Sixers’ Maxey-Whisperer Coach Drawing Interest from Local College Program: Report

Tyrese Maxey Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Assistant coach Sam Cassell of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks with Tyrese Maxey against the Chicago Bulls.

The Philadelphia 76ers boast one of the league’s deepest coaching benches. Doc Rivers is a former champion head coach. Assistant David Joerger has been a head coach in the NBA, while Sam Cassell routinely draws interest in vacant gigs during the offseason, including last year’s open Jazz spot that ultimately went to then-Celtics assistant Will Hardy.

And according to a recent report from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Cassell is once again drawing interest in teams with open head coaching spots.

Only this time, the interest isn’t coming from across the country in Salt Lake City, but rather across town for the Temple Owls.

“76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell has drawn interest from Temple University for its head coaching job, @hoopshype has learned,” Scotto tweeted recently. “At this time, however, Cassell is focused on helping the Sixers compete for a championship. Cassell has interviewed for NBA head coaching jobs in the past and is in his 14th season as an assistant coach. He also works closely with Tyrese Maxey in Philadelphia.”

As Scotto noted, Cassell (and Spencer Rivers, a Sixers skills development coach) have worked hard to develop Tyrese Maxey into the talent he has become in his third season.

Given Cassell’s success with Maxey, it’s no surprise the former Boston Celtics player is linked to a college program that could use a steady, development-focused hand.

Cassell Lauds Maxey’s Potential

If you ask Cassell, Maxey’s strong development was something he completely expected. In fact, everyone should have expected it.

“Who didn’t expect that? Every guy I work with takes huge leaps every year they play,” Cassell said. “I understand the concept of the game of basketball. I understand how to be successful in a basketball game. Tyrese wasn’t a top-15 pick, top-10, lottery pick. When we got him, we were shocked that we got him. And I was happy; I was delighted when we drafted him.”

By all indications, the Sixers got a steal. In a redraft by Bleacher Report, Maxey was taken fifth overall, 16 slots ahead of where he was initially selected.

And Cassell got to work right away with Maxey.

“And I said, ‘Wow. This kid is an undeveloped talent, and once he knows how passionate I am with him and he (starts) to learn’ — I’m like his big uncle. I call him my son. I call every guy I work with my son,” Cassell said last summer.

Cassell Reveals Extensive NBA Connections

Another point in Cassell’s favor is his extensive experience with other NBA stars, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) and John Wall.

“Once they get to where they need as far as the game of basketball, all of them always contact me, from John Wall to Bradley Beal to Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander), Austin Rivers — guys that I put time into,” Cassell noted.

Cassell’s work product speaks for itself. SGA, for his part, is likely headed for an All-NBA honor after making his first All-Star Game this season.

“I believe in being on time. I don’t believe in having two-hour workouts as far as basketball. I don’t believe in that. I believe in having an hour or less — sometimes I go for 45 minutes, sometimes it’s 55 minutes. That’s how I get down. We get right into the details of basketball: ‘This is what I see you need. If you get this down, it’s over,'” Cassell finished.