After Thunder shootaround Thursday morning at the Texas Military Institute, a few players stayed late for individual drills. Including defensive drills.
Which is where Mark Bryant came in. The Thunder assistant coach went one-on-one with a variety of Thunder players, play after play. And at 49 years old, Bryant still showed he has some game.
With Hasheem Thabeet guarding, Bryant stepped outside to the high school 3-point line and swished a shot. Then guarded by Perry Jones, Bryant backed in, then stepped out for a Dirk Nowitzki-style fallaway. Swish again. Finally Thabo Sefolosha went man-to-man on Bryant, and Bryant drove the lane for a hook shot. Swish.
It was remarkable. Three straight plays, going against NBA talent, good NBA talent, Bryant scored and his shot didn’t even touch the rim.
It made me think of how little we discuss Scotty Brooks’ staff. The assistant coaches are not available for interviews, so they stay fairly anonymous. Every once in awhile, it’s worth an update on who these guys are:
* Mark Bryant: Played 15 NBA seasons, 1988-2003. He starred at Seton Hall, playing for P.J. Carlesimo, then was a journeyman post man. Bryant started 198 games over those 15 NBA seasons, averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds. Bryant’s best season was 1996-97, when he averaged 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Suns. Bryant worked for the Mavericks in player development in 2005, then joined the Orlando Magic coaching staff from 2005-07. Then Bryant joined the Seattle Supersonics staff and made the transition to OKC.
* Robert Pack: The 45-year-old Pack played at Southern Cal, then spent 13 seasons in the NBA, 1992-2005. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 8.9 points and 4.6 assists per game. In 1995-96, Pack averaged 18.1 points a game for the Washington Bullets. Pack began his NBA coaching career in 2009 with the New Orleans Hornets. He spent the last three seasons on the Clipper staff.
* Rex Kalamian: Attended East Los Angeles Junior College and Cal Poly-Pomona. Kalamian is completing his fifth season with the Thunder, after tenures with the Kings, Timberwolves, Nuggets, 76ers and Clippers. Kalamian didn’t play in the NBA. He got his start with the Clippers in 1992 as an assistant in the scouting department. He was promoted to the coaching staff by Bill Fitch in 1995.
* Brian Keefe: Another coaching staff member without NBA playing experience, Keefe began his college career at Cal-Irvine, alma mater of Brooks. Then Keefe transferred to Nevada-Las Vegas and was team captain in 1998-99. Keefe was a graduate assistant at South Florida in 2000-01, then was an assistant coach at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., from 2001-05. Keefe worked for the Spurs from 2005-07 as an assistant video coordinator, then went to Seattle to work in player development when the Sonics hired Sam Presti as general manager. In the second Thunder season, Keefe was named an assistant coach.
* Mike Terpstra: In his first year with the Thunder, Terpstra played at Northwest Nazarene, then professionally in Turkey, England and Australia. He has coached more than 20 years at the college, junior college, high school, NBA Development League and CBA levels. Terpstra earned a masters degree in sports science from the University of the Pacific in May 1996. He was a Pacific assistant coach in 1994-95, after coaching high school. Terpstra was head coach at Modesto (Calif.) Junior College from 1997-00 and Cal State-Stanislaus from 2000-03. Then Terpstra spent one season as head coach at Northwest Nazarene. Terpstra then joined the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association in 2005-06, then worked part-time on the staff of the Colorado 14ers of the D-League. Terpstra’s Thunder bio doesn’t list any basketball activity since then.