Del Harris, an experienced former NBA Coach and the NBA's 1994 Coach of the Year, will be visiting New Delhi later in this week to attend India's 64th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women and also conduct a clinic for coaches from all over India attending the tournament. Harris, who coached the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers in stints between 1979-2000, will conduct the coaches clinic on Tuesday, February 27th, starting at 10 AM at New Delhi's Thyagaraj Stadium.
In the NBA, Harris started his coaching career with the Houston Rockets and was promoted as their Head Coach in 1979. In 1981, Harris led the Rockets - led by NBA great Moses Malone - to the NBA Finals where they lost 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.
Harris' next stint was with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he served first as Assistant Coach, then as Head Coach (1987-1993), and also later as General Manager.
In 1994, he was hired by the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers without any of the big name stars of the successful 80s. Harris led a team featuring Cedric Ceballos, Nick Van Exel, and Vlade Divac to a 48-34 record and into the second round of the playoffs. Harris was named the NBA's 1995 Coach of the Year. He served the Lakers for about four more years.
Harris was named the GM of the Texas Legends - the NBDL affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks - since 2009. He was also the Head Coach of the team in 2011-12 and is currently the team's Vice President of Basketball. It is with the Texas Legends that Harris developed his relationship with Scott Flemming, the Head Coach of India's Senior National Men's Basketball team. Flemming served as an assistant coach for the Legends in for the 2010-11 season and he has been the Head Coach of Team India since September 2012. Flemming has led India to various tournaments including last year's FIBA Asia Championship in Manila and a gold medal at the Lusofonia Games in Goa last month.
Harris has had a distinguished international coaching career too, which stretches back to 1975 when he started work with teams in Puerto Rico. He has worked as an assistant with Team USA in the FIBA World Championship and was the first foreign Coach for China's national team at the 2004 Olympics. Most recently, Harris was an assistant coach to the national team of the Dominican Republic.
Harris also wrote a book called 'On Point', and you can find much more comprehensive list of his accomplishments here.
Hopefully Harris and Coach Flemming are able to work together to impart some knowledge to visiting coaches at the clinic in New Delhi. It isn't often that a basketball figure with so much high-level experience visits India, and I hope that local coaches and young players who are involved in the training sessions make the most of the opportunity.
The 64th National Basketball Championships are slated to be held from February 27th - March 5th.