Jeff Bower comes from a background built heavily on his pro experience in the Hornets organization, though it was not meant to last as long as it did, as Bower always wanted to head back into college coaching.
Bower left his job as the top assistant at Marist for the opportunity to become an advance scout in the NBA with the Charlotte Hornets. He said his goal was to learn about the pro level and then bring that experience back to a college environment.
“At that time when I left Marist, my initial goal was to go to the NBA and learn as much as I could about the NBA game with the hopes of coming back to college in two or three years as a coach who’d learned a lot more ideas and concepts,” Bower said. “I took an advance scouting position where my main duties initially was to scout opponents and prepare game plans. That was a great great way to learn the NBA and how teams play and what is expected of NBA players at each position so that was a great learning experience for me.”
“I always planned to go back to college after a short time doing that, fortunately for me things just grew and developed over the course of time and I was given opportunities to take on different roles moving on from the advance scouting position so as a result I never really came back to college.”
However that return to college basketball was stalled as Bower built a 15-year career around the NBA, specifically with the Hornets organization. Bower advanced in the organization and wore titles of Director of Scouting, Assistant General Manager, Assistant Coach, Director of Player Personnel, Director of Scouting, General Manager and Head Coach over 15 years in the same organization.
From the day Bower was hired he talked about maximizing the resources of the school to get the Marist basketball program to its first NCAA Tournament since Bower was an assistant in 1987. Given Bower’s NBA background, he will look to replicate some of the technology and resources in that he’s had in the NBA at Marist.
Bower said the renovations to the McCann Center and the basketball offices have shown the school’s commitment to the sport and he said he would like to tap into the academic power of the school as well.
“The interaction between the different departments on campus particularly from information technology is something that I think can really benefit our program,” Bower said. “I think we have the ability to really tap in to the computing power and the analytics opportunities that we can develop here are challenging and can be very rewarding.”
“I’m looking forward to working closely with the academic side in these areas, not only to develop ideas, but to also utilize their manpower in helping us craft a total comprehensive approach to our basketball program.”
Bower said he watched individual tapes and edits on Synergy Technology, which is used by all 30 NBA teams and hundreds of college programs and international pro teams, to break down Marist. Bower said that Marist’s basketball offices already have high end video that he will look to augment.
“We’ve got very high end video capabilities here and we’ll continue to look to add to that,” Bower said. “I am just in the process of reviewing all of those, the exact things that are available to us. What we have here is a high end video system that is capable of doing everything that we did at the NBA level and moving forward it’s a tremendous resource for us.”
“The school has made a tremendous investment in basketball program over the last couple years and the new basketball complex that is up now and running is at the highest end as far as quality and capabilities. That was, to me, a big part of why I think we can move forward and be successful with building the program.”
Bower said he will look to duplicate the resources he used in the NBA, but also dip into using analytics and technology the program has to push his players to improve.
“I’ll be following a format that I’m used to working in,” Bower said. “Whether that’s through use of technology, use of computers, the use of video, the use of analytics, the use of individualized approach to players, the individualized creation of player video for them to view and format that they’re comfortable with, the access to locker rooms and player lounge to view video and other web-based activities.”
“These are all things that we’ll have in place from a programming standpoint that I think our players will greatly benefit from. Everything is here for us to really build a first class program that will measure player’s progress, will measure their improvement, will measure the processes that we have in place in order to help them become better, more efficient athletes as well as basketball players.”
Meanwhile, Bower will also be building the manpower behind his operation; his basketball staff. Bower said he has done his homework on researching and taking calls on potential assistant coaches. However, Bower said he was not ready to commit to adding any members to the staff yet.
“We’re looking at trying to assemble a group that has a wide cross section of skills,” Bower said. “We’re moving along with that, but not ready to conclude anything at this point.”
Assistant coach Paul Lee who led the transition between staffs after head coach Chuck Martin was fired is under consideration to remain on the staff, Bower said.
Ryan Restivo covers Stony Brook, Hofstra and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo.