Kevin Whitted joined the Upper Hand Pod to talk about his work at Kevin Whitted Basketball Services. Kevin is the founder and Master Trainer at Kevin Whitted Basketball Services (KWBS), a year-round player development curriculum and training camp. Kevin brings experience to the court as both a player and a coach. After playing in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks and playing professionally overseas, Kevin has gone on to work with other top professional athletes, including LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, and Vince Carter.
You can read an overview of the interview with Kevin Whitted or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.
Q. What made you change from pursuing a professional coaching career to then focusing on your own services and being able to develop all types of players.
A. I started my business in 2003. As I was training my players I found myself getting back getting involved with a lot of pro athletes which open the doors to go back into coaching. I found myself coaching in the ABA for a while and then I made a quick move to the PBL which was another basketball league at the time. Just kind of teeter-tottering with it, still running my business and coaching teams in the winter. And all of the sudden I got an opportunity to coach in the NBA G-League, it was the D-League at the time. I became an assistant coach, in more or less for player development and then all of the sudden that turned into a full-fledged assistant coaching position and everything just took its course at that time. I was in Ft Wayne and while I was in Ft Wayne continuing to do my business in the offseason because that’s when we did our work anyway. I spent a lot of time with Nike doing camps, that’s where I met “…” all the guys that were basically under the Nike brand. We were able to work with those guys in the summer and from that standpoint it kind of just kept me going. I ended up in Springfield, MA, with a Nets affiliation coaching there as well and so every stop I made, my business actually got me in the door in those areas because I was working with a player or working with someone that kind of got me to this place. And I love teaching and coaching so it all worked hand in hand.
Q. If you have to look back in ‘03 and in those early business days what kind of struggles did you face?
A. Well just getting started. I think there was at the time no blueprint for, you know, this business. I was fortunate enough to get around a lot of important people that were influential to me. They all started at about the same time. I think about the Gannon Bakers, Allan Stein, Dee Brown. All these guys were huge because we were all under Nike as skill development trainers and we all decided to start our own businesses at that time, and we were all growing at the same time. We had a lot of great mentorship through Kevin Eastman, John Lucas, guys that are really strong in the player development field. So I was able to learn a lot. The pitfalls that I learned early on is just how to be consistent, how to make sure that your program is a program that is building from the ground floor up. Being a professional player sometimes, we are so far ahead that we don’t know how to go back to the beginning. Fortunate enough for me, I was able to make the quick switch because of my teaching experience. From my mothers being a first-grade teacher, I really watched her in terms of establishing programming and how to make sure everyone walks in the door does everything exactly the same way early on. Building those building blocks. Those were kind of the things that most trainers learn, but the struggles I had were just basically just getting started and understanding this is what I do. And sometimes I felt like I was running from where I was supposed to be to doing something else because you are afraid to dive in it. Once I made that plunge and decided hey I am in this, then everything came together.
Q. What made you decide to take the plunge?
A. My last job, I was with the NY Knicks working in player development and I was the head coach of the Westchester Knicks. That job, I actually, well before I took that job I was really starting to build some major momentum in my business here. You know, traveling, and working with players and really putting the programming in place to help players from the age of 8 all the way to the professional ranks and then I got that job and it kind of derailed that process, just for a short period of time. I knew when I was in the midst of it, even though I enjoyed coaching, I felt like it was something that was forcing to a certain degree where when I was in the gym and I was on this side of it, I felt like I was free to do what is necessary to make sure that player gets better verses trying to meet the demands of an organization and at times even though I know they have their interest at some point you have to make sure you have to do what’s necessary to help that player. Sometimes there are walls in between to impact that process and I knew when I walked away this time, I have to dive in full fledge into this and do what necessary because I am trying to build a legacy becuase jobs change all the time so it was about building a legacy so that I have something to pass on to my children so they can take it and take it further.