What British basketball can learn from the US - with Steve Vear - Ep. 88 - Hoopsfix.com

What British basketball can learn from the US – with Steve Vear – Ep. 88

For Episode 88 of the Hoopsfix Podcast, we sit down with Steve Vear, Head of Basketball Operations for Luol Deng, founder of recruitment and scouting service She’s Got Next, and assistant coach at Sierra Canyon High School.

Vear, a former England junior international, played the majority of his career in NBL Division 1 with a season in the BBL with Leicester Riders, before making the move into to his own coaching business and working with Deng, heading up the UK arm of the Luol Deng Foundation.

As part of that role he oversaw Deng Camp, and the transition into the Deng Camp Top 50 format with rankings in 2014, alongside coaching – he headed up Brixton Topcats’ WBBL side, coached London Southbank University, was an assistant with the U16 England Women national team and assisted with City of London Academy’s Under-19 women’s squad that dominated in 2016-17.

Midway through that season, Vear moved to LA to be with his wife, where he currently resides, continues to be the Director of Deng Camp – overseeing their UK, USA and Australia camps, launched She’s Got Next, a recruiting and scouting service to help place British females in the US college system, and is an assistant coach with the powerhouse Sierra Canyon High School girls’ team.

In this bumper three hour episode, we discuss Steve’s story and the learnings that can be applied to British basketball.


00:00 Intro
02:37 Interview start
03:19 How Steve first started playing
04:29 Whether playing with his brothers developed his competitiveness
05:24 Starting playing at 6 years old and how much of an advantage it is
07:59 The level of provision he had as a six year old to play
09:45 When it became a serious pursuit
13:57 When he thought he could have a professional career
16:20 The dominant Ealing Tornadoes junior team led by Steve and Walid Mumuni
20:02 The landscape of junior basketball when he was coming up
22:39 How good Richard Midgley was
26:24 Luol Deng as a junior
30:48 Rough & Ready and Steve’s experiences and memories of it
35:59 Rough & Ready being ahead of its time in putting players on a pedestal
37:49 Steve’s short stint at High School in the US
47:11 Whether he gave up the idea of returning to the US
48:47 Whether he wanted to stay in the UK or planned to play abroad
52:24 Whether Steve feels like he reached his potential as a player
54:01 What he was able to earn in NBL Division 1 as a player
56:40 Playing for Kingston University
59:38 Playing in an inter-county tournament for Sussex with Steve Gayle
1:01:19 Beginning the process away from playing after Leicester Riders
1:07:38 His first involvement with Deng Camp via Andrea Norton
1:13:35 His role as CEO of the Luol Deng Foundation in the UK
1:15:59 The progression of Deng Camp to Deng Top 50 Camp
1:25:02 The depth of talent in the UK
1:30:46 Advice he would give to a young player not selected for Deng Camp
1:37:26 Difference in the mentality between British players and overseas players
1:42:50 What would happen if you put Sierra Canyon’s teams in the EABL & WEABL
1:45:17 Working with the 2016-17 CoLA girls squad and the program Jackson Gibbons is building
1:52:29 Steve’s decision to move to LA and leaving British basketball behind
1:58:23 She’s Got Next – Steve’s recruiting service and the comparisons between the US and the UK talent
2:05:01 The US pathway as a progression route for young British players
2:13:39 Eligibility for British players in the US college system and where players are getting it wrong
2:20:56 Whether players needing to go to High School & Prep School is on the decline
2:25:55 The biggest surprises about basketball from when he moved to the US
2:34:20 What the UK could learn from the US without needing a massive cash infusion
2:46:56 Best British junior player he’s seen
2:47:15 Best coach he’s played for
2:49:04 No. 1 draft pick from all the of the Deng Camps
2:49:44 Favourite basketball memory
2:50:28 Best individual performance he has witnessed in British basketball
2:51:35 What’s in store over the next 3-5 years – South Sudan Basketball Federation

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