Kevin Mackey, the former Cleveland State University head coach, is the father of the high-intensity “Run and Stun” full-court defense that Paul Weir and the New Mexico Lobos plan to mimic, at least in part, this season.
Mackey says that while hundreds of coaches have called him and asked for advice on the “Run and Stun” style, West Virginia is the only team of 351 Division I programs currently committed to it.
He says it’s all about making your opponent uncomfortable at all times.
“That’s what defense is supposed to be,” Mackey said. “Coaches don’t want to coach against it. Players don’t want to play against it. When you do it for 40 minutes and are relentless with it from Day 1 in practice, you’re in much better shape than your opponent. The fact that no one is doing it, it’s a tremendous advantage because there’s no way the opposing coach and his assistants and the second-team players can mimic that in practice to prepare for you.”
DANNY BOY: Mackey was part of the scouting department when the Indiana Pacers drafted former Lobo Danny Granger with the 17th pick in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft.
“We fell in love with Danny and we were right,” Mackey said. “Danny should have never lasted as long as he lasted (in the draft). He should have gone high. We had Danny rated really high on our board. Danny was a consensus pick by the organization.”
KING OF CLEVELAND: After his rise to prominence with Cleveland State, Mackey was dubbed the “King of Cleveland.” He readily admits the throne has now been take over some other basketball guy in Cleveland named LeBron James.
“Yeah, he’s a little taller and he runs and jumps a little better than I do,” Mackey said.
QUIET KNIGHT: Mackey says he’s still reminded at least weekly by somebody who remembers his coaching the No. 14 seed Cleveland State to a 1986 NCAA Tournament upset over No. 3 seed Indiana, which was led by star guard and, much later, UNM coach Steve Alford.
Mackey now works in the Pacers scouting department with Pat Knight, the son of former Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight.
“It’s ironic. Pat Knight is now a good friend of mine; we work together,” Mackey said. But, what about that 1986 game?
“I’ll be honest. We don’t talk about it.”