Former NBA player Bo Kimble coaches “The System” at Overbrook

Imagine the camera lens is rolling on a basketball court while the coach, who is out of focus, is asking the reporter post-game questions.

On the coach’s shoulder, several of his players can be seen—just minutes into their relentless pressure resulting in 41 turnovers—lifting practice shots and playing individually, seemingly devoid of fatigue as they wait for their coach to return to the team bus.

That was the scene last week after Overbrook High School sent Ben Franklin on an iHearthoops holiday invite in Bristol.

The amount of energy the Panthers expended during the game may have made overtime seem incomprehensible.

However, everything should come into focus when the camera comes back and sharpens on the trainer’s face.

Bo Kimble, a North Philadelphia legend who, along with the late Hank Gathers, rose to national prominence with a cutting-edge style at Loyola Marymount, is the new head coach at Overbrook.

“System,” as architect Paul Westhead called it — another son of philadelphia He is hired by Kimble and the Panthers.

“First of all, I tell everyone I’m proud to be from North Philly,” Kimble said. “Basketball has been good to me all my life. This system has changed my life and Hank’s life. Paul has pretty much let the horses out of the stable… So I give this opportunity to our guys. They have extraordinary freedom. The system is to go as fast as they can.”

Read more: The plight of Hamlin’s devastation motivates Bo Kimble to continue honoring Hank Gathers’ memory

Early results have been positive.

The Panthers (7-5) have won three straight games, including the iHarthoops Championship against Central last week. The Kimble Kids also beat host Chester on Tuesday before losing 90-83 on Thursday to Sankofa Freedom Academy in Frankford.

The 1992 NBA Lottery Pick hopes the system will teach its players what it taught them about the value of hard work and how to succeed as underdogs. He also hopes he can turn his life around again as a college head coach, a position he says he has applied for more than 100 times at various levels in the past 10 years.

The way Kimble explains it, the system isn’t complicated.

“We program everyone to shoot it every time they open,” he said. “Bombs away!”

He hopes Cadence will create about 40 more royalties per game.

The equation also seems simple: more shots plus creating more turnovers equals more possessions, which, in theory, means more points than the opponent.

“If we’re running the system right,” Kimble said, “our opponent should be making about 25 turnovers per game and we should be getting about 15 offensive rebounds per game because we have to be shooting the ball every five seconds…and we’re fully catching “.

Even more complex, however, is building the stamina required to play such an aggressive style.

“I thought it was hell,” said senior quarterback Mike James as a smile crept onto his lips. “I felt like hell when we first started running.”

James added, “The system isn’t easy, but nothing good ever comes easy.”

At 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, James has one of the toughest jobs in the system. During games, he runs from baseline to baseline, rebounding and protecting the basket. He is also the team’s leading scorer (15 points per game) and Rebel (nine points per game), which has gotten some attention from a few Division III colleges.

The workload of the games is exactly why Kimble makes the practice so stressful.

He said, “The game has to be easier than the drill, and that’s why we run it hard in practice. We have to be the best-conditioned team, we have to be the highest-scoring team…and we’re working on both.”

Kimble, 55, and his nephew, Jabbar Kimble, an assistant coach at Overbrook, call the conditioning program “cycles.” It is a fast break numbered according to Westhead’s offensive structure.

Each player, from one to five, must score. The group must make a certain number of baskets within a given time frame while moving up and down the court at full speed.

It’s as fun as it looks.

“A lot of running,” said young guard Omar Davis. “And then a lot of running. Sometimes, we’d spend the whole day training until we were no longer able to do it.”

However, there is a method to what can seem like madness. Against Central last week, Overbrook led by a point at the break.

But in the third and fourth quarters, the quarterbacks looked tired, while the Panthers got stronger on their way to an 87-68 victory.

“Yes, I felt [they got tired]said James, who moved to Overbrook from Virginia last year.

Davis, who played for Dobbins last year, said, “It boosts our adrenaline and gives us more energy when the other team gets tired.”

Central finishing with 32 turns. In the previous contest, Ben Franklin hit 27 turnovers in the first half. The Panthers eventually prevailed, 82-68.

“I call it organized chaos,” said Jabbar Kimble, 45. “We learn how to shoot completely exhausted.” [in practice]. In the game, it’s one thing to shoot when you’re at 100% fresh. It’s okay to shoot when you’re stressed out.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kimble’s coaching job so far is that only two players — James and Davis — have experience playing college minutes.

“Everyone was either a beginner or not playing at all,” said Jabbar Kimble.

That includes 5-foot-5 rookie point guard Nashawn “Bob” Jones.

Jones, who said his surname referred to his old-fashioned “grandpop” spirit, scored a game-high 27 points against Franklin. He added five assists and five steals.

Not bad for someone with no experience who suddenly has to steer what might be the fastest car in the major league.

“I’m used to playing streetball,” said Jones. “This is my first year playing basketball in high school. It was very difficult to get used to knowing where to pass the ball, knowing where my teammates are, knowing how the five guys are running on the court, and then knowing where I am and where I’m supposed to be.”

Jones grew up playing fields near 25th Street and Master Street, less than a mile from the newer Hank Gathers mural Near 25th Street and Diamond Street just outside the entertainment center named in Gathers’ honor.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that get overlooked,” said Jabbar, who graduated from Overbrook in 1995. “We don’t get all-American players, so we develop our guys into good players.”

Underdog status seems to resonate with Kimble. He and Gathers went to USC after leading Dobbins Tech to a pub title in 1985. After a year with the Trojans, the duo moved to little-known Loyola Marymount, where they played with Westhead, a West Catholic and St. Louis Cardinal.

“I’ve been an underdog my whole life,” Kimble said. “Being at Loyola Marymount, not many teams respected the way we played.”

The Gethers led the nation in scoring and rebounding as a junior and had been affiliated with the NBA before He died at the age of 23 from a heart condition during his senior seasonTwo weeks before the start of the NCAA tournament.

Kimble, who led the nation in scoring as a senior and then authored one of the March books Most memorable college basketball moment In the first round of the tournament.

He shot and made his first free throw with his left hand in honor of Gathers, who was a right-hander, but switched the southpaw to change his fight at the line.

“A lot of people think you need Hank Gathers or Bo Kimble to run this system,” Kimble said. It’s just the opposite. If you don’t have it [those guys]you want to run this system because it can hide some of your shortcomings.”

Kimble would like the chance to prove what “The System” can still accomplish in college. He points out the success of Westhead, with whom he remains in contact, to prove he can work. Westhead is the only coach to win a medal NBA Championship (1980 Lakers) and WNBA title (Phoenix Mercury in 2007).

“My dream is to be a Division I college coach or an NBA coach,” Kimble said.

In 2011, Kimble was it Unpaid assistant coach at Shoreline Community College in Seattle, where he applied “the system” and said the team scored about 100 points per game during his two-year tenure.

He’s been trying to get a head coaching job ever since.

Kimble said he has applied more than 100 times to fill numerous slots from Division I and II colleges to junior colleges. One year he got an interview at Jacksonville University, which he said he appreciated.

He also said he applied several times when Loyola Marymount had coaching positions open.

“There’s a lot of politics in college basketball,” said Kimble. “It’s the old boys club. But that doesn’t deter me. The only way it won’t happen is if I give up, which won’t happen.”

He later added, “Whenever I get a chance anywhere in college, I’m going to put this system on and it will work.”

He believes college recruitment will be his strength once recruits see the offensive freedom the system provides.

“I don’t care where it is,” Kimble said. “If there was an opportunity to coach anywhere in Division I, I would take it in a heartbeat because it’s all about the journey. When Hank and I went to Loyola Marymount, it wasn’t on the radar at all. We went there for three years and changed the history of college basketball.” “.

Last year, Kimble volunteered for Dobbins, which is still running the system this season, even though the schools are not scheduled to meet.

Kimble said he was humbled to receive the job at Overbrook, where he also coaches his son, Ethan, a talented 6-foot-3 forward who comes off the bench and occasionally starts for the Panthers.

“The coaching is just another way for me to give back to the community to help these guys be the best student-athletes they can be and have the opportunity to get a free education,” Kimble said. “But most importantly, let my experiences help them become the best young people we can bring into society.”

His players seem to appreciate the knowledge he has imparted so far.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be coached by a retired NBA player,” said Jones. “Everything he teaches us, I listen to him because I know he’s going to help me. Not just with basketball, but in life situations. I know he’s going to take me far.”

just us David SpencerWho recruited Kimble and Gathers to USC, remains a prominent figure in his life Kimble says he will be in his players’ lives for the long haul.

“I ask them to dedicate two hours of training to me and I will devote the rest of my life to helping them in whatever way I can,” he said. “Not just in their time at Overbrook.”

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