If you’ve been to a live 76ers GC game, you’ve probably noticed their tenacious head coach Jeff Terrell. The skipper in Philly since Day 1 of the inaugural 2K League season, Jeff has brought intensity, enthusiasm and passion to game days, practice days, and any other day in between.
Jeff’s program blends insights from traditional and 2K basketball expertise, with a touch of brotherhood-building for good measure. He’s a former college point guard, high school and youth coach, and Pro-Am PG extraordinaire who is fully committed to bringing a championship to Philadelphia. His experience has helped build a team that is well-prepared, positioned and on the same page. Look no further than 76ers GC’s all-time win record (42, most in League history) to judge his effectiveness.
But even after a Coach of the Year honor this season and a Finals berth, it’s mission incomplete unless the trophy is earned during the Finals on August 3rd.
We sat down with Coach Terrell early this week to check the pulse of he and the team as they prepare for the biggest game of their careers to date.
* How proud of the team are you for making it to the Finals this year?
I am extremely proud of our guys. They have bought in from the night our team was set on draft night. We came in and put in countless hours, and it paid off. We are a family and no matter what happens we will play for one another and live with the outcome.
* From winning the TIPOFF until now, it’s been a crazy season for you guys. What was the single greatest challenge you faced this season and how did you approach overcoming it?
Staying fully committed to the process. We knew we had a team that could win possibly every tournament and every game we played. We went to two of three championships in the regular-season tournaments and have now made it to the finals. Our goal from day one was a Finals Championship now we have a chance to bring that home.
* Let’s talk about your group of guys. What’s the biggest difference between your team this year and last year?
We brought back four of our five starters from last year’s team. We have been very good both years, but the main difference is how well we play defense. We trust each other more and really believe in our play style. We are a very good team on both sides of the ball.
* What’s one thing about this team that makes them so special that fans may not see up front?
How much personality the guys have. We all live in a team house and it’s always a good time. We hang out and really enjoy being around each other, whether it’s at the house, the office or at TopGolf. That’s what I credit to why we gel so well on the court.
* You’re the SZN 2 Coach of the Year. What does that mean for you as you look back on the team’s successes this year?
It shows a lot about us as a whole. We have been successful the past two years, but it’s a testament to how much work we all put in. That’s from Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer to CEO Scott O’Neill to the players. As much of an honor it was to win Coach of the Year, it’s not complete to me without an NBA 2K League Championship.
* T-Wolves Gaming is the hottest team in the league coming into the playoffs and have played as such. Do you prep differently for a team with that much momentum or do you treat them like any other match-up?
We will always stay consistent with what we do. We will continue to work on us and prepare for them the same way we have prepared for others. We have watched a lot of film and have a great game plan going into the finals. We just have to go execute it, and the scoreboard will take care of itself.
* Who is THE x-factor in the Finals?
The x-factor is playing as a fist. When all five are locked in, and playing as one, we are an extremely tough team to beat. So instead of naming one x-factor, I would go with all five of guys, playing together and trusting in what got us here.
* How do you think you yourself match up with Justin Butler, T-Wolves coach, on the other side.
I have nothing but respect for Justin. What he has done with those guys since taking over has been incredible. They all have bought in and play the game very uniquely. It’s going to be a great series and we can’t wait until Saturday to play for it all.