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Being A Long-Time Assistant Has Prepared Mike De Giorgio To Becoming A More Well-Rounded Head Coach At Royal Crown

Mike De Giorgio | Head Coach | Royal Crown Basketball

I think the biggest skill that I have to develop as a head coach is the ability to coach each player as a person first. What is going on off the court is important to them and as their coach, I have to be invested in that as well.

Mike De Giorgio

Head Coach

Royal Crown Basketball

× The interview with Mike De Giorgio was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You hold a lot of positions currently — Head Coach at Royal Crown Academic School, Assistant Coach at Scarborough Shooting Stars, and Assistant Coach/Scouting at the University of Toronto Men’s Basketball Team. With all of these on your plate, how does a typical day look to you and how do you manage all these roles?

I am lucky to be in a position that I can do so many things at once.

Scarborough runs in the summer time which allows me to work with Crown full-time on a day-to-day basis. I am at the school usually from 1-8 pm for practice, weights, study hall and individual workouts. 

My work with U of T is mostly done while I am in tournaments and games with Crown.

I am able to check out a bunch of the high school players in the province and relay names to the coaching staff that I think would be a good fit.

In terms of managing all of the roles, it is very important to manage my time correctly.

I have to prioritize the things that need done the fastest and get them out of the way before moving on to the next tasks.

After your playing career with the Blues, you immediately transitioned into coaching. What are three great skills you learned as an athlete that helps you as a coach?

I think the biggest thing that I learned that helped me transition into coaching was the ability to stay calm. Never get too high or too low. This allowed me to process what is happening in the moment and make adjustments accordingly. 

Secondly, learning the game from an X and O perspective from the great coaches I had during my playing career was huge. They included me in their preparation for games and taught me what to look for when scouting.

Lastly, the constant motivation to be better as an athlete has translated to coaching. Whether it is watching extra film, or going through different coverages, that motivation to be great is the same as a coach as it was as an athlete.

What are the differences between coaching professionals as you do in the CEBL, athletes in the college level as you do at U of T, and kids in the high school ranks as you do with Royal Crown?

You definitely have to tailor your coaching to what level you are at.

Pros are more experienced, which allows them to learn faster. This makes implementing new things much easier. 

At the University level, you get a lot of time to rep things out. So, you can be very detailed in your teaching.

Lastly, at the high school level, you have to start from the ground up. Teach the fundamentals first and progress at whatever pace your team is progressing at. Giving too much at the high school level may end up hurting your team.

Having been a long-time assistant, what was it like stepping into that head coaching role with Royal Crown and what skills did you need to develop to transition into becoming a head coach?

I think it was a fairly easy transition.

I have had a lot of responsibility in each role that I have had which prepared me really well to be a head coach.

I think the biggest skill that I have to develop as a head coach, is the ability to coach each player as a person first. What is going on off the court is important to them and as their coach, I have to be invested in that as well.

This helps them perform on the court and it allows me to develop trust between each player and myself.

How do you see your career continuing to grow from here?

I think basketball in Canada is just getting started. A lot of our homegrown leagues (OSBA and CEBL) have huge potential.

I think just staying involved and striving for success will open doors for me moving forward.

I would love to get involved in the national team program and the NBA.

Who in the sports industry do you look up to and why? And how has this person inspired you to pursue this career path?

I look up to all of the coaches who have grinded their way into big roles.

I know plenty of people that started out as interns, managers, etc. that have worked their way up and now have their shot. 

Whether it be in the NBA or other pro leagues, just watching their progression has inspired me to keep working towards that goal.

Michael Anthony Cruz Michael's Final Thoughts

After Mike De Giorgio, Head Coach for the Royal Crown Academic School graduated as the captain of the University of Toronto men’s basketball team in 2008, he immediately joined the sidelines and has since served as one of his alma mater’s assistant coaches. Being a long-time assistant and having a lot of responsibilities in that role has prepared Mike into becoming a head coach at the Royal Crown Academic School. While also dabbling in an assistant coaching gig with the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, he notes the differences in coaching at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels. Mike continues to strive to work towards the goal of eventually getting involved with the Canadian National Team or the NBA.

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