A quick interview with new Alaska head coach Alex Compton
by rick olivares pic by nuki sabio
We took the time out to chat with Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton who I work with in the National Basketball Training Center (along with National University head coach Eric Altamirano). We’ve held long talks about basketball, sports, and life in general. This was our first with Alex as head coach.
Rick: Did you ever think you would coach at all?
Coach Alex: No. Growing up, I always said that whatever I was going to do after playing I wasn’t going to coach. I just felt that the world was too interesting a place and there were so many other things out there that I wanted to see, do, and experience.
Rick: When did you think you'd get into coaching and why?
Coach Alex: Actually, Raymond Yu called me when I had just finished playing in the PBL. He offered me a job to be an assistant to coach Leo Austria on Welcoat that was joining the PBA the following conference. It was only after that call that I decided to get into coaching.
Rick: Prior to Alaska, what have been your coaching duties either as head coach or assistant?
Coach Alex: Mainly to help the head coach in whatever way he needs help. With Coach Leo and Coach Caloy (Garcia) at Welcoat, I think I was so new to coaching that my biggest job was to learn from them, help them where I could and not get in the way for other things.
With Coach Bo (Perasol) at Powerade, I was specifically assigned to our team’s offense. Over at Alaska as first assistant to Luigi Trillo, we talked a lot about all facets of the game.
Rick: So how did you fare?
Coach Alex: I guess the best people to answer how I fared would be the head coaches I worked for. After all, my job was to assist them. I am sure I could have done better for all of them but that’s all part of learning and growing.
Rick: What to date has been the most memorable coaching gig or game you've had and why?
Coach Alex: Obviously, the championship at Alaska is number one. That is what you shoot for as a team and that conference was amazing. We were so good defensively and we won the championship because of that. The run to the finals with Powerade was also very special. We were the last team in the playoffs and we were able to make it to the finals. The way that group of guys came together and the way we maximized what we had – that was special. It was special being a part of that. Who can forget Gary David’s hands being on fire?
Rick: What has been the most challenging adjustment from being a player to a coach?
Coach Alex: Initially, as an assistant, it was learning to pick my spot as to when and how much to talk. I was always a point guard growing up and my coaches told me to talk all the time to the team. So I had this notion that becoming a coach, you would need to talk more.
I was wrong. You need to talk less to the team yet still share your thoughts with the head coach while timing your instructions, advice, and coaching to the players.
Coach Leo Austria is such a good man and was so patient with me in the beginning and he really helped me out.
Rick: What are the challenges facing you with Alaska?
Coach Alex: Right now it’s just trying to win games in this shortened conference. After that I think it will be trying to analyze our strengths and weaknesses. To establish an identity that fits with who we are.
Rick: What do you plan to do? Keep the triangle or run something else?
Coach Alex: We were thinking of running the hexagon but coach Topex (Robinson) pointed out that we would get a technical for that since there would be too many men on the floor!
Seriously now. Our offense and defense will be both thoroughly revisited in the off season and we will try and determine what is best for the team and where to go from there.