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Lakers Training Camp at UCSB is a Homecoming for Brian Shaw

One of the Gauchos' all-time great basketball players is an associate head coach under Luke Walton

The Los Angeles Lakers hold the first day of training camp at UCSB’s Rob Gym Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Lakers hold the first day of training camp at UCSB’s Rob Gym Tuesday.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Scanning over the Rob Gym court on the first day of training camp for the Los Angeles Lakers, you notice there are no NBA superstars in the mix of players.

These are not your grandfather’s or father’s Lakers. These are the next generation Lakers.

Of the 20 players on the training camp roster at UC Santa Barbara, 11 are under the age of 26. They would fit right in walking on the UCSB campus

There may be some budding superstars in the group, but it’s too early to tell.

The Lakers training camp at UCSB marks a homecoming for Brian Shaw. One of the Gauchos’ all-time greats, he is the associate head coach under first-year coach Luke Walton.

The two played for the Lakers at different times, and were part of NBA Championship teams — Shaw in 2001-02-03 and Walton in 2009-10.

Shaw is returning to NBA coaching after taking a year off following his firing as head coach of the Denver Nuggets. This is his second stint with the Lakers; he was an assistant from 2005 to 2011.

“The year I was out kind of recharged me again,” he said. “I’m excited about getting back into the mix, getting into the routine of things with the guys. Players are very, very different now, just interacting with them and getting in their heads, what buttons I can push, that’s what’s challenging about being a coach.”

Former UCSB star Brian Shaw is the associate head coach of the Lakers. Click to view larger
Former UCSB star Brian Shaw is the associate head coach of the Lakers. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

He was in the mix during a free-throw shooting contest at the end of practice. He bet the 20 players they couldn’t make 15 of 20 free throws as a team. He lost the bet and did 20 pushups, much to the delight of the players.

“It’s a way for me to sneak in a little workout,” Shaw, 50, cracked. “When coach (Jerry) Pimm saw me do it, he was the first one to walk over to me and said, ‘You’re too old to do that.’ I said I got to stay in shape.”

Shaw can relate to what first-year head coach Luke Walton is going through in preparing the team for the 82-game NBA season.

After Tuesday, the Lakers will train twice a day for the rest of the week at UCSB.

“I’m sure for him it was a relief to get through that first practice,” Shaw said. “As a first-time coach, I remember a few years ago you want to make sure that everything goes right and you prepared the guys the best you know how. I would imagine he didn’t get much sleep last night, worrying about this and that.

'I told him that’s what the rest of us, the rest of the staff, are here for, to make sure everything works smoothly.”

Lakers players huck it up as Shaw does 20 pushups after losing a bet the team couldn’t make 15 of 20 free throws. Click to view larger
Lakers players huck it up as Shaw does 20 pushups after losing a bet the team couldn’t make 15 of 20 free throws. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

He’s looking forward to working with second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell.

“I’m slowly but surely trying to develop a relationship and rapport and a trust with the guys, especially with him because I played that position. He’s a young guy, and in L.A., there’s a lot of stuff going on there. I’m constantly staying in their mind about being professional and treating this as a job.

"Even though it’s fun and a game we love to play, you have to understand the tradition of the Lakers and the responsibility that comes with wearing that name across your chest.”

The Lakers worked primarily on defensive drills in their first practice.

Walton was impressed with rookie Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

"He's great," he said of the 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward out of Duke. "The fundamentals on defense that we were teaching, he was phenomenal at," Walton told assembled media following practice. “When you watch him closely like coaches do, you’d be really happy with the way he performed.”

Rookie Brandon Ingram had a good first day of practice. Click to view larger
Rookie Brandon Ingram had a good first day of practice.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Shaw thought the team did well on the first day.

“I was pleasantly surprised how much they were communicating, and how verbal they were being because that’s usually one of the last things to come,” he said.

Shaw said last season had to be crazy with superstar Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement.

“Last year, I couldn’t have imagined what it was like to play with all the stuff that was going on,” he said. “It’s almost like a weight off of everybody’s back, everybody’s chest to come in and have a clean slate this year, and just play without all the hoopla of last year.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Members of the media watch the Lakers practice at UCSB’s Rob Gym. Click to view larger
Members of the media watch the Lakers practice at UCSB’s Rob Gym. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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