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Interview with Herb Magee

I recently talked with a very special man in the basketball world – 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee known as the “shot doctor,” Philadelphia University Mens basketball coach Herb Magee. Magee is the winningest coach in college basketball with 941, even more than Coach K. Recently he took some time of his day to talk to me about what he thinks about some shooters in the NBA, and what him and Evan Turner did to turn around his shot.

Matt: Who has the best shooting form in the NBA?

Magee: Because I am a college coach I don’t have much time to watch the NBA but the answer I always say when asked his question is Ray Allen. His shot is just pure, perfect form.

Matt: Who do you like to watch shoot?

Magee: Well off the top of my head, I would have to say Jason Kapono. He used to play with the Sixers and I am unsure whether he is still in the league, but that guy could shoot. Also Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors; Steve Nash of course. And above all, who may have the best of them all is Kobe Bryant, his shot is just so pure. In the college game, Curry’s brother Seth from Duke. I caught a Duke game a couple of weeks ago and I am very impressed with his ability to shoot.

Matt: Herb, could you tell me about your career as a coach? What has made you stay at Philadelphia University?

Magee: Sure. It is my 46th year at Philadelphia University. It is also my alma mater. I graduated 50 years ago this coming January. I got offered a job as a assistant at Philadelphia University a few years after I graduated and I held that for four years until I was hired as the head coach. The fact that I can coach at my alma mater is a huge reason as to why I have stayed. Not many people get the opportunity to do that.

Matt: How hard did Evan Turner work over the summer with you to perfect his shot?

Magee: Well first this was the summer of the lockout. He was a incredibly hard worker, and did exactly what I told him to do. Whenever I was available he asked if we could go to the gym. What has impressed me so far this season is because he knows that he is getting minutes, his confidence level has increased which ultimately has affected his whole game.
(Editors Note: Turner is leading the Sixers in 3PT%)

Matt: Without giving away any big secrets, what exactly did you focus on with Evan Turner?

Magee: We worked on all aspects of his game. We needed to work on his stroke. His major flaw was in his guide hand, his left hand. He had his left hand on the ball wrong. One shoots the ball through their guide hand and Evan was not doing that. It took a while to perfect his shot but he was a persistent worker. Also he worked on his follow through which is now good as it’s ever been.

Matt: What is the most important part of shooting mechanics for a young player to focus on?

Magee: The most important thing is the grip, how you grip the ball. If the grip is incorrect, the form is incorrect. If the hand is on the ball incorrectly you aren’t shooting right. The ball has to go through the guide hand, so the guide hand can guide it to release position.

Matt: Other than Evan Turner who else have you worked with? Who worked the hardest?

Magee: Jameer Nelson, Charles Barkley, Sebastian Telefair, Marcus Camby, Malik Rose among others. All worked very hard. The one who stood out the most was Malik Rose. We literally spent the whole summer in the gym. After Rose I would have to say Evan Turner but don’t get me wrong, everyone in that list worked hard.

I would like to thank Herb Magee for taking time out of his day to talk to me!

You can follow Matt Swiman on Twitter, @MSwiman.

  • Louis

    great post do more of these!

    • Ian Levy

      Thanks Louis, we’ll see what we can do!

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