They’ll have an Edge, and they’ll be quick about it
Under new coach Doug Plumb, St. John’s Edge will play with grit and toughness, and they’ll be moving up and down the court quickly
Blink your eye. That’s how fast Doug Plumb wants things unfolding on the basketball court this year.
Sssshhhh … Plumb has a secret.
“I’ll share this,” says the new St. John’s Edge coach, with a sly grin, “we have a .5 second rule ... if you catch the basketball, and you’re not shooting it, getting rid of it or penetrating with it in half a second, we have a problem.”
If Jeff Dunlap employed an uptempo game last season — a track meet, Dunlap called it — Plumb wants an F1 race.
“If you’re going to play ‘small ball,’ the pace is what kills,” Plumb says. “If you try to play small ball but with a grind-itout, slow-it-down offence, the bigger guys are going to get hunkered down and you’ll get overmatched.
“We have a deep team that’s versatile, and we’re going to play fast, for sure … shoot the basketball, move the ball or get rid of the basketball if you don’t have anything.”
At 30 years old, Plumb has his own team for the first time, replacing Dunlap after the latter wasn’t offered a contract, and returned to the NCAA ranks as an assistant coach with Cal State-northridge in his native L.A.
Plumb’s philosophy is simple, one based on grit, toughness and energy.
It’s not easy steering your own ship. He wakes up, gets in a workout, watches film, works on a practice or game plan, heads to practice, watches more film, slips in a bite to eat somewhere, makes more notes, probably watches another bit of film…
And then he does all over again the next day.
“I’m a workaholic by nature,” he says. “It’s been fun … a blast.
“I was with my girlfriend last year, and she’ll kill me for saying this, but I’m alone this year and being at the gym all day is the best. There’s nothing better. “This is almost a dream job.” So just who is Doug Plumb? It’s his third year in the National Basketball League of Canada, after serving as an assistant coach to Dunlap last season, and Kyle Julius the previous year with the league champion London Lightning.
A Vancouver native, Plumb starred at the University of British Columbia and later played professionally for a couple of years in Hungary and Romania.
Much like anyone in professional sports, the game is his life and Plumb took a chance meeting with Julius and transformed it into something akin to his love of playing, which is coaching.
Plumb and Julius first met when the former was a player at UBC and the latter was running A Games Hoops, a program which featured Canadian star Kevin Pangos, among others.
“I was a young player who wanted to learn as much as possible,” Plumb said. “We hit it off, kindred spirits I suppose.
“I kind of aligned with Kyle, picked his brain. And when I went overseas, we kept in contact.”
One day, Plumb’s phone rang. Julius needed an assistant coach in London, and tabbed the young keener from Vancouver as his guy.
Plumb hadn’t really thought much about coaching. But the more he mulled it over, the more inclined he was to give it whirl.
“I said, what the hell — I’ll try it for six months,” Plumb said. “I fell in love with it almost immediately.”
St. John’s Edge coach Doug Plumb can’t wait to get the season started, his first as a head coach following two years working as an assistant.