Bruce Hoffman Notes by Steve Smiley
Originally featured on Coach Smiley’s website: CoachSmiley.Blogspot.com
Here is a quick compilation of notes I took from Coach Bruce Hoffman speaking to our team during the past four seasons. Coach Hoffman is in several Halls of Fame, including the NJCAA for his accomplishments during coaching at Sheridan College for almost 40 years. He is an absolute legend and I’ve learned so much from Coach Hoffman since I’ve been hear. Enjoy!
***There will undoubtedly be some carry-over in concepts as I’ve just copied all of the notes into this one document***
– This is the toughest time of the year (3 weeks into the conditioning phase). It is especially hard on freshmen; learning to balance time with academics, athletics, etc.
– Players must BUY-IN!
– Players must have CARRY-OVER!
– Players must have DISCIPLINE!
– What separates good from great teams?
o Fundamentals – Do it day after day after day
– Pain Threshold – will determine how good of a player you will be, and how good of a team we will have this year. You must increase your threshold every day.
– We all have a different mental makeup.
– Being able to play hard is an acquired skill.
– Every other team has good players à what will make the difference? The attention to the little things.
– “The great fault of basketball is that only 5 can play at a time.”
o You can’t win with just 5 guys. You win championships with your bench.
– 5 players that need to be on the floor =
o Point Guard – Pass it when they are open.
o Post must be a great rebounder.
o Must have a great shooter.
o Must have a great defender.
o Must have a garbage man.
– It’s not who starts the game, but who finishes the game…
– Every player will get a chance; you have to be ready when your # is called.
– Be the best player that you can possibly be; don’t look back 10 years from now with regrets.
– Bobby Knight: “Nothing more common than somebody with potential. What is uncommon is the person with potential that uses it.”
– John Thompson: “Best thing about college basketball is the degree that goes with it.”
o Average HS grad will make $80,000
o Average College grad will make $2,000,000
– The most important thing is your degree. That is the ONLY measure of success / failure.
– Building habits: Must repeat the skill over and over and over again.
– One of the biggest skills you can have is PLAYING HARD (and it is a skill).
o You can earn significant minutes by just playing hard
– Players in this room only have 3 or 4 years left – your engine should always be running, no excuses for not playing hard.
– Don’t want to have regrets about your athletic career, academics, etc
– When you look back, how will you remember your career?
– You have to look out for #1 (yourself) – in terms of, you are responsible for your success
– Nobody likes knuckleheads
– Must be a student of the game
– Need to listen to what your coaches say (in the heat of the moment), not how they say it
– “Listen & Hear” – Bobby Knight – Need to hear, not just listen
– Players start to really get in the flow after Christmas
– Work hard, enjoy playing.
– Make the most of what you have… RIGHT NOW!!!
– Players must use their skill (basketball) to pay for their education
o When basketball is over, what skills do you have to be hired?
– What you do now will have ramifications forever (Academics, social decisions, etc)
– Two things to remember
o Who brought you to the dance?
o Who pays your check?
– Asked what the difference is between his best teams, and the teams that went to Hutch
o Little things (fundamentals)
o Played great defense
– There will be expectations of you here.
– When you get to college, the coaches own you.
– Who determines your playing time? You!
– Do the 5 best players start / play the most? Not necessarily…
– There’s not one player in this room that can’t play at the next level in some form or fashion?
– The most important thing is education…
o Coach Hoffman coached for 34 years, won the Region several times (advanced to national tournament), was ranked #1 in nation, etc..
o Only had 2 players in 34 years get invited to NBA camps and both were cut.
o Point is… playing days only last so long. You better have a degree when you are finished up.
– You will be evaluated by:
o How hard you work
o Must play all out, all the time. The MOTOR has to always be running.
– The Threshold of Pain
o Must push your individual threshold each day to increase it (it’s all in the mind).
– Learn how to take a charge!
o 90% of all big games are decided by 5 points or less. It always comes down to the little things.
– Must play smart…
o Have a football mentality, in that each play of game has equal importance. Any play could be the big play (great point!).
– You must be a student of the game and learn the fundamentals.
o Know the time, score, and current strategy.
– Two most important times of the season in juco
o Oct 1 – Nov 1
o Tourney Time
– Some people just don’t heed advice / warnings
– Have no regrets – only have 4 years to play before you hit the real world
– Things that can jeopardize your situation
o Trying to score every time you touch it
o Being a knucklehead (issues). – off or on-court issues “Locker-room lawyer”
– Worst thing that happened to me was graduating and having to get a real job
– You’re not like the other kids in the dorms. You have more to lose than they do
– Coaches are fired for 2 reasons
o Off court issues
– Players need to understand they are fortunate to be here and have a scholarship
– Right now, as a player, you have a sellable skill, that earns you a scholarship. What will your sellable skill be in 4 years (to get a job)?????
– John Thompson – “Best part of college basketball is degree you get with it.” – Make sure you get the degree!
– 65-85% of jobs in future require a degree!
– What do you want to do for next 45-50 years…
Smiley came to Weber State after spending the six years as the head coach at Sheridan College, a national junior college powerhouse in Sheridan, Wyo. In the six years with the Generals, Smiley posted a 153-43 (.780) overall record and led Sheridan to four North Sub-Region 9 titles and two runner-up finishes. His teams also advanced to the Region 9 Final Four four times and appeared in two championship games. Smiley was twice named the North Region Coach of the Year.
During his time at Sheridan, Smiley had 21 players sign to play NCAA Division I basketball and a total of 38 players moved on to the four-year level. He coached two players who earned NJCAA All-American honors and nine players who earned All-Region honors. Several players wen on to play professional basketball across the world.
In addition to head coach, Smiley also worked as the Athletics Director at Sheridan.
Prior to his time at Sheridan, Smiley spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where he worked under the winningest coach in NCAA history, Don Meyer. During his time at NSU, the Wolves posted a 50-12 record. Smiley was also the head assistant coach at Black Hills State University during the 2005-06 season.
A native of Denver, Smiley graduated from Northern State in 2004. He was a three-year starter with the Wolves and led the Northern Sun league in assists for three straight seasons. He ranks second in NSU history in career assists with 537. As a senior he was named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year and the league tournament MVP. He helped lead the team to a 24-7 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
He played high school basketball at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo, where he was a four-year starter and earned All-State honors twice. He also led the state of Colorado in assists during his junior season.
Smiley and his wife Nikki have two children, Madden and Avery.