Diary of a coach at the G League bubble: Mission complete

Jay Hernandez is the head coach of the Greensboro Swarm of the G League and an assistant coach and director of player development for the Charlotte Hornets. He has been writing a diary on HoopsHype about this quite strange G League season.

The G League Champion was just crowned and the Lakeland Magic are the champs. They played extremely well during the season but turned it up a notch in the playoffs to beat some of the top seeds in the tournament. The basketball was very competitive in the bubble and the talent was definitely at an all-time high. The players had to endure 15 games in 25 days along with 11 days of quarantine beforehand. The commitment and sacrifice needed from G League staff, health care professionals, players, coaches and more is what makes this experience that much more special.

Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The Work

Coaches had major responsibilities. I respect all of the coaches that I got to meet and compete against and I am honored to be a part of this select group. The question I get asked most often is what was the hardest part of the bubble?

Obviously, it was being away from loved ones, but the hardest technical part was never turning the switch off. Trying to teach eight rookies through games, building chemistry through quarantine, having to organize practices, figure out rest times, scheduling, game preparation, previous game evaluation, team film, individual film, written reports, player development, managing emotions and more. There was no outlet to get away so you were in it 100 percent.

When I got home, I finally decompressed and fell asleep watching television and went to bed by 10 pm when my average sleep time in the bubble was 2:30 am.

Main Takeaway

Relationships reign supreme.

I was able to meet some great people that worked in the bubble, other coaches/staff members as well as my own team. The conversations and the mutual experience are something that made it much easier to connect. I appreciate the talks, insight and vulnerability that players and coaches had with me. I developed better working relationships, friendships and I learned so much during my time in Orlando.

Hopefully, the bubble experience is behind us and in the coming years, we can reflect on how professional basketball was able to be played during these times.

In Conclusion

We were fortunate to win our last game. We finished on a high note even though we were missing four starters/rotation guys for the last four games of the season. I was thankful that we had a great group of guys that maintained a positive attitude and showed the “Fighter Mentality” that we had emphasized since the first meeting we had together. I told them that we were bonded through life because of this experience and that if they needed anything from me that I will be there for them.

I am back with the Hornets and looking forward to sharing my experience with the staff and all that I have learned. Thank you to the fans of the G League and a special thanks to the Greensboro Swarm fans. We can’t wait to play in front of fans in Greensboro and give them a glimpse of what the future of the NBA looks like.

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