So from 1994 to 2006 I lived in Coventry, RI, a rural kinda suburb of Providence. It's a big town and my family and I lived a good 6 miles from the Coventry High School where my two oldest sons went to school. Well, my two sons' best friend was on the school varsity basketball team his last two years there. Their friend and my oldest were the same age.
Joe Mazzulla is the same age as both of them.
So during basketball season, because my sons wanted to go to their friend's and their own high school basketball games and we lived so far, I would give a my kids and a couple others rides to the game and then, rather than drive home then have to go pick them up a couple hours later, would stay and watch some games. Not all, but some. Two of the ones I know I stayed and watched were games versus their rival Bishop Hendrickson because Bishop Hendrickson was the multi years in a row state champion of Rhode Island, a very good team.
Those two years I went to those Coventry High games, the state champion Bishop Hendrickson team was led by All-State guard, Joe Mazzulla.
I can't tell you any details of those games other than Hendrickson won. I honestly have no memory of being super impressed with Joe's game.
But I think it the smallest of small world's that a kid I watched play high school basketball in person would go on to become the head coach of one of my three most beloved sports teams in my life.
Because of this connection, I will always support Joe. Local boy living his dream is something I think is special. I would love nothing more than to see him lead this team to the most historic comeback in NBA history and an NBA title. If he did, I might have to fly back and attend the parade people in Rhode Island would throw for him.
Mazzulla hasn't been perfect, he has made mistakes. Thing is, I think much like Spoelstra, it's evident to all that have come into contact with him, that at a very young age, he has a brilliant basketball mind. A mind that will learn quickly and adapt. So I hope the team and it's fans can give Joe some leeway if things don't end in a title this year. Give him a full off-season to do 6-8 weeks of work in 6-8 weeks and not two weeks. Let him fill out his staff with his guys and not just holdover all the people that were there. And let him utilize the lessons learned in this trial by fire rookie year of his and see what happens next year.
Unless, of course, they do win 7 more games this year and Mazzulla goes down as maybe having, along with Steve Kerr and Pat Riley, one of the greatest rookie head coaching years ever helping lead his team to 57 regular season wins, the greatest comeback in NBA history and a world title, all while being the youngest coach in the NBA at the time. LOL.