Mike Maker, associate head coach of the University of St. Thomas men’s basketball team, recently spoke with The Boston Globe about his experiences coaching the Celtics head coach, Joe Mazzulla, who recently led his team to a near-historic comeback in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals series.
From the story:
“That was my first recruit, and I tell you I fell in love with Joe,” Maker said over the phone from Minnesota, where he is the associate head coach at University of St. Thomas. “He’s a fierce competitor, highly intelligent. He was really good in track too, a really good sprinter. He was just a good athlete. And tough as nails.
“It gets lost how smart Joe is. Having worked for coach Beilein, we liked cerebral players, guys with a high basketball IQ that made everyone else around them better and that were competitive and tough. Joe was all of that. That was an easy decision to make. Joe was a perfect fit for us.”
St. Thomas is Maker’s latest stop in a long and successful coaching career, one that, amazingly, has another connection resonating in this series. Maker led Williams College to Division III dominance as head coach from 2008-14, years in which he would coach both Duncan Robinson, the Heat’s sharpshooting 3-point ace, and Will Hardy, the former Celtic assistant who left to take over the Utah Jazz not long before Mazzulla was promoted.