There is a possibility that a former NBA player might become the new coach of the St. John’s University’s basketball team. One of the players is retired NBA star, Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. (ESPN)
Mullin, 51, is one of the greatest players in St. John’s history, winning the Big East Player of the Year award three times in the 1980s. He has spent time in a front office capacity with both the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings since his retirement.
Another former St. John’s University, Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest), has formally registered his interest in the job.
Artest, who signed with an Italian team recently, spoke to NBA Insiders show on ESPN Radio and said that him and his representatives contacted school officials to let them know that his interest in the job was genuine.
World Peace said he is “totally, totally ready” to make the jump to coaching and described the St. John’s opening as “the only thing I would stop my pro career for.”
On the other hand, World Peace tweeted his congratulations to Mullin, by saying: “Go st.johns. Go chris mullin. This will be awesome.”
In his interview with ESPN Radio, World Peace acknowledged he would undoubtedly face skepticism about his ability to coach effectively, given the various controversies that swirled around him throughout his 15-year NBA career.
Yet, he said that he already has coaching experience, as he has coached boys and girls high school basketball for the past year-plus as evidence of his seriousness in transitioning to a coaching career.
“This is not something that I’m not prepared for,” said World Peace. “It’s not something I’m afraid of. If we’re talking about basketball intelligence, you’re talking to one of the best.”
He did say that there were some things he would want to get rid of – some things from his past.
“If we’re talking about basketball intelligence, you’re talking to one of the best. If you’re talking about my past … you can’t take away the past. It’s impossible. If I could erase some of the things I did, I would. I would go on Google and actually erase the [Pacers-Pistons] brawl [in 2004] and erase things that I’ve done in my past, but I can’t. I’m not afraid to address anything ever. I’m also not afraid to focus, lock in, and if I did have an opportunity to coach [St. John’s], I would be in a zone, totally focused on the task.”
He explained his motivation to take the job is that his “only goal” and “only reason” was to lead the Red Storm to an NCAA title and added that even a Final Four appearance, in a city like New York, “would be a failure.”
World Peace has previously told Italian reporters that he intends to play basketball until the age of 40.
Via both Twitter and his interview with ESPN Radio, he cited numerous coaching role models, including his former NBA coaches such as Rick Carlisle, Phil Jackson, Rick Adelman and Mike Brown, Italian coaching legend Ettore Messina (now an assistant in San Antonio who coached World Peace under Brown with the Lakers) and ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, his former coach at St. John’s.
Former NBA star admitted that he has had so much great teachers, adding that he could still be a threat on the court.
“I’m one of the best defensive players to ever play the game on the wing,” he said. “This is a job I’m totally capable of doing. You can’t question that. Now, you can bring up the past, but anybody can bring up the past. Even my daughter brings up the past sometimes. She makes a lot of jokes about the things that I’ve done.”
As far as his NBA return goes, former star said he still had something left in him, but he chose to pursue other goals.
“I could play in the NBA if I wanted to. I’m not washed up yet,” he said, adding that he looks forward to playing for the Pallacanestro Cantu.
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