Sean Mccaw is a American/Austrain that had along playing career in Europe and has got into coaching some years ago. The 39 year old played in countries like Austria, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. He won a league title in Austria with Arkadia Traiskirchen in 2000 and was a three time slam dunk contest winner at the Austrian All star contest. He started his coaching career with BBC Bayreuth working with the youth for three seasons. Last season he was an assistant coach for German Pro A team Cuxhaven Bascats. This season he will work in the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweog organization coaching the NBBL, JBBL and pro B teams. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Sean thanks for talking to German Hoops. You signed with the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig some days ago. You had a two year contract with the Cuxhaven Bascats. In the Cuxhaven Bascats press release, it was stated that you wanted out of your contract because you had a better contract offer from Braunschweig?
It isn´t important for me when they write, but I do care about WHAT they write. I did not decide to leave Cuxhaven because I got an offer from Braunschweig. I actually had two other offers. I was sure I would leave Cuxhaven long before any offer came. I won´t go into the reasons why, but I will say that it wasn´t a good fit between me and the club almost from the start.
Cuxhaven was very successful reaching the playoffs. In the past in your short coaching career, you strived to stay in one place as you did in Bayreuth for three seasons. You have a big family so I am sure moving back and fourth isn´t something you want to do. So what were the main reasons for leaving Cuxhaven after only one season?
You are right, I am not the type to move all around the country when I feel comfortable somewhere, especially because of my family, but Cuxhaven was not the right fit for me and my family so I made a choice as a father first, and as a coach second. My family and I actually loved living in Cuxhaven and the fans were great.
It says on the Cuxhaven home page that you left despite getting an offer from Cuxhaven. Why didn´t you take it?
Well actually I had a contract for another season. Things are still not totally resolved between me and the club which is very unfortunate but I will let my lawyer handle those unresolved issues. I am just happy to move on to the next part of my coaching career.
After a season in Cuxhaven, what will you remember most out of this learning experience to help you in the future when dealing with teams?
I have to say it wasn´t all bad for me in Cuxhaven. I met some very nice people and the players we had last season were all really professional and took their job seriously which made things a lot easier. Coaching wise, it was new for me to be an assistant coach and I saw a lot in my role. That alone will for sure help me in my future. The team was much better than most expected so that was also great to experience. On the business side, I will just make sure to choose more wisely, but there are some things a person can never know until you are actually there.
What things were you able to learn on the court from head coach Kristis Plendiskis that you will take to Braunschweig?
Krists and I had a solid working relationship in my opinion and I believe he has a bright future as a coach. There is a lot I can take from this past season but of course we are two totally different coaches so I will stick to my own personal coaching philosophy.
How proud are you off American Scott Thomas that made the jump to the first league in Belgium. Will he be able to make the adjustment there?
Scott did an amazing job this season and I am sure he will be successful in Belgium. Actually I am really proud of all the guys we had this season and I am sure they will all find their way. A few have already signed and I couldn´t be happier for them. It was a joy to work with them.
Monyea Pratt had a very good last two months. Is he a guy that could make the jump to the Beko BBL?
Monyea probably had to adjust the most out of any player we had on our team. In the Pro B he was a go to guy, and with us he came mostly from the bench and his minutes were usually dependent on others, but he really took it well and continued to work hard in practice and play his role in games to the best of his ability although we all knew he should be playing more. At the end, he got his chance and really did well. Because he is so variable as a player, I would say that he is a guy that COULD play in the Beko BBL. It all depends on what a coach is looking for. In my opinion, he would deserve the chance.
How well did German Maurice Plukota develop? In what area did he develop the most?
Maurice did a good job for us. I think he has the skill set to be a decent player someday. He just needs the right setting and maybe an experienced coach to bring the best out in him. He hasn´t been playing basketball for so long but his athleticism is incredible. I think he doesn´t know how much potential he really has. To make the next step, he needs to learn the finer points to the game that have nothing to do with pure athleticism. I think he got better with that as the year went on though.
How excited are you to be working for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. This seems like a place you will enjoy. I remember seeing you there at games in the last years.
I am incredibly excited to have the chance to work within the New Yorker Phantoms organization. I understand their vision for the future and appreciate their trust in me to do my part to develop their young German talent. Over the years they have put out some incredible talent but now its time for us not only to develop talent but to make sure that these players identify with the club/city and want to be a part of it for many years! That is what I look forward to being a part of.
How strange is it already being part of the organization despite no new head coach yet?
Actually it doesn´t affect my work at all at the moment. I do not know much about what the club has planned about their new head coach, but I am sure Oliver Braun and the rest of the management are doing all they can behind the scenes to bring in the best possible coach. It isn´t always an easy process though.
You will have three duties as NBBL, JBBL and assistant to the Pro B team. How will you prepare for these duties in the next months?
Well with the NBBL it has already started. I am going to coach them in the NBBL Qualification round on the 22nd and 23rd in Hamburg. Although I am getting a late start with the team, I am confident that we will qualify in a tough group. After that my most important thing to do will be to meet with the youth coaches and develop a good working relationship. There is so much for me to learn and I have so many ideas, but without having a good relationship with the people I work with, it would be difficult. Liviu Calin will be a big help to me and I hope to learn a lot from his vast experience as a coach to help me grow as a coach. A day without learning is a wasted day.
You were three seasons with BBC Bayreuth working with the youth. What is your biggest strength as a basketball teacher for the youth?
Because I still have contact with many of my former players in Bayreuth, I would have to say that one of my biggest strengths is the ability to teach and gain respect without the players having the feeling that I don´t understand them. I was like them when I was younger, and I am not so old that I don´t remember what it was like to be young and at times wild. I believe respect is earned on a day to day basis and not just because I have the title of Coach or because I yell at them. I have a different approach, and so far in my career, I have always had good relationships with my players.
How disappointed are you that you most likely won´t be coaching Dennis Schroeder this season?
I am not disappointed at all. Even though I don´t know him, I have followed his career and believe he has an incredible chance because of the talent he has and how hard he worked for it. As a basketball fan, I am excited to see how his career develops. I wish him all the best, even though I won´t have an opportunity to coach him.
Where do you see him landing in the NBA draft?
I look at the draft boards just like everyone else and of course its difficult to for see what place anyone will land. There are too many factors involved in the NBA draft, but because this isn´t the strongest draft, and because of how he impressed the scouts, I have a feeling he will go higher than most draft boards have him listed.
When was the last time you watched your buzzer beater against Bremerhaven?
Come on Miles, that was ages ago, no one is interested in that haha! No seriously, I showed it to my kids a few months ago because the topic came up about the longest shot I ever made. I told them, but they didn´t believe me so I used YouTube as a way to prove myself. The look on their faces was priceless! The only thing I really remember about that game is that we lost.
Will the Spurs be able to dethrone the Heat?
I am not a “Heat Hater”, but a Spurs fan…and that since I was a young kid rocking the David Robinson jersey and trying to play like Sean Elliott on the playground. I think it will go to 7 games with my Spurs winning.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
A movie DVD? Whats that? You think a father of 3 and passionate basketball coach has time for DVD´s unless its a basketball game? Haha…actually I haven´t watched a DVD in a while because I´m too busy watching reality trash online like Love & Hip Hop. Terrible isn´t it?
Thanks Sean for the chat.