Former Portland Trail Blazers guard Terry Porter has moved into the college coaching ranks. He was signed to be the coach of the University of Portland Pilots, and sat down with The Beacon beat writer Malika Andrews for a Q&A about his new position.
What is your favorite memory from your Blazer days?
I had a lot of very fond memories when I think about that time frame where I was in Portland. Obviously, the first time you get drafted is a special moment. Coming from a small school, not knowing if you will ever have the opportunity to play at the professional level, and then getting that call, so to speak, that you got drafted, and that you’ll have an opportunity to go play professionally that was obviously very special. And early on, we didn’t have a lot of success. We made the playoffs but we were one-and-done. And then being a part of those championship caliber types of teams is just early on the most unbelievable experience. Everybody was kind of young and we emerged as one of the top teams in the league. Some of us, like Clyde (Drexler) and Buck came from big schools and they were accustomed to that kind of tension and the level of intensity. The other three all came from very small schools. So it was a little bit much for us at times but it was just an unbelievable experience…it truly was a brotherhood.
Coming from Milwaukee, you understand the unique struggles of playing for a mid-major school. What do you see as the most important things on the court to give these guys a chance against the established top teams in the WCC?
(St. Mary’s and Gonzaga) have been able to build a huge tradition of winning and so a lot of times when you talk about recruiting, everybody wants to be associated with a winning program. We have to get to the point where we start getting kids that want to help us build and be a start of a building process as opposed to just going to those (already established) schools. So far, our conversations have really been more about the defensive end. That’s the one area we can do a much better job in consistently. In regards to (the) overall picture, we just have to continue to work hard every day and make sure that no matter what our skillset is, that we’re putting in effort because that will show up eventually.
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Porter played 10 seasons with the Blazers and is one of the franchise leaders in multiple statistical categories. He previously coached in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Phoenix Suns, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He last coached in 2013 as interim head coach of the Timberwolves while Rick Adelman was away from the team.