My connection to Canton was Joe Prunty, who used to be an assistant coach with the Cavs. I coached with him with the British National Team this past summer. He introduced me to Mike Gansey, who is running the Charge as the GM. After meeting him and meeting Steve, I knew I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to get started.

Your staff  here in Canton was selected to coach the ‘Futures’ team in the D-League All-Star Game earlier in the month. What was that experience like?

It was a great experience. New Orleans is a great city. We had a lot of fun. Just being around that atmosphere with all of the best players from the NBA and the D-League down there at the same time, it was just a good vibe everywhere you went.

Do you still follow Kent State and the success of the program?

I talked to Coach Senderoff last season and saw a couple practices. I try to stay in touch and see as much as I can up there. I’m a Golden Flash at heart, so as much as I can, I will always be a part of that program.

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE

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