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Oct. 12, 2021

Talking Coaching & AAU w/Chicago Basketball Legend Tom Kleinschmidt

Talking Coaching & AAU w/Chicago Basketball Legend Tom Kleinschmidt

This is episode 10 of the "I" in Win, and our guest is a Chicago basketball legend,  Tom Kleinschmidt, who following an All-American playing career traded in his gym shoes for a whistle. Coach Kleinschmidt is now head basketball coach at DePaul College prep in Chicago, which is consistently one of the top programs in Illinois.  This past season his team finished ranked #1 in Illinois and #23 in the country, earning him coach of the year honors.

Show Notes:

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Transcript

Luke:

This is episode 10 of the "I" in Win

Tom:

So he was consistent with his players, he treated your consistently, you know, another thing I've taken from coach Pappas over the years is you want to be demanding and never demeaned

Luke:

Thanks for listening. This is episode 10 of the "I" in Win. And our guest is a Chicago basketball legend, Tom Kleinschmidt, who following an All-American playing career trade in his gym shoes for a whistle coach Kleinschmidt. Man is now head basketball coach at DePaul College prep in Chicago, which is consistently one of the top programs in Illinois. This past season. His team finished ranked number one in Illinois. Number 23 in the country, earning him coach of the year. Honors coach Kleinschmidt. Thanks for being.

Tom:

Thanks, Lou. Thanks for having me. I appreciate you, uh, reaching out to me and I look forward to talking to, uh uh, St. Pad's guy. So.

Luke:

All right. Well, don't hold that one against me now, but let's get back to those high school days. And I know your high school coach, coach Pappas was a major influence on you. So how did coach help develop you? Not as a basketball player, but as a person.

Tom:

Um, you know, a lunch shoot, a lot of ways, uh, cultures, you know, near and dear to my heart, I talked to him often. Um, you know, he, um, He instilled so much in us. You know, I, my father is the toughest man. I know, but coach pap has really, it took that to another level in a gymnasium with us as kids and, uh, his motivational talks and having us ready to play against other great programs in Chicago area. Uh, and then his soft nature off the court, you know, he was head of the English department. Uh, he really cared about kids. He took the time to build relationships with each and every one of us playing. Uh, it's one of the first times when I've, you know, you growing up, you always hear you, you know, there's 12 guys on a team and everybody's going to be treated the same. And culture is kind of ahead of this time where, you know, you're all not going to be treated the same. You all have different lives and different paths and come from different places. So why would I treat you the same? And that's really the first time I've heard that from. Uh, even though I was still young in high school and I've kind of taken that approach with some of my players. They are not all the same. They all have great strengths and some weaknesses and some different paths in their lives. So they shouldn't be treated the same. And that is, um, it's one of the things I've taken from coach Pappas, other than it's tough. And then as soon as.

Luke:

Well, you talk about relationships and his care for you guys, all of his players. How did he show that? Like how do you know that he did care for you as a person? And how do you, how did he develop that relationship with you guys?

Tom:

Well, it's consistency, really? You know, you see what he's going to talk about it. He's got to do it. And he's consistently did that for not only the team, he was cautious, but his program, he was up early mornings for open jobs. He was at running. He didn't send no assistant coaches out to watch us run or do conditioning. Um, put his arm around you when you had a tough game or a tough day in school, might've bought you a pizza. Stayed with you late hours in the gym. So he'd get extra shots and he didn't do it because he needed you. He did it for the the guy that was supposed to be number one, two or three. And he did it for the guys that were at the end of the bench. So he was consistent with his players, he treated your consistently, you know, another thing I've taken from coach Pappas over the years is you want to be demanding and never demeaned. And a culture is tough on, you know, he was a different person when you got between the lines. And then when you walk the hallways, he was a different man as well. So a lot of things I've taken from coach Pappas and I all you know, I didn't get catch them rurally. They all didn't register while I was in high school. Maybe, maybe didn't stick till I was in my twenties where I began coaching myself. And you kind of understand some of his teachings.

Luke:

Yeah, it's kind of like when you're a parent and all of a sudden you say something to your own child and realize, man, I, I sound like my dad,

Tom:

For sure

Luke:

yeah. Right. Our parents and our coaches become a lot smarter. The older we get, I like to say so,

Tom:

youth is wasted on the young, for sure.

Luke:

yeah, so you're a highly recruited player come out of high school. And before we get into DePaul, uh, what schools were recruiting?

Tom:

You know, back then you could take five visits. So I visited Arizona with coach Olson, you can talk you a coach Pitino, uh, Michigan state with coach Izzo, uh, DePaul and I did not visit Michigan. Uh, I, you know, probably would have been a member of that fab five or hopefully they would have added a six onto that somehow. But, uh, uh, I did not visit, uh, Michigan and I stayed home. My great friend was Joanne Howard and still is. And he went there and it was kind of. Put us in a corner and, you know, kind of the first guy to commit Jimmy king was being recruited heavily for Michigan and Kansas as I was. And they got some commits from Dwana early. And I just wanted to talk, take a little bit longer time. And then Jimmy, Jimmy committed and I was fine with that. I really came down to Michigan state where my sister went to school and DePaul staying home. I feel I was more of a big time. Uh, Kentucky had a guy named Jamal Mashburn there that I would've, might've had some trouble playing, playing in front of. And then, uh, Arizona, I don't know about Arizona. I got off the plane and it was different lifestyle in there. I don't know if I would've made it till Christmas in Arizona. That was, that might've been too much for an 18 year old in my, at that time of my life. So, uh, it was, uh, definitely Michigan state or DePaul and got a big big family, a lot of friends from the neighborhood at your ballpark and, uh, grew up onto. You know, Tyrone Corbin, strict coach Meyer. Uh, and, and, you know, I know how all the energy DePaul had as I grew up in WGN and I just kind of want to stay home and play for those guys.

Luke:

And speaking to coach Meyer. I know you played for Joey. I'm assuming his father Ray was, was around a lot and was also involved in in your upbringing in the collegiate years as well. Was there a similar feel from their coaching style that you had from coach Pappas where. These guys care about me on and off the court. They want to develop me as a whole person.

Tom:

Sure 100%. I mean, cold culture and coach George drastically different, uh, you know, coach was very intelligent, man. Never got the respect. I feel for his acts as an old coach, he's a great coach. And you can tell by his record, I mean, I think he's. Yeah, 250 or 260, whatever it is. And a hundred, he had a fantastic run in the eighties and nineties, uh, coach Ray, even though he was getting a little bit older, uh, still had that little tougher mentality with. You can come straight, cold, uh, straight at you. Let you know when you're screwing up, call you in his office and sit down. And, but he would talk to you for long periods of times, which many cared about you. So I had a, I have a great relationship with coach Meyer, and I had a great relationship with coach Ray culture was, it was great to me and I remember long talks and that corner office and alum.

Luke:

And following your amazing career at DePaul, you decide to get into coaching. So let's start there. Why did you decide to become a coach?

Tom:

Well, I wanted to compete still. So I was still competing. Uh, you know, I couldn't play anymore. I think I retired at 32, played 12 years overseas, a little bit in the NBA, a little bit a CBA. So I still wanted to compete. I still had a competitive drive. So, uh, was fortunate enough for coach Wainwright, uh, who I've known since I was a kid. Going to five-star he's he's from Cicero, kosher Highland park. I had a relationship with him. He was a coach at DePaul and you know, very naive is still at 31 or 32. I thought he'd come right in on a coaching staff. We ready to go and coach at all? No, you're going to, you're going to start this. I was like, what? I'm gonna start as an intern. And, uh, you know, culture's my biggest coaching mentor. There is his coach Wayne, right? I mean, he started me from the bottom and, work my way up to be a director of operations, which is the next step. And then unfortunately, cultures let go in the middle of the season and I was moved up to an assistant, but culture really taught me what it is to be coaching what it is to be culture in a young. Uh, it's about relationships. And when he said that I had no idea what he was talking about until I had my own program. You know, he asked me one time in his office what I thought coaching was about. And I told them I had a great out of bounds play from. The baseline and 32 years old, I can still see him rolling his eyes. And he told me it was about relationships. And I didn't know what that meant because I didn't know anything about coaching. And then I figured out when I got my own program. So I also much of cultural ring Wayne Wright, uh, got a lot of coaching mentors, but he's my biggest.

Luke:

That's a great story to tell about being 32 and having to play you want to design, because I do feel like coaches come up the ranks, the first thing you want to do. Prove what they know from a schematic, from an X and O way. And they always want to pull the notebook out and draw things up where the veteran coaches, hold on, buddy. You know, this X's and O's don't matter. So w why is that? Like, why are young coaches missing the mark on that? That really, it's not the X's and O's, it's the relationships with the players.

Tom:

Yeah, I think it's just more about experience. You know, you get caught up in the, you know, you hear listen to people like a Jeff fan gaudy who was fantastic. Listen to call a game, knows the game inside now, but you know, if you don't, you don't know what you don't know, and that experience comes right after, you know, And, uh, you know, even though you play the game and have a wealth of knowledge about playing a game, you have no, no knowledge about culture, the game and what it takes to get 12 or 15 guys to fight and work and be dedicated to attaining one goal. Uh, you just don't know until you go through it from the other side, you may know it as a player, uh, but trying to push all those buttons and what goes on behind the scenes as a coach and a preparation. And the work that's put forth to do that and try to get those, I mean, trying to command a drill for four minutes. Uh, I remember coach, let me jump in and do a drill in college. And again, I had a pretty nice playing, playing resume and he put me in a, in a told me I was going to run a drill for a three or four minute drill, at DePaul university where I had 18 to 23 year old staring at me. And I had no command of the drill. And I felt like I was. You know, five inches tall. So, uh, it was a good wake up call. It was a great teaching moment and it, uh really redirected my thought process on what it is to be a coach.

Luke:

Yeah. I think we, we all had those moments where you just kind of thrown into the lion's den and have to figure it out. But that's maybe the best way of coaching because you figured out real quick.

Tom:

Yeah.

Luke:

So given your basketball pedigree, I'm making the assumption that you probably could go coach collegiately or maybe at the professional level, if you want to, but you're choosing to coach at the high school level. So why coach high school basketball?

Tom:

Well, I think it's, you know, it's a little bit of where, what school I'm at. You know, I came back to Gordon tech and now it's DePaul prep. We were very strong program. It started with Dick forsakes back in the late sixties and had unbelievable culture resume with Tony, Tony Brony, Bobby, we'll see. Uh, coach pap is true below Logan mill. I mean, there there's a who's who of who coached at the school. And then we fell on some hard times and, uh, you know, I, the school was fallen on some hard times. Uh, the program was fallen on some hard times and the school meant so much to me. I'm not from the neighborhood. I took two buses and a train to get here. I have some great friends in this area. And, uh, I was really just trying to come back and try to build the basketball program and whatever I could do school-wise to try to build a school back up. And then I fell in love with it. The school has been great to me. Uh, the men in the building that helped raise me, uh, you know, I want to give back a little bit to the school that's done so much.

Luke:

And now you're head coach. And we've already talked about the importance of relationships with your previous coaches. You two have chosen to make relationships a priority in your coaching philosophy. So why are relationships one of the pillars of your program?

Tom:

Well, I think, you know, if you're really in it for the kids, you know, you're a young manager coach and you got to have a relationship with them and you gotta be, again, I know I'm using some of the same words over and over is consistency. You know, you gotta have that with them. And my goal early on, again, it was to win. And I found out that wasn't the most important thing. You know, what sports teaches us is hard work and dedication, uh, you know, goal attained. Um, you know, work, you know, trying to, trying to build a common goal with a team which translates in to be a good husband or a father or work colleague. So those are the things you're learning through sports with, you know, learning the work with someone you may necessarily not really. Uh, how do you do that? How do you overcome that? How do you overcome adversity? So those are the things you're gonna, you know, if you have in a high school already, those are the things you're going to, you're going to have in your way as an adult. Uh, so those are really things you're learning about now wins and losses. Of course you want to, where do you want to be a competitor, but you want to teach those kids how to do those things. So they're prepared for after high school and going to college or, or in their work field, you want to prepare them for life. And that's took me a little while to understand that. And when I saw them come back after college and just the joy that they had being back in the gym, or that they would actually come back to the gym gave me a great feeling personally, uh, that, you know, I might've did something right helping somebody along the way and not necessarily with basketball through basketball, uh, but maybe, maybe helping them a little bit in their lives or going up to the next level. So that's my greatest joy and satisfaction of seeing my old players come back.

Luke:

Well, let's stick with this theme because I think it's really important and really what we're trying to get to the essence of this podcast. You're competitive. You want to win, you pride yourself on developing tough, hardworking kids. How do you balance the needs of the kids and what they have going on mentally, what they have going on physically with the realistic pressures of winning and your own competitive.

Tom:

That's a tough question. It's a tough balance. Cause you, you know, you think, you know, what's going on in the world or in their, in their lives, excuse me. But you never really know what's going on at home. So it gets back to that relationship. It's very difficult to answer a question to answer. Uh, you don't see if the open up to you a little bit, you know, you, you kind of get to know him after two or three years and you kind of want to see, you know what they're going through. You can see their mood changes and eventually they'll open up to you. So it's a tough question to answer. It's just really, again, through experience and build those relationships with the kids.

Luke:

Yeah, and I agree. It is really tough and something that I struggled with myself, and I think the more we have these conversations, hopefully we could start to come up with a way to better identify these things. I'm sure you've been there yourself as a coach where you light a kid up. Pretty good. And. Afterwards, at least I always did. I'm assuming you did as well. I always touch base with that athlete and just made sure they know it wasn't anything personal. And then sometimes he would offer some things up to me that are going on in his life. And you realize that practice isn't the priority right now for this young man. And as a coach, you feel horrible, right? You're like, man, I just lift this kid up over something that in the grand scheme. It doesn't really matter. So it is, is really tough to be cognizant of it. So let's talk about strategies with the relationship piece, because that is the most important piece to be able to be aware of what's going on with your players. What are some strategies that you could offer up to our listeners? Many of whom are coaches and teachers, uh, that they could implement in their own programs right now that would help them to prove to their players. Hey, you know, I care about you as a person first and foremost. What are some of those strategies that.

Tom:

What I just think being around the kids and again, being honest with them and being honest with them, isn't really telling them what they want to hear. You know, kids know first, uh, if you're lying to them, they know first, if you don't know how to run a drill, they know first, they know they know before others do. So, the honesty aspect really comes into play and B you know, kids want to be coached. They want to be coached. They want to be better. They want to improve. So I think the honesty really comes into play. If you're not telling them the truth. Or if you're telling them something that is only going to benefit you or or the team and not them personally, they're going to catch on and they're going to check out on you if you really want them to buy in, you know, kind of what we talked about with coach pat, and she got to have the honesty, you got to show you care and you got to be consistent. So if you can build a relationship with those kids and not just on the court in the classroom, you know, if you're gonna walk by them in school, if you're not going to ask them how their parents are. Uh, if you're not going to ask them for everything's gone right at home, how their grades are, how are they getting home? Is someone picking you up? Like if you're not going to do all that, they're not going to do anything free on a court. You just want me for the two hours, you got me a practice. So I think if you do that consistently with all your players and develop a nice culture or where the kids on the team know that you're really want what's best for them other than basketball that's a great way to build a great culture and a relationship with your kids.

Luke:

So you played at a time when AAU was just kind of starting to really grow and in today's world, there's an explosion with youth sports and travel, and it's really turned into a really large business. So what are your thoughts on the current state of youth and even high school sports?

Tom:

Yeah, I think it's a little hectic right now, especially when we get into we're ranking fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh graders. I mean, it's really, it's, it's quite wild, you know? Sports illustrated. Maybe when I was in high school, had a, the top sixth grader. And I think it actually was Michael Irvin from Chicago. Uh, I, I think it's, it's not a control. You know, a lot of that stuff is a money grab, and it really gives a false sense of security. Some kids as quick could work and hard. A lot of times these kids with these huge rankings could work house. You know, they get, they get passed by, uh, I remember the days where you drive by the park and it would be 30 guys waiting and you couldn't lose or cause you'd wait two hours to play. And now nowadays I walk into gym and uh, you know, kids are dribbling through cones. Who are guarding anybody. So I just think it's, uh, it's so difficult now with social media, with rankings, kids are going all over the world, all over the country to play in AAU tournaments. I don't know. I'm not big on it. Um, I really liked the families. They really stay local and work on their games and play multiple sports in grade. Um, it's tough, you know, cause the kids buy in the parents buy in and by the time you get to high school, uh, they're very hard to manage both as a family, as individual player. So I'm not in love with it right now. High school wise. I think it's a nice shelter. If you get the right culture and the right community where you can kind of get away from all that, if you know the rankings and the players, and really come together as. The name on your Jersey. So I do think it's a little bit different if you're at the right high school, kind of separate yourself from some of the AAU programs and the social media play for one another kids that see each other every day in the classroom or in the hallways, or get up early or run or go lift together. I do think there's a separation, uh, between high school sports in a.

Luke:

So let's get back to that point of view said, you know, you grew up and would see people playing in the park and now you go into a gym and you see kids dribbling through a colon. No one there. I think it's a good debate. Are we developing better athletes today or are we better back in the day when kids just went to the park and played pickup basketball or lob league or whatever?

Tom:

Yeah, I think it's on denial. I mean, even I, you know, me as a dinosaur, I think there's better athletes today. I said it when I played and I'd watch guys in the seventies, I mean, they were great players, but we were better athletically in the nineties. And now without doubt, these guys were better athletically than we. You know, now, you know, 20, 20 years later, you know, you're six, 11, bring a ball up and shooting, but I don't know. I just think it's a different vibe. I think money's involved so much now with the AAU circuit, the shoe companies are so involved. They're getting on all these kids. So. It's just, it's just a different way. And there's a huge amounts of money obviously for a select few, but you know, I, I liked it back when, you know, you went and played with your friends and you went neighbor the neighborhood, but that's, you know, it's unrealistic now. Uh, you know, these people in, in club teams are offering traveling to, you know, some cities that kids may never have the opportunity to go to or travel to. So in that aspect, it's good, but on a basketball. I just think a little toughness has taken away. Some competitiveness is taken away, you know, I see guys go in and out of court and then they're, you know they're hugging immediately after the game and taking jerseys off and switch and jerseys that just, again, I sound like a dinosaur, but that's just something we'd never do. No twenty-five years ago. So a little bit different competitive.

Luke:

So what can parents and coaches in today's world, because I agree with you, we're probably not going to work backwards on these. If anything, it's just going to become more prolific. So what can the adults do to improve the experience of playing sports and kind of get it back to the lifelong lessons that we should be learning from sports.

Tom:

Yeah, it's tough, but you know, the adults have to be the adults. You know, to be quite honest, they have to parent them. I mean, if they're going to get caught up in rankings and they're going to tweet about rankings and they're going to, you know, uh, there's seventh grader, head, 20 points in a seventh grade game at your Moana park. I mean, what do you expect the kid's going to do when he gets to that age? So, you know, I, I don't know how you do that or how you backtrack and, and it's not all parents, I'm not saying that, but the culture that's involved now, you know, you just go on social media. And we're talking about fourth graders and fifth graders, it's just on a control. So I think it starts at home. You know, you can't get caught up into it. You gotta try, try to stay as humble as you can be and still work ethic and dedication and working on your game. And, if the parents allow it, then it's going to be out of control by the time they get to high school. And more often than not, those are the guys that don't achieve the success that.

Luke:

So let's talk about those highly ranked players and it is crazy. Cause you could see kids ranked as young as fourth grade. So. Let's talk about some kids that. you get. I'm sure some of them are looking at their rankings and maybe they think there's something that they're maybe really not. And here you are as a coach and you inherit them and you inherit their ego. That isn't necessarily their fault that they have in the first place they've been fed all this throughout their youth. How do you help that kid reach his potential and not get caught up in the external noise?

Tom:

Yeah, again, it's difficult. Um, you know, again, you've got to come back and be honest with them. If their parents would tell them there there's a chance to play division one and they haven't started a high school basketball game, or having scored 10 points in a basketball game, you have to sit them down and really be direct blunt and honest. If they're a division three level player and they're being contacted by division three players and they want to come in your office or the parents want to talk about division one, you know, it's gotta be softly, very blunt with them. Well, have you talked to any division one schools? Cause I have not. I have not got a phone call from a division one school about you ignore division two school. So those are tough, tough conversations. Most of the times the kids get it before the parents get it in some cases. So those are tough and I mean, there's no other way to be honest and blunt. And sometimes unfortunately you lose relationships. You built for four or five years cause they don't want to hear it, but I'm trying to do, or in some cultures are trying to do what's in the best interest of the kid, get them to school through basketball, get all of their education paid for. Um, through the right level where they belong and where they're being recruited and just hope they appreciate it later on when they get their degree. But, you know, there's, you got a lot of tough questions, but you know, a lot of the answers has come down to being genuine. Honest and consistent with these families and kids. And hopefully it works off for the best. And it does. I hope I'm not painting a picture of negativity all the time. I have great kids. Who've, who've been very happy and appreciative, uh, levels. They played out, whether it be a junior college or an AIA school or the D three or D two. 90% of the kids and families have been unbelievably appreciative of what the school has done for them and what our coaching staff has done for them. So, you know, I hope I'm not painting too negative a picture just when you're asking about the lower levels in a social media, that's, that's a recipe for disaster.

Luke:

Yeah. and I don't think you're painting a negative picture at all. Coach. I just, I think it's an honest conversation that adults need to have because it's the world we live in. And it's having to change the way that we teach and we coach, and we are looking at our youth because they're growing up in a different world, just like we did back when, when we were. So I don't think it's negative. I think it's the reality that we're facing with. And I appreciate you answering my questions cause I do know they're tough and there's no simple answers, but part of the podcast is let's just start talking about it because we need to figure it out because in. Our young people need adult leadership more than ever in our time. So I'm hoping we can come up with some answer to provide some leadership, but, um, back to you, we discussed that you've played for some legendary coaches that still impact you today. So what do you want your players to be saying about you 30 years from now?

Tom:

Yeah, just that, just that I cared about them. And I cared about who they were as a person, not the basketball player. I mean, you know, 1% play played division one basketball, and EDS throughout the country. So I just hope that they realized that I cared about them, want what's best for them and tried, you know, through their families. They have great families that, you know, I try to elevate them and try to get them to be a better person and try to help get to college and get their degree. So just come back talk to the kids about somebody. I love having guys come back. Ray Kwan Williams plays for the Philadelphia Eagles right now played for me. Perry county was at brown or the Ivy league. Tyler Johnson was just back in the gym, talking to the kids the other day. Just kind of telling them, you know, the younger kids stick through it. It's tough early. Uh, you know, if you keep pushing and doing, what's asked to you, you're going to get better. It works out. I just want them to know that I cared for them as, as human beings, young men, and trying to get them to that next level. And that's what I hope. That's what I hope for.

Luke:

And as we wrap up this interview, let's talk about that 1%. And I just have a couple of fun questions to ask you. In your opinion, what was The greatest player that you ever won against in high school?

Tom:

The greatest player I ever won against again in high school. Hmm. Let's see. Uh, my high school years, I would say Chris Webber as a high school player was phenomenal. Glenn Robinson was right there as well. Uh, and, and obviously I know he's my friend with Juwan Howard, but those three were on another level, man. Uh, Howard Nathan might be the best basketball player I ever played, played with or against for his talent from Peoria manual. So, uh, I know you wanted one guy.

Luke:

No, I get it. It's hard,

Tom:

It's hard, man. Those are, those are some heavy hitters I just mentioned, but, uh, you know, Chris was the, was the most intimidating physical specimen of a 17 year old or a 16 year old human I've ever seen. I mean, he was all of 6, 10, 255 pounds would probably 4%. 4% body, body fat, fat, and ran like a deer. I mean, he, he was unbelievable how our Nathan was probably the best all around basketball player and Joanne and Glen were just off the charts, uh, physically athletically competitively. So I'd have to give you those four.

Luke:

All right. That's good. That's a great answer. What about collegiately? Who sticks out to your mind, man? This is the greatest dude I played against in college.

Tom:

probably penny Hardaway or grant hill. Those two guys. I mean, Patty work would, they were in our conference, so we matched up with him a couple of different time. He was, he was unbelievable. A healthy young penny Hardaway was phenomenal. I mean, you talk about six, eight point guard, rebound block shots, guard, the best player score, uh, collegially. I would have to say Anthony.

Luke:

Now, this is my last one and maybe the most tough question of them all in your opinion, who's the greatest player to come out of Chicago

Tom:

Ooh, the craziest player ever to come out of Chicago.

Luke:

to-dos and be a tough one. We had, we have a lot of good ones.

Tom:

You're hitting me hard here. Shoot.

Luke:

I'll tell you what, give me some of the top

Tom:

all right. I mean, Isaiah, for sure. Mark. Shoot. I, you know, those two, I know I'm an older, you know, an older guy. I know there's a lot of young guys coming out, Derek Rose, obviously. I mean, those three guys, I would have to say those three guys off the top of me.

Luke:

Well, heck man, a lot of town come out of city. I appreciate you answering those questions is having a little fun and I mean, to puts you on the spot. So

Tom:

I enjoy it, man. It sounds like I'm sitting around with the guys at my, at a barbecue man. It's great.

Luke:

So, how could our listeners get in touch with you? If they wanted to ask you some questions they want up, learn a little bit from me. Maybe even come out and watch a practice, whatever, and you could help clinic up some coach. How could they reach you?

Tom:

Yeah, give me, give me a shot on email. It's T Klein, T K L E I n@depaulprep.org. Anytime anybody wants to come out and watch your practice, any young coaches or anybody interested in, uh DePaul prep, just shoot me an email. And, uh, I love to have, you know,

Luke:

Awesome. Well, thanks so much. You've been, been a lot of fun to talk to and congratulations on your success at DePaul prep and look forward to more success in the future and found your career. So thanks so much for being.

Tom:

Thank you for thinking of me and have me on. I enjoyed it. And this was fun. I appreciate it.

Luke:

That really was a fun conversation. And there's three things that just really stick out in my mind after having that moment with coach client Schmidt. And that is the importance of consistency, honesty, and demanding without demeaning. I think all coaches can take that to their practice fields or classrooms and Institute those three simple things. And you will see the relationships with your kids really blossom. Again, the idea of being consistent. Being honest and being demanding without demeaning your kids, or really appreciate you forward. I also found the conversation about AAU and youth sports, just to be fascinating. I mean, here's a guy that really experienced AAU before it really turned into what it is today. I mean, he truly was. And elite player, and that's what he got to play on the elite AAU circuit. We're now it feels like everybody gets to do it because he hit it on the head. It really is a money grab. And it just blows my mind that we all as adults recognize that the system is kind of flawed right now. It costs too much. There's too much specialization going on and kids are kind of lied to, they get a false sense of who they are and they're getting ranked in sixth grade and stars behind her names. And they're coming into high schools and playing for coaches like coach Kleinschmidt and have this ego that he now has to break down and make that player more about the team again. So I don't know what the resolution is. Coach clients said. But the resolution is either right, but there has to be something. And the fact that we all know that it needs to be fixed. Hopefully we can come together as adults and come up with a system where kids can play multiple sports. It won't be so expensive. And yet kids will still thrive in the realm of athletics. Thanks again for listening, I want to get encouraged. If you're finding any value in the podcast, please consider recommending the eye and wind to somebody else. If you want to reach out to me again, all my social media is located in the show notes. I'm probably on Twitter, the most, which is @LukeMertens. And my email is LukeMertens44@gmail.com. Again, we'd love to hear from you show idea. Interview ideas, anything you want to talk about, please do reach out and remember the more eyes we impact in this world, the more everybody wins. That's the "I" in Win!

Tom Kleinschmidt Profile Photo

Tom Kleinschmidt

Head Basketball Coach/Director of Admissions

Head Coach and former Gordon Tech great, Tom Kleinschmidt ('91), has brought that same winning culture to DePaul Prep Basketball. Kleinschmidt is in his 10th season and compiled an impressive resume. While being ranked in the top 25 in the state, the program has raised six consecutive IHSA Regional Championships and a Third Place finish in the 2019 season. In the 2021 season the Rams finished the season Chipotle Clash of Champions winners, the #1 ranking in Illinois and #23 in the country.