Talking two living legends: F&M’s Glenn Robinson and the Warriors’ Stephen Curry

Glad to have done this interview … From Lancaster Online.

The Warriors’ popularity is soaring right now, and it seems like everyone wants to find out more about this team. Even people back in my old neck of the woods (Pennsylvania) want to know what this Warriors’ team is like. Here’s a transcript of an interview I recently did where the subjects were two legends I’ve happened to cross paths with: Glenn Robinson and Stephen Curry.

Of course, you know who Curry is. He ain’t a bad little player. Well, Robinson is a coaching legend at Franklin and Marshall College, and I was lucky enough to play for him. He’s about to become just the fourth coach in NCAA basketball history to win 900 games. The other three: Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Herb Magee. I was happy to have the opportunity to talk about both Robinson and Curry.

A Berks County native, Matt Steinmetz played four years under legendary men’s basketball coach Glenn Robinson at Franklin & Marshall, graduating in 1986.

Today, Steinmetz is a veteran sports journalist who hosts the “NBA This Week” show and Golden State Warriors’ postgame shows on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco.

For two-plus decades, he’s covered San Francisco Bay Area sports, the NBA and the Warriors. Over his career, Steinmetz has been a beat writer, national columnist, analyst and in-game sideline reporter.

LNP Sports asked for his feedback on a pair of topics he knows more than a little something about: F&M’s Robinson, who’s just three wins shy of becoming the fourth head coach to reach 900 victories, and the Steph Curry-led Warriors, the reigning NBA champions.

What was it like to play for Coach Robinson?

At the time it was more frustrating than rewarding. I was young and immature and didn’t even understand the kind of coaching I needed back then. So, there were times it was a struggle. Over time, I’ve gained a greater appreciation and understanding of his greatness. Coach was doggedly consistent, extraordinarily prepared and relentlessly competitive.

He had a basketball foundation he would never stray far from in terms of principles, beliefs and strategies, but within that framework he allowed players their freedom. Glenn was definitely “old school” when it came to practice habits, discipline and doing things the right way. But he also had a creative/progressive side, particularly when it came to offensive strategies, that set him apart in a big way.

Why do you think he’s been so successful?

Consistency. I’ve been back in touch with Glenn a little bit over the past couple of years, and I’m realizing I’m dealing with very much the same basketball man I dealt with when I was 20. … He has core basketball beliefs that have worked for him over the years and he knows exactly how to implement them into a program.

He’s run the same offense for forever and yet that offense continues to evolve. … I think that has worked extremely well for him because now he has a foundation that’s completely settled and yet there’s always room to evolve.

You’ve covered the Warriors for years. What’s it been like to see them ascend like this?

Surreal. … This team once went 12 straight years without going to the playoffs. That’s hard to do in the NBA, when more than half the teams make the playoffs. But this team always had a great fan base and during those years we’d wonder what would happen if this team ever got good.

In 2007, the Warriors (“We Believe”) made the playoffs and the Bay Area went nuts. But it was one and done and just like that it was over. What’s going on now out here is almost indescribable. These guys are rock stars.

How has Curry made the jump to superstardom?

To me, there are two reasons … First is his ability to shoot the ball. That simple. We’ve never seen a player shoot the ball as accurately from as far away from the basket as Curry. In fact, I don’t think there’s been anyone close. The idea that he can shoot a 28- or 30-footer effortlessly and accurately forces defenses to guard him farther out on the floor. And he’s too skilled and too clever for that. He has made an art of exploiting this.

Second, his work ethic is legitimate. A lot of players get to the NBA and they take a deep breath, an exhale if you will. Other players get to work, and that’s what Curry did. The thing that’s been truly special about Curry is he continues to improve. He’s gotten better every single year he’s been in the league. There just aren’t many players who do that.

How have the Warriors changed the way the NBA game is played?

Well, I think they’ll eventually change the way the game is played for the better, but I actually think now, in the short term, they’re changing the game for the worse. Because the Warriors have been so effective at spacing the floor, playing without a big man and shooting the 3-pointer, many teams have tried to copy that style.

But it’s a fool’s errand. Not every team can play like the Warriors because not every team has the skill level … that they have. So, what we have now is a lot of teams trying to do what the Warriors are doing, but doing it very poorly because they’re not equipped to do it.

Curry and Klay Thompson are two of the best 3-point shooters the game has ever seen. You can go ahead and try to mimic that but you won’t do it as well as the Warriors. Over time, teams will start to do it better.

It’s funny, I compare the Warriors offensively to Princeton under Pete Carril and even the old Reading High School basketball teams under Carril and later Jim Gano. Those teams spread you out, went back-door if you overplayed, and were constantly moving without the ball. Princeton and Reading High tried to get layups on you.

The Warriors play similarly on offense, only they’re looking to drop 3’s on you. But the philosophy is the same.

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About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz currently co-hosts the "Warriors WrapUp" show and "NBA This Week" on 95.7-FM The Game, the franchise's flagship station, in San Francisco. He also co-hosts the Sal and Steiny podcast.
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