By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Rattlers had the opportunity to train Thursday with a former NBA player development coach and a current assistant coach for the Lobos.
Scott Peterson was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2002-003 season in which the Spurs won the NBA title. Peterson worked with Spurs’ players one-on-one and helped to develop their game.
Peterson is currently an assistant coach for the University of New Mexico Lobos basketball team, where he serves the same role helping players strategize and prep for games.
“My goals in these workshops is to increase a player’s confidence and help them to play with a lot of intensity and be aggressive when they handle the ball,” said Peterson. “The players are really receptive to what I am teaching them and the Rattlers have a lot of skilled players.”
Peterson played basketball at Valley High School in Albuquerque, where he graduated in 1992. Following graduation, Peterson took an assistant coaching position at Valley and remained there until 1997. In 1999, he took the head coach’s job at Valley through 2001. He then joined the Spurs coaching staff.
“I was taking area players to a camp in Aspen, held by the Spurs and I became friends with a lot of the staff while I was there,” said Peterson. “They liked my style of coaching and they eventually asked me to join their program. It was incredible being part of a championship team but I had my goals set on coaching in the college level.”
It’s obvious from Peterson’s work with Rattlers, that he enjoys sharing his own passion for basketball as he coaches and encourages players to push themselves hard during the drills. He also reminds the players to not let the other team see that they are tired.
“A player will play his heart out if they have a coach that believes in them. Coaches know what a player is capable of doing and what they want to see from that player. Good coaches will work with them in order to bring out a player’s true potential,” said Peterson.
“I think the coaching staff here in Tucumcari is wonderful. They have let me come and work with their players and even let me teach them some new things and I know how coaches can be when it comes to someone invading their program.”
“It is great that Scott takes time to come down and train with us,” said freshman Tyler Loftis. “He is helping us to work better as a team and that is going to help us out in the long run.”
“He used a lot of the same terminology that both coach Hittson and I have used when practicing with the guys,” said coach John Span. “When the players hear it come from someone like Scott, who has such great credentials, it helps to reinforce what we have been telling them.”
Peterson worked with both the Rattlers and Lady Rattlers basketball programs for several hours each. The teams worked on defensive and offensive drills, dribbling, passing and drills designed to increase the Rattlers skill, coordination and confidence with the ball. Peterson worked with the players one-on-one and often stopped to answer player’s questions.
“I think that what we learned today will help us out a lot,” said senior Samantha Montano. “We learned to play better as a team with this workshop. We will go into our next game with higher confidence.”
The workshop was made possible with the help of Doug Powers and the Tucumcari Elks Lodge. The Elks covered the $500 for Peterson’s travel expenses and workshop fees.
“I am truly grateful to the Elks for their help making this basketball camp possible,” said Powers, who is the father of Kadi Powers, a sophomore who plays forward for the Lady Rattlers. “You can see a definite difference in their confidence after they have worked with Scott and their skill level improves as well.”