Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 69: Clifford Ray, Sacramento Kings’ big man coach

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

Assistant coach Clifford Ray speaks with forward Josh Smith following a Kings/Hawks game in 2012. (Photo: Steven Chea)

From Robert Parish to Dwight Howard, Clifford Ray has worked with and helped develop some of the best big men the NBA has ever seen.  Since joining Keith Smart‘s coaching staff last spring, Ray has been passing his knowledge of the game to the Sacramento Kings.  The big man coach joins us for an in-depth conversation in the first segment of this week’s Cowbell Kingdom podcast.

In segment two, we chat about the latest news out of Virginia Beach, the Kings’ struggles in crunch time and more.


Ray on how DeMarcus Cousins compares to other big men he’s seen and worked with in the past:

I look at him, Rasheed (Wallace) – (they’re) guys that are animated.  I call them animated players and DeMarcus is a very animated player.  He easily gets frustrated, (but) what I constantly try to get him to do is to concentrate on playing hard for as long as you can play and don’t worry about when something (doesn’t) work.  Because if something (doesn’t) work, it’s not for you to critique – it’s for the coaches to critique.  Your job is to be a basketball player, so you become a basketball player and you learn to live with the mistakes of your teammates and they learn to live with the mistakes of you.

So that’s just maturity and those are things that each young player has to grow.  I remember when I had Al (Jefferson) and Kendrick Perkins and Ryan Gomes at Boston.  All those young guys, whenever something didn’t go right, they’d drop their head and everybody (would) sprint back and they (wouldn’t) cross half court.  So then Coach (Doc) Rivers would say, “If everybody (doesn’t) cross half court, we’re going to stop and run”.  So you know, if you start getting them to understand that there’s consequences to things that they don’t get done, then it will either break them or they’ll become a better player or you’re just going to go find out that well maybe, I can’t win with that guy.


Can’t see the audio player?  Listen here.

Music Credit: Ronald Jenkees – Guitar Sound

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