Former Idaho Stampede forward Ira Newble was back in the Treasure Valley this weekend as an assistant coach with the Austin Toros.
Newble played in three seasons with the Stampede, including their inaugural season (1997-98).
It was the very beginning of my journey, said Newble, who led Idaho in scoring (818 points) and rebounds (369) during the 1999-2000 season. I enjoyed it here and it helped my game tremendously. Coming out of college I was undrafted and it gave me a chance to develop my game.
Newble went on to play from 2000 to 2008 in the NBA. He played for the Spurs, Hawks, Cavaliers, Sonics and Lakers.
After all those years in the NBA, Newble still remembers being awed by a Stampede teammate.
To this day, Lloyd Daniels, thats one of the best players Ive ever stepped on a court with, the 6-foot-7 Newble said. Lloyd Daniels busted my butt in practice and I was known as a defensive player.
Newble didnt intend to become a coach, until his playing career began winding down.
The last couple of years in the league, I was with Mike Brown and Phil Jackson and they gave me an opportunity, Newble said. I didnt play as much, and I was able to watch their coaching styles.
Coaching has turned out to be the right path for Newble.
Its rewarding to work hands-on with the players and see the results on the court, he said.