Industry Insights

Jr. NBA Live With Rod Strickland & Jamila Wideman

By LeagueApps
October 1, 2019
3 min

In the second installment of “Jr. NBA Live” the President of LeagueApps, Jeremy Goldberg, sat down with Jamila Wideman and Rod Strickland at the NBA offices. Wideman, the third overall pick in the 1997 WNBA draft, currently serves as the NBA’s VP of Player Development. She has also been nationally recognized for her activism, blending sports with character building for over twenty years. Strickland’s illustrious basketball career led to his induction in the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. The 17-year NBA veteran has since worked under John Calipari at the University of Kentucky, spent four years as an assistant coach at the University of South Florida, and is now the program manager of the G League.

We’re proud to share in the Jr. NBA’s mission which aims to promote the positive development of young people through basketball, while instilling a lifelong passion for the game. This content series is an extension of that mission and has been developed specifically for members of the Jr. NBA affiliate network, which is comprised of thousands of leaders of grassroots basketball organizations throughout the country.

If you would like to watch the entire episode, click here. We’ve also broken down the 45-minute session into the five best moments for our fans on-the-go.

The Importance of Coaching

The lifeblood of any youth organization is its coaching staff. One of the difficulties of recruiting and retaining coaches is providing them with their “why.” Many of the life lessons imparted on players may take years to manifest themselves. Jamila Wideman perfectly illustrates this point in this clip. She explains why she attributes her professional success to those youth coaches who made her fall in love with the game while improving her skills along the way.

Instilling A Mentality

If there were a Mount Rushmore for women’s basketball coaches, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer would be chiseled in granite. With over 1,000 career wins, she is a living legend. Learn what wisdom she imparted on Wideman during the mid-90s.

Kids Who Think They’re Pros

It’s crazy to think, but Rod Strickland didn’t feel as though he was on the fast track to the NBA until his playing days at DePaul. That uncertainty fueled him and is in direct contrast with the current culture that is anointing basketball players at younger and younger ages.

Hyper Specialization

Wideman makes a tremendous parallel, equating court vision on the pitch to court vision on the court. By playing soccer and tennis growing up, she accomplished a few things. For starters, her worldview remained broad, and she avoided burnout. She also took elements of other sports and applied them to basketball. All of this was accomplished by avoiding hyper-specialization for as long as she could.

How To Develop A Great Coaches

Strickland understands the importance of leveraging every resource at his disposal. His NBA and collegiate connections afford him the opportunity of picking up the phone to speak to coaching legends, but he’s also familiar with the tremendous resources made available through the Jr. NBA. Wideman suggests examining teachers/coaches outside the basketball world and extracting lessons and game plans from them.


This on-going series will deliver our audience with expert insights and best practices related to the game of basketball. We will spotlight issues and opportunities confronting basketball organizers, and start a dialogue with the Jr. NBA community. LeagueApps and the Jr. NBA believe strongly that technology, innovation and a burgeoning sense of community can help youth basketball coaches and organizers overcome any challenge they may be facing.

If you’d like to learn more about the Jr. NBA you can check out their website by clicking here. As a Jr. NBA member, you’ll be able to access a recording of this episode of “Jr. NBA Live” by clicking the image below. Additionally, if there are questions or themes you’d like to see us cover in upcoming episodes of Jr. NBA Live, please submit them here or at LeagueApps social handles (TwitterFacebookLinkedIn).