The 2022-23 NBA season doesn’t tip off until October, but second-year Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups is gathering coaching experience outside the franchise. In a piece for USA Today High School Sports, Logan Newman covered the lessons Billups learned while coaching at a Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camp Aug. 28-31 in Cairo, Egypt.
64 boy and girl basketball players aged 18 or under attended the four-day event from around Africa. They received instruction in basketball drills and life development from NBA coaches, including Billups and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, as well as NBA players like Mo Bamba and Malcolm Brogdon.
Billups, who enjoyed a 17-year NBA playing career, said his coaching transition has included learning when to slow the game down and teach. This lesson became even more apparent with younger players at BWB.
But, like many athletes who ascend to stardom, a learning curve exists with the transition to coaching: remembering that the areas that became instinctual to him are not instincts in many of these young athletes.
He noticed this last year, his first with the Blazers, and said it was amplified as he coached the Basketball Without Borders Africa camp this week.
“You just can’t think that they know it. You gotta slow it down and you have to explain it, and you have to demonstrate,” Billups said. “You can’t just think that they understand what even simple things are.”
Newman’s article touches on how Billups up-and-down career — which included statuses as a hyped draft prospect, an NBA journeyman and eventual NBA All-Star and Finals MVP — enables him to relate to every type of player.
“You gain more experience in every step, which enables you to speak to more things. I know for me as a coach now, with my best player in Dame or it could be our draft pick in Shaedon Sharpe, I’ve been through every thing that these guys have been through and I’ve been through a lot more that they have yet to see,” Billups said. “It allows me to really connect and relate to every step of their process.”
BWB was established in 2001 and has held camps in 30 different countries.