The Idaho Stampede were winding down practice Thursday afternoon at CenturyLink Arena when a few players headed to the locker room. Others lingered on the court, taking extra shots.
Coby Karl took a seat courtside, soaking it all in.
A few minutes later, new coach Mike Peck walked over with a small grease board and took a seat next to Karl.
It wasnt long before player and coach were talking shop and drawing up plays.
The scene perfectly illustrates where Karl stands as a player and what his future likely holds.
Hes going to be a coach, teammate Jason Ellis said. Hell be a coach after hes done playing.
But Karl, a former Boise State standout and the son of longtime NBA coach George Karl, isnt done playing yet.
I made a decision last year, with my wife, that I wanted to make one more run at the NBA, Karl said.
For now, that run is going through Boise and the Stampede, one of 16 teams in the NBA Development League. Karl will be on the floor Friday night as Idaho (0-4) plays its home opener against the Austin (Tex.) Toros (2-2). Tip-off is at 7 p.m..
Its not Karls first stint with the Stampede. He played 48 games with Idaho from 2008 to 2010, averaging 18.9 points per game. Hes also spent time in the NBA with the Lakers, Cavaliers and Warriors. From 2007 to 2010, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound guard played in 24 NBA games.
Since then, Karl spent the past two seasons in Europe, playing in Spain and Italy.
I learned about some different cultures, and even basketball was different in both countries, he said.
Hes since returned to the States to resume his career. He got an offer to attend the Portland Trail Blazers training camp this fall.
Portland turned into a great opportunity, Karl said. I ended up playing backup point guard for them (in four preseason games) and played fairly well. I feel like I established myself back on the NBA level ... and I feel like I helped the team. At this point, I feel as confident as Ive ever been in terms of being able to help a basketball team at that level.
Karl was cut at the end of Portlands training camp. Hes now playing for the Trail Blazers NBA Development League affiliate in Idaho.
It was ironic the way it worked out, Karl said. Obviously, the natural thing, if I wasnt going to be in be in the NBA to start the season, I wanted to be in my house and my home in Boise. ... I would have been uncomfortable playing anywhere else in the D-League.
Now that hes here, Karl refuses to wonder whats next.
Ive really taken the stance in my career lately that Im not going to worry about it, he said. I think Im going to be on (the Trail Blazers) radar, considering Im on their affiliate team. Im hopeful, but Im just here now to help this team win games.
Peck is thankful to have a player like Karl in his first year coaching the Stampede and his first year at any professional level.
It took me a matter of a few minutes after meeting Coby to know that not only is he a good player, but he understands the game, Peck said.
Part of that is in Karls genes. His dad, George, is in his ninth season with the Denver Nuggets and is No. 7 in NBA history with 1,085 coaching victories.
(Coby) is someone you want on your team, because hes a coach on the floor, said Ellis, who played three years with Karl at Boise State. He knows the game so well from being around his dad and being around basketball his whole life.
Thats why teammates listen when Karl pauses after a play in practice to add his insight. And thats why Peck doesnt mind at all when Karl temporarily takes over the role of Stampede coach.
Im not an idiot, Peck said. I know I havent been through a season yet and there are some nuances that I need to grasp and understand. And in some areas I need (the players) help, and thats one of them: When they can help each other.
Karl, who admits the next step in his career is likely coaching, thinks its his responsibility at this point in his career to speak his mind on the court.
I think Ill probably talk a little too much to the guys, he said. But all I want to do is help them understand how easy the game can be if you play it the right way. Boise knows Im not the most athletically talented ... but I know how to help a team win games.
After losing their first four games on the road, theres nothing the Stampede need more than to put a W in the victory column. Karl said its just a matter of the team learning to play the game together.
I honestly can see four or five NBA guys on our team, he said, if we can play the right way and help each other out.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424