The Motor City Cruise, Detroit Pistons G-League affiliate, held their media day at the Pistons Performance Center Friday to kick off the new season. They share the facility with the Pistons and have taken advantage of every opportunity to learn from their proximity.
It’s the third season for the Motor City Cruise, but first for new head coach Jamelle McMillan. You might be familiar with his last name as he’s the son of longtime NBA player and coach Nate McMillan.
McMillan has been around professional basketball his entire life. But this chance to learn along side the Pistons has presented a unique experience. He worked with the Pistons most of the summer under the tutelage of Monty Williams, and is confident the relationship between the Cruise and Pistons will pay dividends.
Identity by Osmosis
“Something I preached to the team is you have to live in the details,” McMillan said. “And it’s a very detailed oriented program coach (Monty Williams) is running.”
He hopes to develop an identity for his team that resembles winning Pistons teams, as well as Monty William’s mantra.
“Much like the Pistons you have to earn everything. Earning everything has been the MO for this organization since before I was born.”
The Pistons have had success when blending playing on the edge with attention to detail. And you can add being a serious professional to top it all off.
“Relentless competition and creating an edge is something that we preach,” McMillan said. “We really want to be an aggressive and uptempo team.”
Two seasons after making the playoffs the hope is to get back, but that’s not the only goal for the Cruise. And achieving the objective starts at the top with head coach Jamelle McMillan. His philosophy is to prepare his players to be good professionals and better people. With both having just as much value as winning for players looking to make it to the NBA.
“They have to learn how to be a pro on a day to day basis,” McMillan stated. “How can you contribute to the group outside of having the ball, outside of scoring and to the locker room.”
Ultimately McMillan is aiming to assist players he coaches to achieve their dreams. But he’s also hoping to help them with have a clear view of how they can attain it in reality.
”What are you bringing on a day to day basis as a human being? Something as small as waiving a towel with enthusiasm, you can get paid a lot of money for that.”
The Pistons Way
When asked about what it meant share the practice facility with the Pistons, McMillan was nearly speechless.
“I’m not sure I can put into words how awesome it is for the guys to see the colors and wear the colors.”
But as he showed during the press conference, his heart and mind are truly with how all of this benefits his players.
“That staff is in the building, and those eyes are on them. We’re able to come in and be integrated with the Pistons guys, to learn from all different facets.”
It could seem daunting to be around, but instead McMillan wants his players to be “tone setters”. And he’s intent with helping develop leaders which starts with hard, consistent work.
“I tell our guys to set the tone in this building,” McMillan stressed. “Try to be the first ones in the gym and get going. And we should keep the gym at the level we see fit.”
And ultimately Jamelle understands he must set an example, so he understands he must continue to improve day by day.
”This is an unbelievable experience for myself to be in here and be able to learn from directly across the hall.”
Quote of Media Day
“Jamelle is a great dude. Very astute and knows his Xs and Os well. He’s someone I’m looking forward to being coached by, and it’s going to be a great year with him.“ – Jared Rhoden, Motor City Cruise and Detroit Pistons 2-Way Player
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Photo Credit: Brandon Dent – Woodward Sports Network