Coaches can't settle. They alter, transform, scheme and reconstruct. They strategize and plot, substitute and switch, retool and reimagine the same scenario 1000 times until the unexpected doesn't exist. In those last 60 seconds when every possession counts, when every rebound matters, when every matchup can mean the difference between a victory and a long silent ride home; that's their comfort zone. Chasing down the ref for that last timeout to draw up the perfect inbounds play. Sometimes losing. Often times winning. And by the late night light of that LED screen watching game film, getting ready to do it all over again. This profession is for the strong. Dedicated. Relentless and can't settle. An active mind that doesn't sleep.
From vocal sideline commander to soft-hearted family fan, Episode 3 of Open Gym provided viewers the best of both worlds with Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.
"He's driven. What you see is what you get," Brenda Casey said when describing her husband.
"People are always surprised when they meet him in person that he's calm, because they see him on the sidelines sort of going crazy all the time, yelling and being very animated. At home, he's a pretty normal guy. He works a lot, but he loves the kids and loves the family."
This was a cuddly, hug him twice because he's nice Dwane Casey that we're not accustomed to seeing. The man who looks like he'd rather suplex referees through a table than take a gentlemanly approach transitions into the "World's Greatest Dad" when he's around his wife and two kids (Justine and Zachary).
The bond he shares with Brenda was built through their passion for the sport. Through a sit-down interview with the couple, we learned more about how they met and what it's been like moving from city to city over the course of their relationship/marriage.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that a majority of people within the Dallas Mavericks organization (where Casey once served as an assistant) still think the world of him and the job he's doing north of the border. Owner Mark Cuban wishes circumstances were different and that he could have kept him around a tad longer.
Forward Amir Johnson wasn't with the team when they defeated the Boston Celtics 110-107 on Nov. 5. He was lying on his couch with his daughter's teddy bears nursing a bum ankle as the game was broadcasted live.
Clips of Johnson reacting to that play could soothe the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge. No spirits necessary.
The Raptors' first 20th anniversary night of the season against the Washington Wizards also got some love.
Antonio Davis discussing the culture change surrounding the franchise and how players want to be in Toronto brought a tear to my eye.
We're more than likely going to get more interviews down the road with former players who attend these events. Jalen Rose and Tracy McGrady are two names that come to mind. Maybe even Vince Carter if the opportunity presented itself.
"Give the people what they want," as Mr. Rose would say.
It's difficult to find faults in a program that continues to be as consistently fascinating as Open Gym has proven to be. Episode 3 was a grab bag of segments the series has made a reputation off of: player/coach spotlights, locker room/game footage and exclusive interviews. It was a well-rounded 30 minutes with a formula that isn't showing any wear and tear.
No bias here. Good television is good television, folks.
Final Score: 9.5/10
+ Dwane Casey and family
+ Footage of Amir Johnson watching the team play from his couch
+ Alvin Williams and Antonio Davis
+ Raptors vs. Wizards
Note: Due to time constraints, I was unable to watch the After Show for this review. I would suggest checking out Bell Local Channel 1217 for those of you who are in the same boat.