Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sharing the Wealth: McMillan Tending to (unfinished) Business

Nate McMillan is one former Wolfpacker that doesn't get the publicity around NC State that he deserves. Nate came to NC State and led the Pack to two consecutive NCAA Elite Eight runs. He has since gone on to become a successful coach, currently with the Portland Trailblazers. His success at coaching is almost surely tied with his extremely strong work ethic. The Portland Tribune has a great story on the short offseason that Nate got to spend with his family and his plans for getting back to the bench to coach the USA National Team in the Olympics.

“I talked with Mr. Colangelo and Coach K and the rest of the staff about coming back,” McMillan says. “One of the things we want to do is win the world championship, and it’s another opportunity for me to represent my country. It’s no different than a player doing it a second time."

“The first time, it was good for me to be able to work with great coaches and some of the best players in the world. To be asked to be a part of it again was an honor.”

The fact that McMillan is willing to give up some of his time off to coach more basketball says something about the man. He practices what he preaches. If you want more proof, take a look at this excerpt from the article we ran on McMillan's contract a few months ago.

After that season, McMillan would be free to negotiate, free to sign a long term, big money deal. However, Nate McMillan preaches staying hungry, and earning your paycheck to his Portland players, which is why after his contract his up, he will only be signing one-year contracts, one at a time.

"I think that's the way it should go," said McMillan, who has been in Portland since 2005. "It might be crazy ... I know my agent thinks I'm crazy. But I think it should be based on your performance. I don't think there is another coach who would say that, and I say that because everybody talks about security. For me, security is knowing you want me to be here, and that I'm doing what I need to do. Not you wondering, 'Why is he here?' Or, 'How are we going to get out of this?' "

It's really great to see a guy that does not allow money or fame to go to his head. Nate McMillan seems to impress at every turn. Whether it be the way he played here at NC State, the way he's single handedly turned around the Portland Trailblazers, or the way he lives his life. He never let's the celebrity status of being an NBA head coach cloud his vision, as can be seen here when asked about whether he was working too much and not getting enough time off.

“A lot of people don’t have jobs in this country right now,” he says. “I’ll have some short offseasons, but I’ve done it before. It’s not an issue. I feel like the opportunity (to coach the national team) benefited me before, and it will benefit me again.

“I never have a problem being fresh and ready for an NBA season. I don’t play golf. I enjoy working. I enjoy being around players and coaches. This summer, I’ve had the chance to spend some time on vacation with my family, but basketball is what I do. I will be prepared for my job, which is coaching the Blazers regardless of what I do in the offseason.”

Photo by: Sam Forencich


14 Responses to "Sharing the Wealth: McMillan Tending to (unfinished) Business"
  1. Eric said...
    September 22, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    Nate is the man. He was one of the few players that I watched play in the NBA (along with Vinny Del Negro and Gugs). I appreciated the tenacity those guys brought to both ends of the court.

    As a player, he was underappreciated by NBA fans, but well respected by people in the business for being a leader.

    As a coach, he seems to have taken it up a notch. I hope his players take him for the accountable leader he is, rather than thinking he is an idiot for not taking the money and running.

    Any chance Nate makes a trip to Raleigh to run a special clinic?

  2. redfred said...
    September 22, 2009 at 9:42 PM

    I had already seen the article where McMillian talks about only signing one year contracts, that is more than impressive in this day and time!

    I'm thinking that maybe some government officials, and hey while we're at it, why not someone like...say...an athletic director as well, could use some of Nate's philosophies on what a honest work ethic is really all about.

    I've said it too many times, in my past life while on another blog though, that I don't know how I could name a starting five of all-time NC State BB players without including Nate McMillian. He was just SOLID, SMART, and a player that always could be depended upon to be in position to make something happen. He was already thinking three steps ahead.

    In my opinion when the all-time great players are mentioned at NC State, Nate McMillian is in a word, unsung.

  3. primacyone said...
    September 23, 2009 at 9:11 AM


    And nice write-up WPH.

  4. Anonymous said...
    September 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    Nate's the best for sure ! What happened to his son I thought Sid had him locked up to run with the Pack????
    The real anon

  5. Pack Leader said...
    September 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    The real Anon...

    If im not mistaken it was Herb who had locked up McMillan to play but when he left to coach ASU, young McMillan followed him. If im not mistaken he was a top 100 recruit too. Too bad would have loved to see a 2nd generation player run with the RED AND WHITE!!!

    Unfortunatly I have mixed emtions about Nate. Although he was a great wolfpacker when he was here, his leadership and basketball IQ really hasnt been shared much with the pack. He seems alittle distant from the wolfpack community unfortunatly, although he did have some very kind things to say about Sid this summer in an interview I read. Maybe its nothing at all and im reading too much into it, but Nate doesnt seem as proud to have been apart of the pack as the wolfpack nation is as proud of nates accomplishments...

  6. ppack3 said...
    September 23, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    Pack Leader - The girl that's left behind often develops a complex about the guy that moved away.

    The scenario that you have laid out about Nate, is very similar to that of Philip Rivers. But, just because he doesn't come "home" very often, doesn't mean that he doesn't love where he comes from. We didn't hear much out of Sidney Lowe before he was hired. Professional coaches and players are busy people, and the work is a year-round job these days. I've seen Super Mario at a game or two, but then again, what has he got to practice? "Ball snapped...kill!"

    Don't get too down on Nate. I know he is proud of his roots in Raleigh. I hope that Rivers' situation is much the same. Although, it is discerning to read in the N&O interview, that Wilson has never met Philip. You would think that a phone call of support would be made at some point. The paranoia continues...

    Go State!

  7. Werewolf in Franklinton said...
    September 23, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    Gravis just posted on the Pack pride freeboard that Harrow,Brown, and the entire Hargrave squad will be at the Pitt game

  8. ppack3 said...
    September 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    Thanks Werewolf! I will definitely be keeping my eye out for that crew at the game! Do they generally sit in the South End Zone? I think so. So Anyone that happens to see that crew struttin' around The Carter on Saturday, give them some love!

    Maybe CJ and Luke will tag along again! They are starting to visit enough that it MAY start to feel like home! Come Home, Stay Home, players! Go Pack!

  9. Anonymous said...
    September 23, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    "single handedly turned around the Portland Trailblazers"

    a big stretch...I love Nate, but Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge may have something to do with a turnaround

  10. primacyone said...
    September 23, 2009 at 2:09 PM

    Nate's been around and supportive - just not as often or as visbilbly as some of us would like. He is a busy man. . . .

    If I'm not mistatken, he sent his son to camp here every summer for something like 10 years - I know for a good 4 or 5 years.

  11. Werewolf in Franklinton said...
    September 23, 2009 at 2:48 PM

    Hey ppack

    Overlooked it when I posted, but yeah, Luke will be there too.

    I'm starting to get excited about our chances of landing Cothron

  12. Pack Leader said...
    September 23, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    PPack did you just call me a girl?!?! haha jk

    I totally understand your points and they make alot of sence. I guess me being a hardcore wolfpacker, I want all of our alum's to stay active in the university, unfortunatly sometimes thats impossible due to location and job requirements.

    Now Rivers.... You will NEVER hear me say a bad thing about him. Thats THE best QB the ACC has EVER seen... aslong as Ive been alive. Ive had the pleasure of meeting him multiple times and are mutual friends with some former teammates of his, and I have NEVER heard a bad word comeout about him. I am very confused about the situation but hopefully the administration has reached out but due to his busy schedule/hard work ethic to win a ring it hasnt allowed him to visit. Its tough I know because w/ his dad moving back to Alabama and his Brother playing down there theres not much tying him to Raleigh. Either way I agree how bout a phone call to Wilson....

    Just an idea but similar to UNC's Alumni game, why doesnt state have all former basketball players attend midnight madness or an open scrimiage or even in a game have it former players night... I think it would be great to have DT next to Sid next to Corchiani next to Gainey next to Grundy next to JJ next to Hodge.... Even make it an open pickup game (not sure if NCAA would allow) with those who want to participate w/ current players. I know fans would love to watch Sid guard Harrow!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Pack Leader said...
    September 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    Hey Werewolf...

    Do we have a Section or anything... Id Love to just stop by and give my excitment/ get a group picture!!!!

  14. redfred said...
    September 23, 2009 at 10:47 PM

    WPH, about that last comment of mine, and while true, no doubt, I certainly understand why it didn't make it past moderation.

    How about if I tone it down somewhat. I'll just say this as far as student-athletes coming back to NC State, were any of you guys there when Sidney Lowe "came back to NC State" to coach his first OFFICIAL collegiate game??? I mean, I could have stopped at The Dollar Store fifteen minutes before the game started and put on a more impressive welcoming than NC State University gave the guy that night.

    PA announcer that night: "Oh, and by the way, there's a new guy coaching the team this year. Let's play ball."

    I hope the recent, and forced, changes in Raleigh will signal a new era in how a university is supposed to treat ALL of it's contributors.


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