Scott Wedman lets out one of those “if you only knew” chuckles when asked about his experience coaching the Continental Basketball Association’s Great Falls Explorers for part of this season.
If you would have asked him a few weeks ago, shortly after he was fired in early January, Wedman would have given you a perfect description: reality television, complete with an owner who once tried to “fire” the entire team, including coaches, shortly before a game when they grumbled because he grossly underpaid what they were owed.
But now, about six weeks after being fired?
“It was definitely interesting,” Wedman says, “but the further I get away from it, it’s water under the bridge.”
Almost immediately after Wedman returned to the Kansas City area, basically his home since the Kansas City Kings selected him in the first round (sixth selection) of the 1974 NBA draft, players he works with through his private shooting clinics and camps started lining up to get his help.
“It’s been great to start working with those guys again,” said Wedman. “I’m working with five or six kids a week, which works well for me.
“There’s a lot to be said for quality of life. … I have a nice mix of basketball and life in general.”
Nearly 30 years ago, while he was still in the NBA, Wedman began working in residential real estate. Today, that business is doing well.
Then, not long after he retired in 1987 as a member of the Boston Celtics, Wedman started offering the private shooting clinics and camps. During the spring and summer months he’s heavily involved in camps, clinics and coaching two youth teams, one of 17-year-olds and the other 11-year-olds.
Wedman certainly has plenty to offer players at any level. During his 13-year NBA career, the first seven seasons of which were spent with the Kings, Wedman went to the playoffs eight times, including NBA championship teams with Boston in 1984 and ‘86.
When Wedman thinks back to his career, though, he’s first mindful of the Kings teams that kept improving, culminating with the Western Conference finals in 1981.
“Seeing a team develop like that and being part of a team that kept getting better and better each year,” Wedman says, “was a great learning experience for me. We really had a good team (in 1980-81) with guys like Phil Ford, Sam Lacey, Otis Birdsong and I. It was quite a ride.”
Wedman, an outstanding shooter at 6-foot-7, averaged 18.3, 19.0 and 19.0 points per game during his last three seasons in Kansas City. Following the Kings’ run in the 1981 playoffs, the Kings traded Wedman and Birdsong. Things went downhill for the organization after that.
Wedman spent the next season and a half with Cleveland before finishing with the Celtics, a team that seemingly dominated the Eastern Conference during the late 1980s.
“Sometimes my players today have a tendency to celebrate a three-point basket,” said Wedman. “I laugh because (Larry) Bird never celebrated. He wasn’t happy until we won a championship. That rubbed off on the rest of the team. After I finished playing, I realized that I had the same mentality. I was so focused as a player and I was constantly trying to play better and improve my game. I really appreciated my career.”
Before the CBA gig in Montana this season, Wedman’s name surfaced last spring with two college coaching vacancies: UMKC and Colorado. Wedman, who also coached Kansas City’s ABA team, the Knights, earlier this decade, says he formally interviewed with UMKC Athletics Director Tim Hall, before the school went with former West Virginia assistant Matt Brown.
Wedman also pursued the Colorado coaching position. However, the job at his alma mater went to former Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik.
So, after getting another taste — albeit sour off the court — of coaching a team of “professionals” this year, is Wedman ready to pursue coaching full-time again?
“The coaching part (of Great Falls) was tremendous; I loved it,” he says. “And as soon as I came back about five weeks ago, I wanted to keep doing it. The further I’m away from it, though, and the more I realize how consuming coaching is, I kind of cooled a little on that. It definitely would have to be the right situation.”“Where Have You Gone?” runs each Monday. Scott Wedman is this Thursday’s guest on the “Behind the Stats” radio show at Ugly Joe’s. For more information about that, or to suggest a “WHYG?” topic, visit www.mattfulks.com.