Inside the Game: Alec Kagan – University of Cincinnati Men’s Basketball Manager
Ball On My Mind is conducting a series titled “Inside the Game”, which explores the inner workings of diverse basketball personnel in the hoops industry. We hope to deliver insightful and compelling content for casual fans and basketball enthusiasts alike.
First up is Alec Kagan, who is entering his 2nd season as the men’s basketball manager for the University of Cincinnati. The Bearcats finished the 2015-16 season with a 22-11 record and are poised to make noise in the AAC this year. With the 2016-17 season officially underway, we caught up with Kagan to discuss his role as a basketball manager, takeaways from head coach Mike Cronin and more.
Ball On My Mind: Take us through a typical game day in a team manager’s point of view. What needs to be done ahead of tipoff? What type of responsibilities do you have during game time?
Alec Kagan: Before tipoff, we need to manage the locker room. This includes cleaning, vacuuming, picking up trash, etc. as well as prepping individual players’ lockers. Ensuring each player has their needed gear meeting their specific requests in terms of shoes, spandex, short sleeve/long sleeve undershirts, socks, and warmups. We then have to set up video, if we are recording via our own cameras, or sync our SportsCode program with the national coverage in order to cut the film simultaneously with the game in order to expedite the process of cutting media timeouts and delays off the film. Then, we rebound and workout players getting them warmed up and ready to play. During the game, there are a variety of duties we as managers rotate. The duties include: cutting film, recording, delivering/folding towels and hydration to players, assembling chairs during timeouts, ensuring there is always a coaches board (keeping an extra handy in case one is broken), and delivering any miscellaneous items coaches, players, or trainers may request.
BOMM: You have multiple roles as the team manager, what would you say you enjoy the most?
AK: What I enjoy the most about being involved with the team involves working out players and the team comradery. Finding a way to engage players by training outside of practice using fun games and unique drills helps encourage players to workout more often and allows me to bond with them. Also, as a competitor and someone who is trying to play myself, I enjoy beating the guys in shooting drills and competitions!
BOMM: What are some of the biggest takeaways learning under head coach Mike Cronin?
AK: Some of the primary takeaways from Coach are his intensity and intellect. He brings an old school fire and rage to his practices and can be strict at times, but does also have a lighter side that occasionally arises. He also is able to see the game very well, and understands how to simplify and adapt to player’s strength and weaknesses.
BOMM: Cincinnati is pegged as the favorite to win the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular-season title in this year’s preseason poll. Being around the team, how special is this year’s squad and what is the key to success?
AK: We have been rusty which is what we expect to begin the season and are continuing to progress day by day. There are pieces to achieve greatness, and once they buy into Coaches message of defense and rebounding, the results should speak for themselves. As cliche as it may sound, players need to approach the season one game at a time and focus on team values rather than individual accolades.
BOMM: Looking ahead, what do you hope to build upon your experience with UC Basketball?
AK: After my experiences with the team, I hope to be involved in the NBA either as a player, Head Coach, Assistant Coach, and maybe other front office positions if they present themselves.
Piece by Conrad Chow – Twitter:@chowster24