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By Michael Humphrys | Team first mentality: As a player or coach what does that really mean?

Preface by Janx….

Here you will find athletes and people with a "Team first mentality".

Over the past 18 months South Australia has had more men gain scholarships in Division 1 NCAA than ever in history (blog here: History made in South Australian Basketball - FOUR Athletes Commit to NCAA Div 1 Men's programs in the 2017 class). All the 7 (so far) division 1 commits out of South Australia for 2017 and 2018 (bar Uche Dibiamaka who left South Australia to play High School basketball in the United States) have been featured athletes on this platform.

I was fortunate to coach Uche in the state program, also for a brief period at the basketball club I currently coach at, the Sturt Sabres. He has also has blogged ( By Uche Dibiamaka | A journey of commitment, passion and development from Aussie pathways through to the US High School pathway) for us , and his coaches at his new college for 2017 (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) checked with us for a reference on Uche, also certainly took interest in learning more about Uche via the blog too. You could almost say Uche was a "behind the scenes" featured athlete. is gaining a reputation for being a go to entity for Division 1 men's and women's college coaches seeking great players.

Over time we are becoming a key clearinghouse for college coaches to check for, learn about, gain insights on high quality college prospects. A way for college programs to validate players with a phenomenal work ethic, tough, confident, that love the game, coach-able, high IQ division 1 college prospects, that will help build winning programs. It started (blog on how and why we started: By Andrew Jantke | have no idea "what" but I can tell you "why") by me wanting to help and support the great kids I was fortunate to work with both in my coaching roles at Sturt Sabres and subsequent to that in the South Australian State Representative program.

On a personal level, offering athletes the opportunity to be a featured athlete is a means for me to reward the kids I coach that are division 1 prospects, and also continuously put their team's success first. Kids that understand that through their team success they will have a much better experience on so many levels, but also become more successful as an individual too. At some stage we will bring on athletes that have not had significant input in their journey whilst playing for me, or working with me through this platform, but I aim to still apply the same values and principles to select these future athletes onto the platform. Hannah Hank for example is our first female athlete and has not played for me, or worked with me as a player in any capacity. We will continue to expand this platform into new areas be it female athletes, new geographic regions are being considered and even scouting professional prospects. We will continue to develop our principles and values based on how and why we started at the beginning, and the type of athletes that were the foundation featured athletes on this platform.

We are constantly seeking out additional opportunities for values and principles based expansion. Looking for team members and partnerships that will help us develop our values and principles and Michael is one such team member. As a former long time Sturt player (including being a part of 2 Sturt Sabre Premier League Championships squads) and Coach he had significant success in teams as a junior player at Sturt, winning a multiple state championships and even a rare Melbourne Classics (top club level tournament in Australia) Silver medal, before moving into coaching very successful division 1 teams at Sturt, also an Assistant with the South Australian U20 Men's team for 2 years, winning a Silver at that medal too.

PICTURED: Michael "Back in the day". We are fortunate to have someone with Michael's experience and expertise in high level, youth basketball as a player and coach contributing to this platform.

Michael recently wrote a blog on "Team First Mentality". This value is certainly consistent with what we value in our featured athletes and what we will continue to demand in teams we coach and athletes we eventually bring onto this platform as a "featured athlete".

This is a great read for coaches, young players and parents wanting to gain insights into "Team First Mentality" by someone with vast experience in successfully playing and coaching high level youth basketball, Michael Humphrys. If you want to be a division 1 college prospect and featured athlete on this platform a "Team First Mentality" will go a long way to achieving this.

Over to Michael....

When I played basketball as a junior for the Sturt Sabres the coaching director at the time (Steve Johansen – Sturt Basketball Club Games Record Holder) asked if I ever thought about coaching. In talking through the possibility of coaching he mentioned he believed I had a team first mentality and I became excited by the opportunity of imparting my mentality onto future Sturt Junior players. But as a player what does that really mean?

“We have to have the mentality that we have to work for everything we’re going to get” – Stephen Curry

I believe that a player that has a team first mentality is one willing to perform at his/her best for the role required by the team at the time of need that supports the overall goals/values of the individual and the team. This is a long statement, so let’s break it down:

Willing to perform at his/her best

Players need to be willing to commit to being their best and the whole team should hold people accountable for this. This does not start and end at the game/s. Whether this be ensuring your academics are in order, practicing as you would perform in games or just helping your friends through a tough situation.

For the role required by the team at the time of need

As a coach I like players that are flexible and adaptive. The best preparation for a game can be thrown out the window through events out of the team’s control. Let’s say your best scorer on the team falls on another player’s ankle and has to leave the game or your best match up on the defensive end is in foul trouble and has to leave the game. At this point, players need to be adaptive to the new situation and be willing to change the game in order to assist the team

That supports overall goals/values of the individual and the team

I believe goal setting is an important life skill for players to have. define setting goals as “giving you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.” Setting the values of the team is as crucial. Values help the team understand the boundaries associated with reaching the goal/s.

Pictured: This team coached by Michael was the 4th best in Australia after a 12-16th place predicted finished. .They did it (overachieved) by playing as a team under Michael's and his assistant coaches guidance .

So now let us transition to consider the role of the coach

“We believe in people executing their role and caring about the team more than anything individually” – Gregg Popovich

Notice the first word in Popovich’s and Curry’s quotes. “We”.

In one word Gregg and Stephen have stated that this quote, this value, is not their own but that it’s the team’s value/s.

When coaching it can be easy to be caught up excitement of seeing your strategy and preparation succeeding. But note that the best strategy and preparation need to be executed by the team at their best (including but definitely not limited to the coaching staff) and not by any one individual’s best.

As a coach you a responsible for guiding the team to develop their team values and goals. What makes coaching a tough gig is getting an entire team to buy into these goals and values. Remember most high performing athletes have goals of their own. How you bring a team together to visualise a long term goal is key, but you need to give them opportunities to strive for their own goals. For more principles of high performing youth coaches please check out a previous blog “By Andrew Jantke | 10 Principles for a successful youth coach”.

What does it mean to you to be a player or coach with a team mentality?

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