Looks like Raptors 905 Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse is moving in the right direction for his first year as a pro head coach.
Stack was named the NBA D-League Coach of the Month for December. The 905 recorded their best month in franchise history with a 9-3 record, including a seven game win streak and going undefeated in five games on the road.
Coach Stackhouse has been instilling active defence into the 905 and the team has shown solid results. The 905 are leading the league with the lowest opponent's scoring average with 96.8 points per game.
But coaching isn't just about wins and losses. It's like an onion and has many layers.
There's the tough and disciplined side that fans see at games. Then the side of building trust with a team to follow the game plan. And in Stack's situation, there's also other responsibilities like coordinating travel. But there's also a very human side that comes with guiding young athletes through life and the goals that all parties set along the way.
Back in the beginning of the month the 905 took a trip to Stackhouse's alma mater of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill while on a road trip to play the Greensboro Swarm.
The team got to practice at the Smith Center, Stack's home as a student-athlete where he was an All-American who helped the UNC Tar Heels to the NCAA Final Four before playing 18 seasons in the NBA.
According to the article, Stack took the 905 to the Smith Center just to be in one of the biggest basketball institutions in North America. Michael Jordan played there! All of his players except C.J. Leslie, who played against the Tar Heels while at North Carolina State, only heard about the arena or saw it on TV. An experience and opportunity like that creates team bonding and inspires determined players just by being in the same space as some of basketball's greatest players.
The D-League isn't called the Development League for nothing. But the players aren't the only people developing.
Coaches learn to develop for the next stage just as equally. Look at Raptors Assistant Coach Nick Nurse. He was the head coach of the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2011-2013 and was the D-League Coach of the Year in 2011 and won the D-League Championship in 2011 and 2013. And he's been with the Raptors ever since.
Now is as good a time as ever to receive prestigious accolades. The 905 look to rebound from a few tough losses and gain some momentum going into the NBA D-League Showcase on Jan. 18.