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Talking Grammer, Ep. 15: Run & Stun architect Kevin Mackey, Lobos coach Paul Weir

In Episode 15 of the Talking Grammer Podcast, I have a conversation with Indiana Pacers scout and former Cleveland State coach Kevin Mackey, the architect of the Run and Stun press that UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir is trying to implement with his program.

Here are two stories I wrote one year ago when Weir flew Mackey out to Albuquerque the first time to help teach the Lobos coaching staff how to implement the Run & Stun press:

• Lobo basketball going all in on ‘Run and Stun’ press (Aug. 12, 2017)
• Emptying the notebook: Mackey says ‘Run and Stun’ is a commitment, not a defense (Aug. 12, 2017)

A year later, Mackey was back in Albuquerque this week so I met up with him to get an update on how he thought the Lobos did with his press as well as what Weir’s commitment to the press is moving forward.

As always, you can rate, review and subscribe to the Talking Grammer podcast on iTunes or see the entire archive of podcast episodes HERE on the Journal’s site.

Here is a look at some key moments from this Episode 15 podcast conversation:

• 6:40 — Why do college coaches call you to help them with their fullcourt press?

• 7:35 — Mackey on his 29 win season that included a win over Bobby Knight and Steve Alford’s Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament and how that win validated his full court pressure approach.

“That validates it. Now the public accepts. Then it became an identity — what I was identified with. We called it the ‘Run and Stun.’ We used 10 guys. We played 10 guys double figure minutes. With a 6-foot-6 1/2 center, we led the country in rebound margin.”

• 9:40 — On Bob Huggins, who Mackey coached against in the 80s, converting late in his career to the “Run and Stun” press, which West Virginia now calls “Press Virginia.”

• 11:30 — “In truth, the Xs and Os are secondary. It’s a belief system.”

• 13:10 — UNM had every chance to abandon ship on the press after the embarrassing home loss to Tennessee Tech or when the team was out to a 3-8 start. Paul Weir sounds off on why he didn’t give up on the press and why he couldn’t tell Lobo fans exactly what he thinking about about how long learning the press might take.

• 15:40 — Paul Weir on continuing the Run and Stun press: “I’m a believer. If I went into it as a whatever percentage believer — 80, 90, 100 whatever it is — after last season, I don’t think there’s any going back for me for my coaching career. I don’t really see another way to do it.”

• 18:45 — Watching another team break because of the press.

• 21:30 — How opposing teams, like the Indiana Hoosiers with Steve Alford, tactically tried to beat the press, but couldn’t. ”

• 24:30 — Why would Paul Weir invite Kevin Mackey back a second year to again teach his staff about the press?

“I wanted him to watch a practice and see how we do things and pick it apart and tell me how we can get better because I want to take the next step now. We did chapter one and now it’s time to take another step in all this.”

• 26:20 — Kevin Mackey on the Lobos after one year with the press: “He (Weir) stuck with it through some hard times and they grew. The team grew. He understood it’s a process.”

• 30:20 — Kevin Mackey on former Lobo and Indiana Pacer great Danny Granger: “Danny was one of the all-time great Pacers. He was an all-star. He represented the Pacers. Five-star guy. First class guy. He was tremendous with the people. He’s dearly loved in Indianapolis and in Indiana. We were right on him. Larry Bird was right on him. He had a great career.”

• 31:00 — Kevin Mackey on former Lobo and Indiana Pacer great Mel Daniels: “Mel’s one of the greatest players that ever played. .. One of the toughest guys (as a player), the nicest guy off the floor.”

• 32:05 — Kevin Mackey on Greg Oden

• 35:00 — Kevin Mackey on Kevin Durant

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