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The revival of the Southern Generals: Meet Coach Will De La Cruz - Apr 5, 2017


POSTED BY:
MIKE AMICO
E-mail Mike:
Mike's Articles


Will De La
Cruz
Atlanta, GA
4/5/2017

A Personal Insight into Will De La Cruz's Basketball Franchise

Would you take on the challenge of turning around a team that has placed last in its conference five years in a row? Would you even want this task after leading this very team to its only UBA Championship in 2011? Turning a team around is no easy task, yet just two years into his tenure, first-time Head Coach Will De La Cruz (Dominican native) took Minor League Southern Generals' basketball franchise from 19th to number one. We asked Coach De La Cruz what has been key to this transformation.

Coaching Philosophy

The Foundation of Will's success is his holistic approach to coaching. The "Dominican Power" Coaching Philosophy focuses on all areas of his pro-athletes' development, not only the on-court tactics. In doing so, Coach De La Cruz executes one of the fundamental elements to success in the sporting environment: maintaining great coach-athlete relationships.

'I think my role in the UBA is to help guide the players who truly want it. If I get a player who has the tools but has not figured out how to put it all together, I can guide them through that process. It's my job to meet them on the ground-level and help them reach their potential'

Leadership

Will has a unique approach to leadership in professional basketball. He sees every player as a future pro, regardless of their skill-level. This was an important factor in addressing the challenge of the 2012-2015 season where five of the seven starting players were first year players out of small universities. Coach De La Cruz stresses that there are no super stars on his team; everyone influences the game in their own unique way. One of his key team mottos is 'Star in your role.' If you're a great passer, then create opportunities for others. If you can score, be the best scorer; be the most efficient at what you do.

'We had a group of guys during that time-span that were 'me guys.' They were accustom to losing, and that was a huge challenge for us. Everyone became use to us being the door mat of the UBA But I knew if I continued to teach the game the right way and challenge them we would be where we are today,' he said.

Adaptability

Another skill in De La Cruz's coaching kit is his adaptability. He knows that, like every sporting team, there are going to be egos and pride of past accomplishments from former college players. For this reason, he helps his players find their role on the team. Being a former professional basketball player, De La Cruz understands the struggle of an overlooked minor league player. Starting his college career at a NCAA 2 school, and a 3 time All-American at Point University, then after college attending minicamp for the Houston Rockets before joining the UBA and later, going on to play overseas, Will has learned what it takes to succeed at all levels.

'Having the ability to relate to their struggle as a pro helps me provide valuable advice that helps make a difference in their play. My past accomplishments make my players listen more, which helps me coach them. It gives me a great opportunity to teach them in that respect'

Furthermore, there are two qualities that Coach De La Cruz will always instill in his players: honesty and punctuality.

Team Culture

The Southern Generals minor league franchise has dramatically improved in performance since Will retired and became Head Coach. Not only does De La Cruz want to see scoreboard improvements, he is also committed to developing his professional players as people through sports. When taking over, Coach De La Cruz set about making some 'radical' changes to the pro team's culture. He felt his improvements as a professional coach would improve his knowledge of teaching his high school program also.

Pro Development

One major gift of Coach De La Cruz is his ability to improve players. In just two short seasons Will has produced four professional athletes who were finding it difficult to be signed prior to working with Will.

'For me, I take pride in coaching every player differently. I believe in using what you have and mastering it to get to the next level. So our staff took a lot of time studying the players by position to see how to train effectively'

And how has it helped the players?

In 2014 the Southern Generals signed Johnathan Murphy (6'7''-PF-89, college: Columbus St.). An undersized (6'6) power forward from Columbus State University. Murphy only averaged 5 points per game for the Cougars his senior season before joining the UBA. After two season under Coach De La Cruz, Murphy is now playing in Barcelona, Spain in the EBA Professional Basketball League. He is currently averaging a team best 17 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

When asked what's "Dominican Power"? This is it.
  




Daylon Guy
Chuck Guy Named 2018 UBA Most Valuable Player - 1 day ago
ATLANTA, Georgia June 19, 2018 - Fort Worth F.I.R.M. guard Daylon Guy (6'0''-PG-92, college: Tarleton St.) has been named the 2017-18 UBA League Most Valuable Player in a vote by the league's 26 head coaches. In his second season in the UBA Minor League and his fourth with the F.I.R.M, Guy ranked first in the league in scoring with 26.8 points per game and added 5.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists and a team-high 2.0 steals in 15 games (15 starts). A four-time UBA League Player of the Month thi...   [read more]

Bijan Dotson
UBA announces 2018 All-Star Weekend roster - 7 days ago
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 6/13/2018 The starters for the 2018 UBA All-Star game were announced on Tuesday night and Daylon Guy (6'0''-PG-92, college: Tarleton St.) led all players in votes with 1,300. He was followed by former MVP Jermaine Barnes (6'4''-G/F-83, college: Point, GA) with 1,250. The starters - chosen by the owners from May. 1 to June 1 - are made up of two backcourt and three frontcourt representatives for both conferences. The reserve players, voted in by UBA coaches, was be anno...   [read more]

Brian Fisher
Fisher is back at Spartans, ex Korikouvot - 1 month ago
Georgia Spartans signed 30-year old guard Brian Fisher (191-88, college: Winston Salem). It is actually his comeback to Spartans as he has played here before. The last time (16) he played at played at Korikouvot in Finnish 1st Division. He missed last season and had one year break from professional basketball. Fisher has played also professionally in Romania (CS Dinamo Bucuresti and CSM Bucuresti), Finland (Kouvot) and WBA (Atlanta Blaze). He attended Winston Salem State University unti...   [read more]


1 | 2 | 3
Jay Canty (ex SISU) signs at Atlanta Legends - 1 month ago  
Latest wins for Dayton Sharks and South Carolina Cardinals - 2 months ago  
Daylon Guy was named UBA Player of the Month: March - 3 months ago  
DeAndre Bray is a newcomer at Southwest Atlanta Ambassadors - 3 months ago  
Fort Worth F.I.R.M. signs Bijan Dotson - 3 months ago  
GIE Maile Matrix lands C.J. Foster, ex HAB Sonics - 3 months ago  
Teams Announced for 2018 Liga Mediterranean Cup of Champions - 4 months ago  
Erron Maxey joins Formosa Dreamers - 4 months ago  
GIE Maile Matrix inks Oliver Garcia and Jose Americo Delgado for 2018 Copa Mitchell Cup, ex Plaza - 5 months ago  
GIE Maile Matrix add Givens for 2018 Copa Mitchell Cup - 6 months ago  
Duncan agreed terms with GIE Maile Matrix for the 2018 Copa Mitchell Cup - 6 months ago  
Universal Basketball Association Welcome the Atlanta Ambassadors: 2017-18 Season - 8 months ago  
Trinity United to Host 2018 Liga Mediterranean Cup in Barcelona, Spain - 8 months ago  
Matrix inks Blake Walker for the 2018 Copa Mitchell Cup, ex Gaiteros - 8 months ago  
Williams re-signs at GIE Maile Matrix - 8 months ago  
Fort Worth F.I.R.M. confirms reigning MVP Daylon Guy for the season - 8 months ago  
South Carolina appointed as the Atlantic Division - 9 months ago  
Jermaine Barnes agreed terms with Mataro Parc Boet - 10 months ago  
Cory Bradford (ex GIE Maile Matrix) is a newcomer at KK Bosna-Royal Sarajevo - 10 months ago  
Glen Rice Jr. dominates Awards in Ciba Copa (Mexico) 2017 - 10 months ago  
1 | 2 | 3

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