Q&A With Larry Farmer
Sept. 12, 2012
GoPack.com sat down with the newest member of the NC State men’s basketball staff, Director of Player Development Larry Farmer to talk about his role with the Wolfpack. A former standout at UCLA, Farmer won three national championships and was 89-1 as a player under the legendary John Wooden. Farmer was a head coach at his alma mater, Weber State and Loyola-Chicago amassing 166 victories over 12 seasons.
What intrigued you about this position at NC State?
Knowing Coach (Mark) Gottfried runs the UCLA system and when I say the system, not only the offense, but all of the drills and all of the philosophy that goes into the way you have to teach it. My relationship with Mark is based on that we come from the same coaching tree and he runs the system that I was born and raised in. Based on all of those things and the great success the program had last year, it seemed like a great opportunity.
What do you bring to this new role of director of player development and what are you trying to impart to the NC State players?
Of the success these kids had last year for the first time being in the system and now coming back with a great deal of expectation, I think, first and foremost, being a guy that was involved in a program that won year after year, there is a mentality I think I can help instill in the guys. Not to look backwards, you have to look forward. What we did last year was outstanding, but work that hard this year because that next step, that next level is there for you. The talent is here, you just have to be willing to put in the time. I come from a program that exemplifies that. I think I’d be a great resource for the kids for a lot of things that impacts their lives off the floor. School. The different things that happening in society that will impact them now that they are getting older and they’re not just going to be young basketball players, but they are becoming young men that have to have some social conscience to what’s going. I can serve as a person that can help them navigate some of this because once you get to this level, you get a lot of stuff thrown at you and it can be overwhelming.
Is one of the things you’re trying to impart to players is the importance of how they conduct themselves and the responsibility that goes with it?
It’s a huge responsibility. Whether it’s something like walking into a restaurant and how you carry yourself. Saying “please” and “thank you,” simple things like that might not seem like a big deal now, but people will draw an impression about who you are and your character based on one meeting or one opportunity where they see you interact with somebody else. The other side of that is maturing and growing up and understand that responsibility. Through my years of coaching, it was part of my responsibility to make sure when the young men that I had the opportunity to coach were leaving me I had given them more of a broad education.
Do you consider yourself a teacher like your mentor John Wooden?
You try to be every day. They are going learn as much I’m able to teach them. Which involves being patient in my new role because I’m not allowed physically to be on the court or doing any of the basketball stuff. It’s going to go more to the mentoring side of things.
How have you been received by the players since your arrival at NC State?
The trip to Spain helped. They all are good guys and so they were polite. So with anything, it’s going to take a period of time before they get to know me, who I am and what I’m about. It’s a personality thing. Some guys have come around a bit more and some guys I’ve had seek out on my own. It’s a process.