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InsideHoops [HIGH SCHOOL] Nov. 21, 2003

Ron Naclerio Interview




Ron Naclerio is as established a high school coach and all-levels basketball teacher as there is. When you see the likes of Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Rafer Alston succeed in the NBA, you're seeing bits and pieces of the result of time spent being taught basketball by Naclerio. When you see Julius Hodge destroy competition in college hoops, part of what you're seeing is the effect Naclerio has when applying personal instruction to basketball players at any level of the game. He's the long-time head coach of Cardozo high school in New York, and is so famous a teacher that players who have nothing to do with the school seek Neclario to work out with and get better. sat down with Naclerio in the beautiful Sports Club | LA in Manhattan to talk about his life in sports and what the future holds. Introduce yourself, run through your history, lay it all down.

Ron Naclerio: I went to Cardozo high school, played baseball and basketball there, was an all-Queens basketball player, an all-city baseball player. From there I went to St. John's University. Played on the great St. John's teams; I was an all-East player, got drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1979. I led the minor league in stolen bases, New York Penn league, broke Omar Moreno's stolen base record. I ended up getting hurt. Also at St. John's I played JV basketball for Coach Brian Mahoney for two years, and sub-varisty for a year. That was when the NCAA had sub-varsity. From there, I became the youngest high school coach in America. When I was 22, just turned 22... 21 going on 22, I took over Cardozo, coaching basketball. My first year I was 1-21, but I learned a lot and started going to every clinic and learned how to do it. When you're young, you think you have all the answers when you don't even know the questions. The following year, when the same kids minus three, I was 20-4, it was the biggest turnaround in the history of that team. Went 1-21 to 20-4 in one year. I got into it, started having a lot of good players go division 1 (in college), started having a lot of good players go division 1, I've had over 40 go division 1. One became a first-round NBA draft choice, Dwayne Causwell. I was heavily involved with Lloyd Daniels, getting him off drugs and his life settled, and he ended up making the NBA. Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston played for me - he's known me since he was nine years old, he's now with the Miami Heat. Dwayne Woodward was a Boston College star, overseas MVP in Cypress last year. As far as the key people I work out, my high school, college and pro guys, they think I'm as good if not better than anybody they've ever been around. I've worked out guys like Ron Artest, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Mark Jackson, Stephon Marbury, Mike Dunleavy Jr., college stars Julius Hodge, Ben Gordon, Abdul Mills, I could go on and on with the pro guys, Mitch Richmond... they all started putting the bug in my head, especially Marty Conlon - he was the first guy saying, "You should try to take this to another level," and I thought he was talking about college, but he meant the NBA. He ended up speaking to Pat Riley about me doing this for the Heat, and it didn't come to the point where I got interviewed or anything, but most of the NBA's general managers know me now, most of the people in the East know me, all the basketball guys in the NBA know me, a lot of the coaches, and they feel it's just a matter of time before somebody gives me a break. A lot of it's just right place right time. I'm hoping the Knicks and Nets, one day, say hey, just come on in. I'm not looking for a job right away, I'm almost looking for a tryout, like a player. One week, let me get in there, work with the players, and after the week, ask the players behind my back what they think, and I know what the players would say.

You KNOW you want more Naclerio. Cool personal stories about dealing with a few famous NBA players and much more comes in the remaining bulk of the interview, coming Sunday. It's Naclerio-mania on


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