Jerry Stackhouse, Coby Karl eager for D-League All-Star game

Jerry Stackhouse, Coby Karl eager for D-League All-Star game

Jerry Stackhouse played in two NBA All-Star games, and some of his work from two appearances in the league’s dunk contest remains popular YouTube fodder . Coby Karl has been to a few All-Star weekends has well, a perk of having his father coaching the game.

Next weekend, they’ll get a different perspective.

But soon, they’ll see it from the D-League perspective.

Stackhouse and Coby Karl are the coaches for next Saturday’s NBA Development League All-Star Game. Both are in their first seasons as D-League head coaches, Stackhouse with Toronto’s Raptors 905 and Karl with the Lakers’ Los Angeles D-Fenders. They share a vision — unlike the minimal-defence game that is coming next Sunday night, the D-League contest is a chance for players to show why they belong.

“That’s who we are,” Stackhouse said. “Coby, he has the background as a player who played in the NBA and a real background in this D-League. He takes it seriously. I take it seriously. Defence, share the ball, do the right things. We’re going to reiterate to the guys that for them, this isn’t about having a highlight weekend. Show people that you compete.”

The D-League All-Star matchup last year had 26 free throws, the NBA one had seven. The D-League game wasn’t exactly a grind-it-out matchup, but there was a competitive feel — with 24 players looking for jobs at the next level.

Stackhouse and Karl want next Saturday to be the same.

“Obviously, our objective is different than just having an All-Star Game,” Karl said. “It’s a great honour for me and it’s a great reward for the players and it’s a great opportunity as well for those players to be seen in front of NBA personnel.”

It’s going to be quite the stage for the D-Leaguers, literally and figuratively.

Last year’s D-League All-Star matchup was held in a minor-league hockey arena in Toronto, a small building located a few miles from the Air Canada Centre that the Raptors call home. This year’s D-League game is going to be at the Superdome — being transformed into a 10,000-seat basketball arena for the day.

Even downsized, the Superdome will open some eyes.

So has the level of play in the D-League, at least for Stackhouse.

Stackhouse’s last NBA game was four years ago. He’s been involved in coaching at the AAU level, was a Raptors assistant last season and now instead of going to Portland, Oregon to play the Trail Blazers he’s going to Portland, Maine to play the Red Claws. (A noted foodie, Stackhouse is talking about a lobster spot he found there.)

“I’ve had so many things that I’ve been doing, even after I finished playing, whether it was broadcasting or whatever, it was still talking about the NBA and not the Development League,” Stackhouse said. “It’s a hidden gem, man. Being able to see the talent there, the guys who are getting called up, it’s fun to see.”

Stackhouse still plays some, too: In every Raptors 905 practice, he runs a drill where the coaches get involved against players.

“I take all the shots,” Stackhouse said. “I’m looking for the ball to get around to me so I can be Jerry Stackhouse for at least five or 10 minutes each day. The guys get a kick out of it.”

Both Stackhouse and Karl are finding that name recognition helps, too. Stackhouse had a long NBA career; Karl is the son of longtime NBA coach George Karl, and also had NBA playing stints with Golden State, Cleveland the Lakers.

They’ve both been where D-League guys want to go.

“The analogy I use is it’s like training a puppy,” Stackhouse said. “The first thing you have to do is get them to look at you. If you can get them to look at you, then you can teach them. They look at me because they want it and they know that I’ve done it, so that’s one hurdle that I don’t have to deal with. They have their eyes and their ears open.”

Karl is finding the same to be true.

“It’s truly a dream for me come true, just to be a head coach, period, in America at the professional level,” Karl said. “And the success we’ve had as a team has added to that. Now the next thing for me is to get these guys NBA call-ups and get rewarded for doing things the right way.”

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Langley School District Foundation volunteers tackle wrapping projects of all sizes, shapes

This year’s wrap money goes to food and homeless initiatives.

Cold nights mean homeless turned away from Langley shelter

The Gateway of Hope shelter has had send some people to other shelters as they ran out of room.

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Many turn out for Langley neighbourhood celebration

The second annual Brookswood Night of Lights on Dec. 8 kicked off the holiday season.

Langley RCMP seek man wanted for drug charges

David Main was last seen living in Langley City.

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

5 to start your day

Gordie Hogg takes South Surrey White Rock, Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings and more

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exit

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

Most Read