ALBANY — Mostly, they’re a secret.
But UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings was willing to reveal a few of the 14 words his now-set coaching staff members are using as benchmarks to make sure they’re finding the right players, both in terms of fit and talent, to rebuild the Great Danes’ roster this offseason.
All the characteristics don’t necessarily need to be met with each player, but the guidelines exist to keep the team’s coaching staff on the same page — especially since that coaching staff has recently been rounded out with three more hires, completing the group Killings is leading. Previously, assistant coaches Matt Griffin and Hamlet Tibbs had been formally announced as hires, while that confirmation arrived Wednesday for assistant coach Dannton Jackson, director of basketball operations Dan Madhavapallil and video/recruiting coordinator KJ Baptiste.
Each of those men has some type of connection to Killings, but only Madhavapallil — who previously had the same role at Marquette that he’s filling at UAlbany — has previously coached with UAlbany’s successor to Will Brown. So devising a catalogue of terms to make sure the coaching staff is moving along the same path was one of Killings’ first goals to complete.
“I just brought five different people from five different worlds into the office to create a team, a coaching staff, and we have to be on the same page, so those words help bring us together,” Killings said Wednesday during a teleconference with reporters.
While Madhavapallil headed to UAlbany from Marquette, Jackson most recently coached at UAB and Baptiste was a graduate assistant manager at Penn State. Tibbs, an Albany native, worked for the last seven seasons at Vermont, and Griffin — the son of former Siena head coach John Griffin — previously served as head coach at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia.
With six people coming together to try to rebuild a UAlbany program that is coming off three losing seasons and likely has a variety of open scholarships to fill, Killings said his leadership team needs “to make sure that we’re identifying the same characteristics” in potential recruits.
Killings said he won’t publicly reveal all those traits. The 40-year-old Killings said he’s been refining his list of characteristics for 15 years, as he prepared to become a head coach.
“Now I have to make sure that it’s all going to work right,” Killings said.
The list, though, seems to cover a wide range of territory — and some are more crucial than others. For instance, “selflessness” is one of the keywords, a necessary component to make a good teammate — but so is “shooting,” a more direct, to-the-point, on-the-court quality the Great Danes need at least a majority of their players to count as a strong skill.
“We need to be able to make shots,” Killings said. “That’s the game of basketball now.”
A third word Killings offered was “toughness,” something the new head coach said each of his players need to exhibit because “tough guys win” games.
“Those,” Killings said, “are the few I’d be willing to share right now.”