The baseline is lined with purple and white uniforms as one player steps to the free throw line, ball in hand. “Damn,” he says as the ball caroms off the rim, sealing the fate of his teammates.
“Alright, let’s go.” Terry Porter, the second year head coach of the University of Portland Pilots and former NBA player and coach says.
It’s like a horse race just started as the multicolored wood-grain court at the Chile’s Center is vibrating. They go down and back from baseline to baseline, doing a set of sprints and as they approach the finish, you can hear heavy panting throughout the empty arena.
The team grabs a quick drink as Porter and his assistants Bob Cantu, Ben Johnson and Kramer Knutson, come together to chat about their next drill. Cantu, Porter’s lead assistant, coached at USC when players like Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan were there, while Johnson coached the likes of Klay Thompson at Washington State. With their staff comes a proven philosophy at the Division-I level that translates into moving players to the next level.
For Porter, he’s getting a chance to coach his two sons, Malcolm and Franklin, both of whom are redshirt players in their sophomore and freshman years respectively. After coaching stints around the NBA in Phoenix, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Detroit and Sacramento, Porter has come here to the University of Portland to “shape the live’s of young men.”
“It’s not just the basketball aspect, it’s about life,” Porter says. “Teaching these young men life lessons and helping them further their careers. As a father with two sons of my own, it’s an everyday battle [chuckles]. But, a lot of the stuff we do and preach on the basketball court, I find really helps in life. The way we operate, I look at the basketball side translating to off-the-court success. In both, everyone has something they bring to the table and you’ve got to find what fits best for the whole group to succeed toward one common goal.”
Porter has played under some of the greatest coaches in basketball history like Gregg Popovich, Jack Ramsay, Rick Adelman, Flip Saunders, and Pat Riley, and as a primary point-guard on many of those teams, he served as the coach on the court before he was a coach on the sidelines. Now, he’s taking those lessons learned in the NBA and bringing them to his Pilots players.