by Joanna Radov, CantonCharge.com contributor
When most people think of a summer vacation, they think of sleeping in, BBQs, family, and the beach. Family was on Canton Charge Head Coach Nate Reinking’s agenda as he headed to England for his summer, but when the Great Britain national team calls needing a head coach, you answer. Reinking led the men’s national team on a record-setting seven-game winning streak, securing a spot in a EuroBasket 2021 qualifying group. Hear more from Coach Nate about his summer and some sneak peaks about the upcoming Canton Charge season:
How did you end up getting involved in coaching the Great Britain national team?
I’ve been involved with the program for about 11 years, six as a player and five as an assistant coach. When they changed the format of the FIBA competition (2017), it was just difficult. Joe Prunty, who was also an NBA coach, and I had to take a step back at the time. Then I was in the U.K. for a vacation this summer with the family and got a call out of the blue about the opportunity. I had known [Alberto Lorenzo] at the time, but he had just taken a role with the Spanish Federation. I was offered the role and decided to run with it because [the GB team] was a really big part of my life early in my career.
You do not necessarily think basketball powerhouse when you think of Great Britain, so what were some of the challenges you had to step into with this specific situation.
To me, this wasn’t so much of a challenge. The G League and Canton have prepared me for this. I got a call and accepted the job and probably three or four days later, it was training camp. Our training camp, if you want to call it that, was four days and then we flew to Kosovo for the first game. It was a perfect fit for me because it’s how the G League works. You get the draft, you get a week or two, and then you start playing games. I had actually played, back in the day, with a few of the guys, so I already knew them that way and I had coached some of the other guys, so I had a good sense of who they were and how they played. It was an easy transition for me to step in.
With different international rules, is there a different style of play and flow to the game? And how did you adapt to that?
[laughs] Yea, definitely. I had fun with it. I even forgot how to call a timeout and the way it worked over there. The rules are different, the games are shorter, and the timeouts are different, so the flow of the game is completely different. There is no defensive three seconds and one of the challenges even, on the coaching side, is that we don’t face a lot of zone in the NBA and the G-League, but over there, they throw a lot at you with that. It was a fun challenge just to teach zone offenses and figuring that out.
Speaking of coaching styles and adjustments, now that you are back state-side and having coached in the summer league, what are some of the things you are looking forward to from Coach Beilein and his staff?
I just like different philosophies and structures and how Coach Beilein is going to try to build his program from the ground up, so it is always interesting, always fascinating, and you’re always going to learn something from those who have done it and been successful and made it to the level that someone like me is trying to attain.
With all the travel you got to do with the team this summer, what were some of the highlights that weren’t on the basketball court?
It’s another country I get to tick off the box. I had never been to Kosovo. It’s always fun to go into different cultures and different places. You go to practice, but then you get to walk around the city and eat at different spots and try different foods. Like I said, it’s just another life experience that I can’t put a price tag on. In Luxembourg, they’re known for a little bit of chocolate, so you’re getting, supposedly, the greatest hot chocolate ever and it’s just little things like that that make it really fun.
Speaking about international play and traveling around, with the rise of FIBA and the new NBA league in Africa, do you see basketball as being on the rise abroad, as opposed to more traditional international sports like soccer or rugby?
It is on the rise and in some of these countries, it is huge. Soccer is always number one across the world, but in these some of these countries, basketball is right up there with it. The games are just as important, and the fans are just as passionate as the soccer fans that you see. Some of the atmospheres in the States that people think are difficult do not even compare to the fans and the atmospheres abroad.
The Canton Charge kick off their 2019-20 campaign with the home-opener on Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. against the Lakeland Magic at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.